WHMA and IPC Sign Affiliation Agreement
WHMA members to receive all IPC-member benefits
After two years of discussion, WHMA recently announced entering into an affiliation agreement with IPC. IPC is a global industry association whose aim is to standardize the assembly and production requirements of electronic equipment and assemblies. IPC was instrumental in helping bring the WHMA/IPC A-620 to life. They curate the standard and subsequent changes and revisions. They also manage training and certification.
WHN recently spoke with Rick Bromm, President of Altex, Inc., and Chairman of WHMA, about the affiliation, and what it means for WHMA members. “A couple of years ago we were approached by IPC about the possibility of the two organizations working more closely,” Rick began. “They were starting to get a lot of requests for support on the A-620 standard from different parts of the world, and we were surprised to learn it had actually become their second fastest growing standard. What IPC realized at the time is that, although there are similarities on the PCB and PCBA side, they really weren’t harness people.” A deepening of the bond between the two organizations began to make sense.
With an already established and successful relationship on A-620, both organizations bring value to the equation. “As a small association with limited resources, we didn’t necessarily have the ability to visit many shows to really get the word out about the A-620 and enhance the visibility of WHMA. We began to think it might make sense for IPC to become our association management group,” Rick outlined.
As the WHMA board explored this possible marriage over a two-year period, they thought a good test would be a board member swap. Rick took a position on the IPC board, and John Mitchell, President and CEO of IPC, took a position on the WHMA board. “We did this to get to know each other,” Rick said, “and it gave me a lot of visibility into what could be done, especially from an international and government affairs perspective.” Rick has been able to attend the last two European Wire Conferences as an IPC and WHMA board member. “Some really high-quality companies like, Volvo and Dyson have been showing up at that event, and they are interested to learn there is an established global workmanship standard for wire harnesses.” He reiterated that without IPCs horsepower, WHMA just wouldn’t have the resources to enhance the associations visibility abroad.
Under the new agreement, all current WHMA members become part of IPC’s membership and receive all IPC member benefits including educational, standards development, leadership, advocacy and solutions to industry challenges and opportunities.
Rick pointed out that starting in 2018, IPC committed to invest close to $1.5M over the next 3 years to promote the A-620 specification in the transportation sector alone. “Now, all of a sudden, companies like Toyota and Lear are starting to know about the standard and about WHMA, so IPC really has a scale that allows us to get into some places we just haven’t been.” He is particularly excited about the new exposure because, as electric and autonomous vehicles gain notoriety, more emphasis is placed on the wiring. “Because of the redundancy aspect,” he explained, “autonomous vehicles have about four times the amount of wire harnesses.
Rick was also extremely complimentary of the efforts of Jim Manke and his group at Association Solutions, Inc. for their years of hard work managing WHMA. He mentioned that Jim and Kathi Schlieff will stay on throughout much of 2019 as the transition takes place, and will likely work on special projects for WHMA moving forward.
“As a global electronics industry association, IPC is honored to be able to bring the strength of its global brand and member services to WHMA,” said IPC’s John Mitchell. “WHMA’s mission is very similar to IPC’s – the two associations exist to help their membership innovate, compete and succeed within the marketplace. We are knowledge providers and we connect our industries with a multitude of networking opportunities. We’re already hard at work to expand the involvement of the wire and cable industry globally in all IPC activities.”
“Change is always scary,” cautioned Rick, “and it took a lot of discussion to make everyone feel comfortable with the move. But if you don’t take any risks, then you’re not moving forward.” He concluded saying, “WHMA is thrilled to have signed the affiliation agreement with IPC. Our organizations have been working together for years and now with the agreement in place, WHMA will be able to access the resources of IPC to help meet our mission to ‘lead, educate and connect’ with companies in the cable and wire harness industry.”
IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 4,900 member-company sites which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Brussels, Belgium; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.
The Wiring Harness Manufacturer’s Association® (WHMA) was established in 1993 to serve and dedicate their resources to the global cable and wire harness industry. WHMA is the ONLY trade association exclusively representing the cable and wire harness manufacturing industry including manufacturers, their suppliers and customers.