IAPD's Direction and Goals
Originally published in The IAPD Magazine, October/November issue
Susan Avery, CAE
The fall, right before a convention, is the time when I hear from most members. In a way that makes sense, because the two most visible things IAPD does are the magazine and the annual convention. But as Bob noted in his article, we are much more than that. Many associations have similar challenges with communicating all of the programs, offerings and services they provide. The reality is that it takes time and attention for members to keep up with the current happenings within an association. Those are finite resources for most of us.
Many IAPD members are aware of the change and progress within IAPD over the past years, but unless you read every newsletter, article or email, it can be difficult to understand the true direction and goals of the association. So, I would like to simplify this topic as much as possible in this short article to give you a quick snapshot of what we are doing and why.
IAPD remains focused on distribution
Even though IAPD expanded several years ago to become an industry channel organization, its primary focus is promoting distribution as the way to market. Our members consist of the distribution supply chain partners. Our goal is to help increase collaboration between supply chain partners and to convey the value of distribution in the supply chain.
IAPD is dedicated to growing the market for plastics
IAPD has a massive marketing strategy to reach out to the end-users, engineers, specifiers and designers to educate them on the general properties, benefits, facts and applications of plastics. The Plastics Expo has been only one part of our approach. This strategy is a multi-pronged, 365 day a year job, to capture the attention of this audience — who has had very little exposure to plastics — and give them enough information so that they consider plastics when planning designs and applications. We are doing this through a market-specific approach (see our top 24 market pieces on www.iapd.org) and the Designing with Plastics e-newsletter, as well as free webinars and other efforts to reach out to this audience. The goal is to convert more engineers/end-users to using plastics over competing materials and drive them to our members as sources for and experts on plastics.
IAPD is committed to providing education for distribution
IAPD, through materials such as the Introduction to Plastics, monthly webinars, magazine articles, the Level I and II Plastics Certificate Courses, the Excellence in Sales Certificate Course, Understanding Plastics Training Program and many other materials, continues to provide educational resources to our distributors to help better prepare them to sell to end-users and assist them in the specifying process.
IAPD is making changes to the 2013 convention
More details will be delivered in the coming weeks, but the 2013 annual convention will be something that will excite every member. We have been listening to our members and changes to the convention, including location, format and innovative ideas on celebrating the excellence and power of plastics, are coming.
IAPD is working hard to make all of our resources more accessible
We are working on building a much more robust and user-friendly website that will put IAPD’s resources at your fingertips, 24/7. IAPD has an amazing repository of technical and educational resources and we want to help make it much easier to access for our members, including our international members.
IAPD is proactively protecting plastics and de-selection of plastics attacks
Through IAPD’s new government relations program, alliances with other plastics associations, partnerships on media campaigns, participation in coalitions and every other opportunity we can find, we are on the forefront of the anti-plastics governmental, legislative and media attacks. We are partnering with the broader plastics industry to battle the de-selection of plastics and are leveraging the resources of the broader plastics industry to protect plastics and the very core business issues of our members.
IAPD continues to attract, recruit and retain members. The 2012 retention rate for members was 97.6 percent and we are averaging about 15 new members each year. We are strategically focusing on distributors (stock shapes and piping), PVF manufacturers, resin suppliers, fabricators, stock shapes manufacturers, fabricators, manufacturers’ representatives and recyclers. IAPD anticipates growth in these areas; PVF, resin and distributors, in particular.
IAPD will always be a work in progress. But as long as we as an association remain committed, our members remain engaged and we have a strong succession of volunteer leaders committed to growth and progress, we will continue to improve, win small and big battles and fight for the longevity and health of our industry and our members’ vitality. Stay with us, together, we are plastics and we are IAPD.