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Optimizing Your MHEDA Membership

A common refrain from members is, “I want to get more from my MHEDA membership but can’t find the time.” So, MHEDA’s Membership Committee is asking the Board for their recommendations maximizing the value of association membership.

Jack Phelan: Time is the one resource of which there is a limited amount. That’s why we place such a high value on it. I can assure you that becoming involved in the educational and networking programs and the interaction with your industry peers is well worth your time and money. The information gained by being an active member will give you the tools necessary to help you work on your business, not at your business.

By participating in the programs and events MHEDA provides, I am taking the easy way out. I say this because every time I go to a MHEDA event I always pick up “gold nuggets.” These pieces of information make it so much easier for me to figure out where the “gold” is, as well as how I get to it.

How you use your time is your choice. You can either pick up “gold nuggets” right in front of you, or spend hours in your quest to locate and prospect in a mine all by yourself in hope of finding a nugget. To me, the choice is obvious.

Duncan Murphy: There is an old management matrix that now more than ever describes life in our industry. Four types of tasks exist: urgent and important, urgent and unimportant, non-urgent and important, and non-urgent and unimportant. Urgent and important tasks tend to get the time required. Urgent and unimportant tasks too often get time before the non-urgent and important ones. Even the easy unimportant and non-urgent desk-clearing stuff receives our time and attention rather than tackling the real tasks driving our success.

MHEDA is the tool you can use to bring focus to your non-urgent and important responsibilities. Making the time for networking and education is an important investment in your future. It prepares you and your staff better for the challenges each day presents. Do not forget your staff! Show them by your commitment and your directives that they need to make the time to join a MHEDA-NET group, spend one hour a month in a webinar, or go to the MHEDA Web site to complete one of the 24/7 training modules available. The best part is that it is free with your membership for your entire team. It is up to you to make the time for the important and non-urgent task of personal development.

Chuck Frank: What is most important in the allocation of time is the value received from the time committed. We have found MHEDA and its members to be the best resources to complement our commitment to success. Over 75 percent of our team members are engaged in a MHEDA offering, be it reading The MHEDA Journal; attending education webinars, live programs and Convention; using the benchmarking reports or participating in MHEDA-NET.

The key to removing “I don’t have the time” is to make it a point to participate. Review MHEDA’s offerings, call the staff with your schedule available, pick two or three opportunities and make it a point to participate with one or more of your team. You will quickly see the value in the program content and be glad you took part. Make the time and give it a try.

Scott Hennie: As a systems integrator, much of the focus with our clients is showing them how to be more efficient in the way they do business. The investment required to gain this efficiency is the monetary investment our client pays us to do a project with them. MHEDA is that conduit for our business. MHEDA offers many programs in many different venues to teach the membership how to run their business more efficiently. The major investment to gain these benefits is the time to attend the programs and the time to implement the lessons learned from the programs.

We have choices on how we use our time and what the expected return on investment is for that time. Participation in MHEDA events, seminars, conferences or networking groups is an investment in time. We need to consciously make the commitment to that investment in order to get a return. If we don’t participate and commit to learning how to improve and grow our businesses, we will be in the same position in the future that we are now. MHEDA is no different than any other commitment to improvement. You will get out of it what you put into it.

Kevin Katona: Training is essential for growing a business and keeping up with competitors. We rarely get opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations with similar business owners who are willing to share information and discuss challenges and ideas. The networking and training opportunities provided through your MHEDA membership can provide the means to make your business increasingly more successful. We work hard every day to keep our businesses going and growing. Our lives are busy and the time for training and networking simply won’t fall out of the sky and hit us in the head. We must schedule time for both. The result of investing time in training and networking for yourself and your employees will not only lead to higher job satisfaction, but it will show up in better corporate performance overall. Steady improvements in your business learned through your MHEDA membership are worth the investment in time. A few hours each month invested in learning and networking can dramatically improve your bottom line. Read The E Myth by Michael Gerber to light a fire in yourself about spending time to work on your business and not just in your business. Your investment will yield results that are worth the time you schedule.

Mark Milovich: When it comes to MHEDA, I have always thought the “not enough time” line of reasoning to be along the lines of the infamous, “The dog ate my homework.” Members have to make time. Many of MHEDA’s programs offer a wealth of knowledge and information with as little as a one-hour commitment. The affinity programs take up no time at all, while MHEDA-NET requires one hour per month and the various webinars are one or two hours, tops. The only real time-consuming programs in MHEDA are Convention and the live seminars. MHEDA understands that time is precious. That is why most of the educational programs are over the Internet. Make the time for MHEDA and implement the things you learn. A few hours a month will go a long way in helping you be successful in our industry.

Ken Shaw: To answer this question, you need to ask yourself what you want to get out of your MHEDA membership and what ROI of that time will help you run your business more effectively. A good place to start is the MHEDA Web site, where you can find a wealth of information about networking opportunities, educational programs and affinity programs that offer attractive discounts on products and services that you use on a daily basis. Taking the time to explore the site helps determine which offerings add the greatest value for your organization. Start with one or two, and it won’t be long before you won’t know how you survived without being involved in MHEDA.

Also remember that MHEDA is not an association strictly for dealer principals. Distributors can get more out of their membership by getting all employees involved. Live programs and free teleconferences and webinars pertain to many different levels within your organization. MHEDA-NET groups geared toward various job functions allow members to share best practice information on a quarterly, bi-monthly or monthly basis with their peers.

With all the options available, it is easy to find a few that will fit within your company’s time and budget constraints. The real question is, how can you afford not to make time available to take advantage of your membership?

Steve Strifler: MHEDA has something to offer to almost everyone within almost every type of position within a company. Many of the offerings are covered with the annual dues (no additional expense). We justify the investment and quantify the return on the investment (dues) by getting as many people involved in taking advantage of MHEDA’s offerings as possible. We get more out of our MHEDA Membership, not by the time spent from a single individual, but by involving as many people as we can in the different offerings MHEDA has developed.

Jerry Weidmann: At Wisconsin Lift Truck, we assigned the responsibility for accessing the resources of MHEDA to various parties in our organization. Our human resources manager has oversight responsibility for all of our training. She coordinates our participation in all of the MHEDA programs. She sets up participation at regional offices for monthly webinars, coordinates a review of the sales and customer service podcasts, participates in the compensation survey, and determines attendance for live seminars. Our HR manager plans and budgets for the webinars, teleconferences and live training seminars for the entire year, so by the prior December, we generally know who will participate in the various programs offered by MHEDA. For example, our CFO coordinates the participation in the Distributor Performance Benchmarking Report, and I attend Convention every year. We also have several managers participating in MHEDA-NET. They coordinate their participation with their group. In summary, we have built the MHEDA training and networking offerings into our annual training, strategic plans and budget. In this process, we have greatly reduced the amount of time it takes to access the resource.

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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