As the year 2009 draws to a close and we all start planning for the new year 2010, I hear a collective sigh of relief that 2009 is over. 2009 certainly was a year that taught most of us how to operate our businesses under adverse conditions that ranged from a downdraft in sales to a lack of available capital in the financial sector.
Although the “Great Recession” hit most sectors of the economy severely over the past 18 months, there are scattered signs that the economy has bottomed out and is slowly (very slowly) starting to come back in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Even with the positive articles, statistics and forecasts recently from economists, news media and the government, we need to develop a strategy to operate in 2010 and beyond if we are to be successful in tomorrow’s marketplace. Many things have changed permanently — offshore sourcing will not go away, customer requirements will keep getting more demanding and the marketplace will continue to become more competitive with tighter prices (just to name a few).
All businesses and industries must learn to adapt to survive these ever-evolving times. This is easier said than actually done, and to do so we need to provide leadership, continue to think outside the box and develop solutions for our businesses and our customers.
Even trade associations, like NADCA, need to adjust their operations as the industries they serve change. An example of this is the National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) announcing that they are moving their headquarters from Washington, DC, to Cleveland, OH, to save money — quite a move that was driven by cost reductions to offset membership revenue declines.
To this point at NADCA, we performed a study recently in which we polled the NADCA Board members as to what the direction NADCA should take in the coming years to survive the changing environment our industry is experiencing.
In summary, the top two results of the study for NADCA strategies were as follows:
1) to grow and retain membership, and
2) to enhance marketing to OEMs.
We are currently assessing what we can do to execute “grow and retain” members and will have specifics presented to the Board by our next meeting in Orlando in March, 2010.
Regarding NADCA marketing to OEMs, this was started in 2008 with the addition of a design engineer and launching of the NADCA design Web site www.diecastingdesign.org. Efforts to market to OEMs via design services will help spread the knowledge of die casting and the capabilities of the process to those engineers who are thinking about tomorrow’s products.
The plastics industry has been helped throughout the years by resin suppliers who developed new materials to service various marketplace requirements. Plastics have encroached into die casting markets since they have been in existence. Remember the movie “The Graduate” where the neighbor told Dustin Hoffman “plastics” for his career — this was in 1967.
When asked about the importance of NADCA’s services to the membership, the results were:
1) Education & Training,
2) R & D Projects,
3) NADCA Publications,
4) Marketing & Market Development and
5) Government Affairs
The money currently budgeted in all five areas is approximately equal, so it appears that we are on target with the services currently provided to the NADCA membership.
In addition to the strategic study, the NADCA Board decided at the October 2009 meeting to discount Corporate Membership dues by 25% for 2010 to help maintain our Corporate Membership, encourage other corporations to join NADCA and offer some financial relief for 2010.
With Dan Twarog’s leadership and a great staff at NADCA headquarters, we will continue to maintain a strong financial position and remain the worldwide association leader in die casting.
NADCA and AFS will be co-sponsoring CastExpo‘10 in Orlando, FL, on March 20-23, 2010. Then, NADCA will host the 2010 Executive Conference immediately after CastExpo‘10 at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
During the Executive Conference, there will be a session at the Disney Institute teaching the participants Disney’s approach to Brand Loyalty. As the market landscape changes for all industries, it is not too late to learn new techniques and tools to stay in the game.
See you in Orlando in March 2010.