All for one – if your on the right side of the aisle!
June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
Over the years I have been a loyal supporter of trucking associations, through general membership annual dues and donating to specific efforts, hard-earned dollars have been given to, the Ontario Trucking Association, Canadian Trucking Alliance, American Trucking Association and Truckload Carriers Association. I will spare you a hard number but lets just say you could buy a very nice home and support a family of 4 for years on these contributions.
I have done this due to a strong belief that without associations representing the best interest of trucking companies the industry would be in trouble. Politicians perceive trucks like plaintiff attorneys, were simply rolling ATM machines, they just have to figure out the easiest way to open us up so they can make their withdrawals before the hole is plugged. Associations for the most part do a very good job of plugging those wholes. I also believe in paying my own way and that when everyone in a sector of the economy benefits from the actions and contributions of the few that this is inequitable and that everyone who might benefit needs to step to the plate and do their part.
The reason I tell you all this, is because I also have a unique perspective on associations, in that I have been on both sides of the aisle so to speak, as a trucking member and an allied trade member. For 25 years I was supporting associations as a trucker, paying my dues based on trucks on the road or miles driven and supporting the effort with my time and cash where and when my time and cash would allow. For the past eight years I have been on the allied trade side of the aisle predicated on gross sales or some other formula and I can tell you that the view from over here is not always so rosy, depending on what association your dealing with, not by a long shot!
Here is the difference from my perspective and experience, a functional relationship that I experience through Truckload Carriers Association is an inclusive atmosphere where allied trades and trucking executive mingle, as equals in so much as they are both dependent on the success of the trucking industry to succeed. They work together towards common goals and objectives, such as industry image. A perfect example of this is the Best Fleet to Drive for Seminar series, which is an idea that was developed by a couple of allied trade member who happen to belong to both TCA and OTA these inventive folks took an idea from many of the contest that currently exist in other sectors and said why not? There are many parallels in other industries of this effort; Americas best companies by Forbes magazine, Canada’s top employers there is the Fortune 500 list to name a just a few.
These folks saw all this and thought trucking is one of the largest sectors in the economy on North America and we should have our own recognition. This effort is now 5 years old and is an outstanding success that continues to grow and grow. Fleets covet the award, after the winners are chosen the seminar travels throughout North America where other fleets learn what other companies have done to make their drivers raving fans, talk about win/win! This is an excellent image campaign that is supported actively through the TCA and is now in fact an important element of the TCA national convention.
In this case the allied trade members are valued contributors to all good efforts and encouraged to participate in all aspects of the activities and initiatives of association. The only thing an allied trade member is excluded from is voting during board meetings on any highway related legislative motion that might be tabled. They will also not become officers or Chairman of the association, makes sense, it’s a trucking industry association!
What I have experienced closer to home is a dysfunctional relationship, it is one that shuns its allied members from participation in activities that are considered to the private domain of its carrier members, especially if these activities are perceived to include confidential information germane to the inner circle of leadership. You understand quite quickly that you are there for your dues participation and for funding purposes period end of story!
When I was in a leadership role at one of the 50 largest trucking companies in Canada a couple of questions I would ask a new supplier were first are you a member of any associations and if so which ones are they, I would also ask if the company served any other sector of the economy besides trucking. The first question was asked to determine if the supplier understood that they should invest in the success of the industry they were hoping to make some margin in, the second question was informative in that I always felt more at ease to know that a companies was knee deep as we were in seeing a successful trucking industry. They had it all on the line and in my opinion should be shown the same respect and treatment as any other dues paying member of whatever association they might belong to.
It’s called teamwork, working together for the greater good, many of these suppliers as I just suggested only serve one sector of industry, that being transportation, they live and die by it. I can fill the next two articles with efforts that were initiated by allied trade members that in my humble opinion have done great things for their trucking clients and the industry as a whole. Were some of them self-serving, you bet they were, they were also win, win, wins, the allied trade member won truckers won and the association won.
Here is another great effort taken on by themselves in Ontario no association support requested for obvious reasons, called Trucking for Wishes that has raised close to $300,000 dollars to see that sick kids get to realize their dreams. Monies are raised from trucking companies and allied trades alike and the names of the donors’ with their logos are place on allied member donated trailer by a an allied member donated service to apply the logos, how’s that for an image campaign done totally on their own, how that for a win/win image campaign?
This industry works best when it works as one, drivers, company owners and the allied trade suppliers together towards common interest, this is the only we can progress as an industry!
Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners. (Laurence Sterne)
Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations. All posts by Ray Haight