Marketing and Industry Awareness Committee Member
The Flolo Corporation
When asked about the benefits of membership, most EASA members mention the technical support, and I would agree that the support is an invaluable benefit. However, there are many other EASA benefits, including seminars, webinars and peer interaction. The latter is a sometimes-overlooked benefit that could boost your business and possibly increase your membership return on investment.
I personally believe that most members underestimate the benefit of peer interaction with fellow EASA members. Following are a few personal networking experiences that I've had that have benefited our business. But, I would be remiss if I didn't state that to enjoy and receive these networking benefits, you will need to be active by routinely attending the annual convention, regional meetings and chapter meetings. Routine convention attendance is especially helpful because you begin seeing people you recognize because you sat next to them at a session or two. By sitting next to a person at the annual convention and asking about their business model, you will get to know more and more EASA members. This peer interaction is especially beneficial if it involves committee work at the local or international level. This is where the benefits of peer interaction really flourish; it begins with you getting to know your fellow EASA member and allowing trust to grow. Additionally, the nice part about the annual convention is that most people attending the convention are not in your market.
For me, most of my contacts have been established during the annual conventions. One year after a session, a couple of my good EASA brethren that were outside my market and I began a conversation about workers’ compensation insurance. Specifically, we all discussed how each of our Experience Modification Rate* (EMR) factors was well over 1.0. In a very open and unfiltered conversation, we each discussed how we handled our employees’ minor cuts and bruises and time away from the shop floor. Absorbing their input on how they handled these cases and applying their thoughts to our company, we dropped to an EMR of .81 within three years following that valuable discussion. That was about a 30% reduction in premiums and therefore many thousands of dollars.
Another example of peer interaction that I can think of occurred on at least three separate occasions, each during an EASA annual convention. During one instance, another EASA member and I talked at length about how they positioned themselves in the drives market for new motor drive systems. We also discussed the field servicing of new motor drive systems compared to our positioning approach. The fellow member and I sat next to each other in a training session and found that we had variable frequency drives (VFDs) in common. When we saw each other at future conventions, we continued to talk about our respective businesses, which were in separate markets. As accurate as we may have been in our respective markets, his openness about his market certainly gave my colleagues at home some valuable ideas; I also think my colleagues and I provided him with beneficial insight. Our company did modify how we positioned the benefits of drive retrofits to our customers. Even though our service offerings didn't change much, our volume of retrofits increased, and our customers had a better grasp on both their financial benefits and their gain in reliable uptime.
Involvement, in my opinion, is the real benefit of being an EASA member. Any costs will be offset once you have some solid working relationships with fellow EASA members. Yes, the highly publicized benefits of EASA training and engineering support are valuable, but I feel strongly that peer interaction is a key benefit that can only occur at the convention, local and/or committee level. This peer interaction benefit does take time and an open mind so that trust is ultimately formed. But once the trust exists, there is nothing like strong, consistent peer interaction.
*Experience Modification Rate (EMR) is a metric that insurers use to calculate workers’ compensation premiums.