By Liz Richards, MHEDA Executive Vice President
When someone asks you “what do you do?” and you try to explain your role in the material handling industry, do you ever struggle with the explanation? Do you find yourself resorting to a description based on the specific equipment and technologies you sell, service or manufacture, versus a more global definition of the industry in which you are engaged?
For years here at MHEDA we have been struggling to come up with a succinct and clear definition of the industry, the role our members play within the supply chain and the importance of this role. I heard one industry colleague once describe the material handling industry as “hidden in plain sight.” So true, isn’t it? It may be hidden behind the scenes, but as we all know, it is the backbone of the global marketplace and as it is so eloquently put by our friends at MHI, it’s “what makes supply chains work.”
Members have been engaged in many rebranding efforts to change the names of their organizations in order to better depict what it is they do to serve the customer. A number of years ago we landed on a tagline that, in my view, really captures what the material handling equipment industry professional essentially does for the customer: “Making Goods and Cash Flow.” Isn’t that what it’s all about? Your customer is looking for efficiency, which results in a better return. We invite you to use this tagline when describing the valuable solution you are providing to the customer. Many thanks to Lonny Strum of Strum Consulting, who worked with us to develop this message.
In addition to your customer, another vital stakeholder in terms of industry awareness and industry recognition is the academic community. We hear time and again the difficulty our members are having recruiting new talent. This is another area in which MHEDA has placed a heavy emphasis and thus created a short, attention-grabbing video to attract young people and students to our industry. If you haven’t already viewed this video, I highly encourage you to take two minutes and 23 seconds of your time to watch the video by visiting www.mheda.org/careers. Click on “Industry Career Video” and be sure to also embed the video on your own website so we can spread the word about the rewarding career opportunities available in material handling equipment distribution and manufacturing.
In this issue and for the rest of this year, we are reflecting on the past 60 years of MHEDA and remembering the great leaders who envisioned and founded MHEDA all those years ago. The eight dealers who started this vibrant association may not have realized the impact this industry would have today and the importance of material handling equipment and technologies in the global marketplace. But then again, the words spoken by Norm Cahners at the first MHEDA Convention in May 1955 indicate otherwise; these men did realize they were on the threshold of something great when Cahners said: “The most important times of life are those rare moments when we see something new being born, something that is really significant being created. Certainly today is one of those times.”
Happy 60th Anniversary MHEDA!