Powerful Positioning is the theme for MHEDA this year. You’ll see this slogan on the MHEDA University Calendar as well as the Convention brochure. Frankly, this is not just a slogan but a mindset that the Board of Directors and MHEDA staff have embraced for the year ahead. If we bought into the doom and gloom media frenzy and the negative reporting, one can only imagine the impact on a material handlingbusiness. When you read the pages of this issue, you’ll see that MHEDA members are worlds away from accepting the negative reports that have come to surround us. Powerful and positive positioning is the direction industry distributors and suppliers are taking next year. Every member in this issue is explaining how they are going to seize opportunities in the face of economic uncertainty.
Many members reported record-breaking sales increases last year, and while the predictions for growth in 2009 are not as prevalent, the last thing MHEDA members are doing is pulling back. Now more than ever, members will be taking advantage of every opportunity to better service the customer.
Members will continue to use MHEDA training programs and services to make sure every employee in their company is armed with the right tools and ready to capture more market share and increase loyalty among their customer base. Comments made by members include: “We’re being proactive with training and staying ahead of the curve.” “We can’t control the housing and banking industries, but we can control how to run our business.” “We’ll be working smarter with our customers and maintaining more face-to-face communication.” Many members commented on the importance of communication and teamwork, and 51 percent of distributors surveyed plan on hiring more people in 2009 to better service their customers.
The Time to Hire
2009 could prove to be one of the best years to hire new employees. During the 2008 Convention, speaker Brian Beaulieu highlighted this very subject. He encouraged attendees to look closely at their employee mix during the next 12 months and consider replacing the low performers. This is an ideal time to seek out prospective employees from schools and universities—graduating students who are eager to make an impact. On page 145, read about two candidates who are very interested in our industry and ready for full-time employment.
Beyond hiring the traditional employee, the time is also ripe to consider an intern. Not sure how to position an internship in your company? Read this issue’s Ask Your Board column here and learn how others have been utilizing interns at their dealerships. Finally, please remember to utilize the resources available to you via the Gateway Web site. Go to www.mheda.org and click on Jobs to search résumés and post your company’s interest in hiring.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank the MHEDA Board of Directors for their ongoing support of this association. Board members not only don’t get paid by the association for their service, but spend their own financial resources to participate in board meetings, Convention and other association-related meetings—not an inexpensive proposition. The amount of time and talent they donate is priceless. Meet the 2009 Board here, and learn more about 2009 MHEDA President Duncan Murphy in the Presidential Spotlight and Member Profile here.
Be sure to visit MHEDA’s booth during ProMat. We look forward to working with you in 2009 and beyond!
Executive Vice President