We live in an age where we are more connected than ever and yet paradoxically, it is also easier than ever to exist in cultural and professional silos where everyone thinks like us. While this may be comforting, it usually does not promote learning new ideas. It is precisely that exchange with others who may look at something from a different perspective that helps you grow.
NARSA/IDEA is still the only trade association that represents engine heat transfer for transportation and stationary engines along with the diesel particulate filter systems industries. Our members are service/repair facilities, distributors and manufacturers. The board still believes in creating the one idea, the one opportunity, and the one connection which will allow your business to be more profitable.
2021 left us with a lot of questions: With the fragility of our supply chain exposed, will there be any long term changes? Has partnering with countries who have a different governing philosophy made us vulnerable? Will small businesses who are struggling with their labor forces ever fully recover?
I have been a podcast addict for at least eight years now and thought it would be an interesting platform for our niche audience. For those of you not familiar with a podcast, it is on-demand radio. And since podcasts are produced digitally and distributed on the internet, there are much lower barriers to entry than traditional terrestrial radio. As a result, there are over two million podcasts on every niche topic imaginable. Into bow hunting? A quick search yielded at least eight podcasts dedicated to bowhunting. Want to listen to a show about welding? There are at least 15 just in English. This ability to cost effectively produce a program geared to a super niche audience is something that simply was not possible to do before.
This is the final magazine of 2021, and it is appropriate to recap the past year and give account of where we have been, what we have learned and where we are going. It is also necessary to thank all who have played a part in moving this association forward. Almost everyone has heard or said, “When you are given lemons, make lemonade” or another favorite “When you get thrown off that horse, get back on it” and finally “You can’t change the hand you have been dealt, just the way you play them.” All of these adages are relevant to the general atmosphere of doing business in 2021.
Our President Bobby Duran recently had the privilege of hosting two NARSA/IDEA members at his plant in Puerto Rico. They spent the day touring the plant. Read more about how their friendships have grown thanks to their fathers and through NARSA/IDEA.
The skilled blue collar worker shortage is not new, but it should be a very large concern for any service business who wants to stay relevant for the future. Baby Boomers are retiring at a fast pace and leaving a void of qualified technicians/craftsmen in every occupation. Many baby boomers who worked in the trades for the last four decades have persuaded their children to pursue college degrees to have a perceived better career fulfillment, better pay, better working conditions, and cleaner working environments.
At a meeting a few months ago with my management team, I asked why they thought we were having trouble finding people to fill our production positions. I constantly heard about the unemployment benefits being the main reason. While everyone had various reasons for staying home, I realized that those that did want to work and were actively seeking employment were the types of employees who did not feel content to stay home and felt motivated to work. They were not thinking about the short-term gain but longer-term opportunities. This is precisely the type of people we want at our company.
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.