NARSA/IDEA has weathered the COVID storm with you, which since the founding of NARSA in 1954 has probably been the most serious threat to the viability of your association. The Board of Directors had the foresight to plan for an economic atmosphere where we could sustain a financial downturn. I am proud to report the membership in your association is the same as it was at the end of last year. Through all of the hardships and uncertain times our members have chosen to support their association. We have lost some members, but have had new members take their place. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of the custodial effort in ensuring the future of NARSA/IDEA.
Not a day goes by when I do not read cataclysmic stories on how the supply chain is completely broken. From massive shipping delays to shortages of microchips, the supply chain up and down the line has been dramatically affected. I speak with members every day who tell me stories of unreliable shipping and long lead times on parts. There are simply parts that are just not available for the foreseeable future.
The greatest advantage to social media has been our ability to communicate and engage with cooling systems and emission service facilities around the world. This year, we have added members in South America, Africa, and France. Social media is the tool which has given us an opportunity to expand our footprint beyond U.S. borders. Canada and Mexico have always been and continue to be important to the success of NARSA/IDEA, but now we are truly the international organization.
As I’m sure many of our readers find themselves doing, I often ponder the future of my business. Over the last two years, we have formalized our planning for the future with quarterly, yearly, three year and ten year plans. This process aligned our team in our goals for the future. We stand at the cusp of a seismic shift. How will the world be generating energy and powering the next generation of vehicles? Like it or not, things are changing, and we need to be prepared for a time when the internal combustion engine will no longer be the dominant technology to transport people and goods. While this may seem intimidating and scary, the radiator industry has been here before.
What I learned late in life was meetings actually increased our productivity and most importantly improved the employee and customer experience. How can so many businesses and managers of companies be so far off without realizing the detriment of bad meetings?
The pandemic has shown us that people are adaptable and can adjust to world changing events. Letting go and empowering people may be difficult at first, but the long-term effects are really what being in business is all about. Working together as a team has transformed our organization. The less I’m needed, the more successful we’ve become.
Whether your business is down or it is booming, one thing is for sure; It is necessary to set the direction for your company at the beginning of the year. If your business is slow, now is the time to think about your vision for your company and how you can turn your vision into reality. If you are busy, you must still plan for the new year because perhaps you have been blessed, and now you need to plan for expansion which is another type of vision.
What is your investment worth? This question led me to a conundrum that I had experienced recently. A former member reached out to the home office with a very specific question that only a few people in the industry would know.
NARSA/IDEA has been impacted just like a lot of other businesses. All of our in-person events this year were canceled and future events are on hold to see what the beginning of 2021 looks like. This doesn’t mean we don’t have reasons to give thanks.
While a picture is worth a thousand words and I thoroughly enjoy talking shop with fellow members, the most interesting tales to me are the backstories of how people started their careers and arrived at where they are today. We are fortunate to have business owners from remarkably diverse backgrounds in our industry. Since there is no radiator or emissions school that serves as a pipeline into our industry, our members come from a multitude of backgrounds.