Celebrating 60 Years:
|Continue the Celebration|
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However, as we celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of the past, we are obligated to take a sober view of the association's future.
A few years ago, the volunteer and staff leadership of ASA commissioned a professional assessment of the association to understand what would be required for the association to remain effective and relevant to the industry and more importantly, to each individual member it serves.
The assessment was enlightening. It confirmed the widely held assumption that members were generally very supportive and satisfied with the value they received from their membership. However, it also revealed that the association would have a great deal of work to do to remain relevant in the face of rapidly changing member demographics and increased value expectations.
So, the association leadership began a process of "modernization." This term was chosen to more accurately describe what was needed to become more responsive, timely and pertinent. In reality, the association has been "modernizing" all along, reacting to the environmental changes taking place in the economy, the industry and our society.
However, as our assessment was analyzed, it became apparent that the rate of change in all of these areas had increased dramatically over the past decade and now the association can no longer afford to be "reactive" but must be "pro-active" in its approach to be truly relevant to the members it serves and those it hopes to serve in the future.
It is my firm conviction that independent automotive service and repair businesses require distinct services and benefits from an association dedicated to this unique business model. Our members are not distributors or manufacturers. The business of providing automotive repair and service to consumers requires competency in several unrelated skill sets. To be successful, it is not enough to be technically proficient, you have to have solid customer service skills and know how to make a profit as well. In the face of market and financial pressures, it is tempting for associations to react by consolidating disparate business types in the same industry. In my opinion, this strategy is not likely to provide sufficient value to their constituents.
The member's perception of the value of membership is the most critical element of our future success. A positive perception of member value has kept the association in business for the past 60 years. Members understood that they could become better at what they do by belonging to an organization that understood their needs and delivered the services, programs and benefits they required. Today, the association understands your needs are evolving more rapidly than ever before and we can't rely on old methods and outdated processes to deliver the value you deserve.
The celebration of the past should always recognize the contributions of those who were constantly thinking about how to remain relevant. ASA has been blessed by leadership that understood that change was necessary for healthy growth and responded throughout the history of our organization to tackle difficult challenges to strengthen the value of membership. The leaders of the past and the leaders of the future share a common characteristic, the desire to "associate" with other professionals, forging relationships based on common principles that ultimately create a better industry for us all.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve the professionals who choose to belong to the Automotive Service Association, and I join with members past, present and in the future in celebrating this important milestone.
Happy Anniversary, ASA, and may the next 60 years be relevant!
|Ron Pyle is ASA's president and chief staff executive. He has worked in aftermarket auto parts manufacturing, distribution, software development and sales, and service and repair, with experience primarily in sales, marketing and operational management. Read more of Pyle's commentary at the ASA President's Blog, blog.asashop.org. Pyle may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.|