Global Fastener News

2001 FIN – Western Considering Alliance With NFDA

September 06
00:00 2013

March 30, 2001 FIN – The Western Association of Fastener Distributors board announced to members at its annual meeting that it is considering various forms of an alliance with the National Fastener Distributors Association.

“WAFD has been in discussions of a possible merger,” vice president Steve Kendall told members. “We are looking for your guidance. We are not ready to vote on this, and there will be no action until the membership votes.”
NFDA president Jim Ruetz last year announced the national organization is interested in bringing together various regional associations under its umbrella. The NFDA opened its fall 1999 meeting in Boston and fall 2000 meeting in Las Vegas to nonmembers.
Kendall said corporate mergers and acquisitions are decreasing the potential membership pool, though WAFD and NFDA membership both increased in the past year. “With the onset of industry consolidation, both WAFD and NFDA were faced with a significant loss or potential loss of membership,” past president Steve Dunham wrote to members.
Ron Stanley, the 1998-99 WAFD president, “wanted to take a proactive approach to this situation rather than wait and be reactive,” Dunham said. “A subcommittee from both associations was formed in April of 1998 to evaluate the idea of a closer working relationship between the two organizations and how that might manifest itself. With the emphasis on providing better value to members of WAFD it was felt that by working closer with NFDA we might be able to achieve somewhat of an economy of scale” on speakers, programs and member benefits.
Dunham said the WAFD subcommittee favors a “walk-before-you-run” philosophy, and NFDA has preferred “some form of a merger of the two associations.”
The WAFD subcommittee’s “primary concern was not to try and disassemble an organization that was assembled some years ago for reasons such as member intimacy, shorter/cheaper travel and more local control of our programs.”
NFDA informally proposed a limited trial membership including member pricing on programs, materials and meetings and suggested a “STAFDA model” similar to the regional chapters of the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association.
Dunham said the NFDA is “willing to address dues structure, to accommodate those smaller-volume members and those with dual memberships. The NFDA board seems to be very flexible and willing to do what we feel appropriate.”
WAFD president Andy Cohn said its conferences at the National lndustrial Fastener Show in Las Vegas did not meet the financial goals and the NFDA lost money on bringing Colin Powell to its program at Las Vegas in 2000.
WAFD held its 1999 fall meeting in conjunction with the Las Vegas show, and members overwhelmingly opposed holding WAFD meetings in conjunction with the show in the future. “We as members of an association should never be stepchildren of another show,” WAFD member Marty Schneider commented.
Ruetz: Cost of Redundancies
Ruetz said the NFDA has held “preliminary discussions” with regional associations during the past four years, and economics are the driving force behind any association consolidation.
“The key drivers to industry consolidation efforts are economics and the industry suppliers,” Ruetz finds. “There are considerable redundancies with meeting and program overlaps that affect both the regional and national associations’ attendance at their meetings. It is very costly for the suppliers to travel to 10 to15 shows or meetings a year. Eventually they will choose the ones that are economically feasible.”
Ruetz said the NFDA typically spends from $35,000 to $65,000 per meeting for educational programs and speakers.
Bringing more distributors to the same meetings lowers the per-person cost, he noted. “This of course stands to reason with all association meetings. I suspect that if you added all the program expenditures from the NFDA and regional groups, that sum would approach $250,000 yearly.”
“The strong regional and national organizations in our industry has been a double-edged sword,” Ruetz observed. “On one hand distributors and suppliers have had a veritable grocery basket of organizations from which to choose. On the other hand, the sheer number of organizations has cost everyone, distributors and suppliers alike, a considerable amount of dollars in redundancies and inefficiencies within the industry.
Noting that “every association has something to offer,” Ruetz said, “We just need to figure out how to use the strengths of each efficiently.” ©2001/2013 Fastener Industry News.
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Related Links:

• National Fastener Distributors Association

• Pacific-West Fastener Association

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