By Eric Lanke
On February 10-11, 2020, the NFPA Board of Directors met in person to review the association’s progress on this year’s strategic objectives and to advance our agenda in three critical strategic areas: Effective Forum, Industry Statistics, and Educated Workforce.
Our strategic objective here is for NFPA to provide an effective forum for fluid power manufacturers, distributors and suppliers to advance their collective interests. We measure our success in doing this in five key ways:
- Growing the membership in a targeted fashion;
- Maintaining high levels of member satisfaction with NFPA;
- Maintaining high levels of member participation in our core programs;
- Maintaining high levels of engagement in our leadership activities; and
- Increasing member participation at our key networking events.
Most of the goals we have set for the year have been or are on track to be achieved. Participation and engagement in NFPA’s programs, leadership activities, and networking events are all at high levels – meaning that these programs represent exactly the kind of forum we seek – and member satisfaction will be formally assessed through the biennial member satisfaction survey that went out to members these past weeks. The one area of challenge is the targeted growth of the NFPA membership. Two factors – the growing number of consolidations in the industry and the high level of fluid power market share that NFPA membership already represents – are creating a challenging environment for our growth objectives.
In response, our Board looked at several consolidation scenarios that could impact the number of members in NFPA and corresponding reductions in overall dues and program revenue to the association. One problem baked into all such scenarios was NFPA’s current set of dues tiers (essentially the methodology by which an increasing amount of U.S. fluid power sales for a member company translates into increasing dues payments to NFPA). As one mitigation strategy against consolidation, the Board approved some gradual changes to these dues tiers to provide NFPA with a more stable foundation upon which the effects of member consolidations could be tracked and predicted. The first of these graduated changes will take place with the next dues cycle for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Our strategic objective here is for NFPA to provide its members with timely and accurate industry statistics and business intelligence that support improved decision-making. We measure our success in doing this in four key ways:
- Making continuous improvements to our portfolio of statistics programs;
- Maintaining high levels of satisfaction with our statistics programs;
- Maintaining high levels of participation in our statistics programs; and
- Maintaining high levels of participation in our statistics conferences and webinars.
Again, most of the goals we have set for the year have been or are on track to be achieved. Record numbers of members are participating in our key statistics programs and our Industry and Economic Conference continues to break records of its own. The challenge here has been the launch of a new consultative service for NFPA members – one focused on helping members turn the data programs that we provide into actionable intelligence for their businesses. The Board endorsed the pilot program we’ve been running this year, and made several suggestions for how to sharpen its value proposition – especially for members looking to develop custom leading indicators for their companies. Anyone interested in learning more should contact Eric Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our strategic objective here is for NFPA to help increase the number of technical college and university students educated in fluid power and to connect them to careers in the fluid power industry. We measure our success in doing this in two key ways:
- Grow the number of tech school students exposed to fluid power and connect them with NFPA members; and
- Grow the number of university students exposed to fluid power and connect them with NFPA members.
Many new programs have been launched in the last few years that are really starting to move the needle here. Our Fast Track program is now up and running in two communities important to the fluid power industry, and they are beginning to deliver fluid power-educated technical college graduates to NFPA member companies. Similarly our Power Partner University program launched this year, where we connect members to undergraduate students on the campuses where fluid power is best being taught. The challenge ahead is resourcing these programs at the scale necessary to impact all key member geographies. To begin addressing this need, we offered a regional allocation option to Pascal Society donors, and the Board approved the first set of expenditures from those regional funds, which will help bring these programs to more regions of the country. The Board also looked at several changes to our Pascal giving society in order to increase the engagement of more companies across the NFPA membership. Those changes will be rolled out in conjunction with the new dues tiers at the start of our next fiscal year.
In summary, the NFPA Board of Directors continues to work on advancing the key strategic objectives of the NFPA, ensuring programmatic success in the areas critical to our industry and helping to develop the resources needed to grow them. Please feel free to contact the NFPA office with any questions or recommendations.
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