Trade associations provide many benefits to their memberships. Involvement can provide a great funnel for leads for contract manufacturers. Obviously, for our industry, the first association that comes to mind is the Wire Harness Manufacturers Association. It’s certainly the single most important trade association for readers of this publication.
But many of our readers who tend to specialize in certain markets belong to trade groups within those industries. In addition to being a funnel for new business, suppliers can also become involved in some of the standards directing committees of associations. These symbiotic relationships help ensure suppliers can build the products industries want and will need for the future.
For our readers who supply to the trucking industry, membership in the NTEA, the Association for the Work Truck Industry, has become very important. We asked Jan Thomas, Marketing Communications Manager at NTEA some questions to get a sense of how membership can enhance harness manufacturers who supply to their industry.
WHN: Can you tell readers about NTEA?
Jan: Established in 1964, NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry, represents more than 2,000 companies that manufacture, distribute, install, sell and repair commercial trucks, truck bodies, truck equipment, trailers and accessories. Buyers of work trucks and the major commercial truck chassis manufacturers also belong to NTEA. The Association provides in-depth technical information, education, and member programs and services, and produces Work Truck Week, Green Truck Summit, Commercial Vehicle Upfitting Summit and Executive Leadership Summit. The Association maintains its administrative headquarters in suburban Detroit and government relations offices in Washington, DC, and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
NTEA’s suburban Detroit location allows management and staff engineers to work directly with the major truck chassis manufacturers on product and specification changes. This close relationship strengthens NTEA’s function as an information center and liaison between the chassis manufacturers, body and equipment manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, related industry firms, and end users.
WHN: Our readers supply electrical wire harnesses and sub-assemblies to the trucking and work truck industry. Which membership type would they be?
Jan: Manufacturers of these types of products can join as a manufacturer member. If they’re a supplier of various products (and not actually manufacturing them), they can join as an associate member under the component part supplier category.
Membership is companywide, which means all employees of the member company are able to access the resources and discounts offered to NTEA members. The best thing for them to do is check out the specific details on ntea.com/join.
WHN: Are there directories where OEMs can find supplier members?
Jan: Yes, NTEA offers comprehensive online directories as a free benefit to members, helping them find contacts and companies to support their business endeavors.
WHN: What type of networking and marketing opportunities exist for members?
Jan: Regarding networking with OEMs about current and future industry needs, Work Truck Week and Commercial Vehicle Upfitting Summit are great opportunities for members and the industry to connect with chassis manufacturers.
Additional free marketing opportunities for members include:
- Members can send product, company and personnel news for publication online.
- The Association’s Moment in Time feature showcases member-submitted historical moments on social media.
- Members recruiting for new employees can login toJobLink and post as many opportunities as they’d like, free of charge.
WHN: What about industry-specific training?
Jan: NTEA offers a variety of online training opportunities free to members, including:
- TE101covering all aspects of work trucks and the industry
- TE201courses for those seeking more in-depth technical knowledge
- TE Electrical Basicsdesigned to help increase functional knowledge of truck electrical systems and components
- Truck Frame Fundamentalsfor commercial vehicles
- Weight Distribution Fundamentalsoutlining insights, strategies and tactics for proper weight distribution
- NTEA webinars
WHN: What other benefits would a supplier manufacturer gain by joining?
Jan: NTEA employs staff engineers with more than 65 years of combined industry experience who provide members with in-depth solutions to technical and regulatory questions/issues. There is also education and training available for the work truck industry, including:
- Work Truck Week 2023 (March 7-10, 2023), featuring the newest industry products, industry-focused training courses, and access to technical engineering representatives from hundreds of exhibiting companies.
- Free webinars provide expert insights on technical and engineering issues, industry forecasts, regulatory updates, workforce development, and more.
- Access to online education and training opportunities such as Truck Equipment 101/201, Truck Equipment Electrical Basics and more
Members can take adv advantage of contact information for industry professionals and member companies in NTEA’s suite of directories. They can advertise job openings on the Association’s JobLink and publicize product and personnel news with NTEA’s member newsletter.
WHN: Does NTEA have lobbying folks in Washington to help the industry?
Jan: Yes, NTEA maintains a government relations department and satellite office in Washington, DC, and Ottawa, Ontario, and is committed to protecting and advancing members’ interests by actively working with Congress, the White House, Parliament, and federal agencies. Dedicated NTEA staff monitor and report Congressional, Parliamentary and regulatory agency activities, as well as lobby on behalf of the work truck industry. The Association works diligently to ensure fair representation regarding all legislative and regulatory issues.
In addition, Green Truck Association, an affiliate division of NTEA, closely monitors legislative and regulatory issues that impact the design, production and sale of green truck technologies, commercial vehicles and equipment. Government funding, policy and rulemaking are critical to this growing segment of the transportation industry.
For more information, go to NTEA.com. If you are or know of a trade association where harness manufacturers would be valuable supplier members, contact us at [email protected].