034 GGP 0113

GGP JAN 2013

GREATDEBATE What’s the point of trade associations? Mike Gaillard, joint managing director of consultancy and test facility CENSolutions, uses this Speaker’s Corner to discuss the tough role trade associations need to play. “ federation, association, or certification and safety standards and shape and influence have a massive impact on every company inTake CE Marking. The mandatory 1 Julycontrasts with some of the others that appear toignore members and do not even seem to haveviews, never mind air them publicly, on some ofthe most important issues affecting the future ofour industry.2013 introduction of CE Marking is going toorganisation founded and funded by businessesthat operate in a specific industry whose mainfocus is collaboration between companies orstandardisation. Its role is to participate in publicrelations activities such as advertising, education,political donations, lobbying and publishing topromote best practice, set technical and healthor those of you who know me, you willhave read the title of this piece and willnow be expecting some form of antiWell, it may surprise you but there will not bebody/supplier sentiment.– well, maybe just the odd bit of constructivecriticism. This change of tack could be to do withF policy and legislation. our supply chain, from installer to fabricator to Downstream in the IG manufacturer. chain, we have the While the GGF may have been slower than I certification suppliers, had hoped to educate and start helping those responsible for companies understand and get ready for this new ensuring this best standard, at least it already has a practical and practice becomes comprehensive system in place. Where are the implemented. These others? In return for often hefty fees, what advice organisations carry the are their members receiving? serious role of assessing In terms of certification suppliers, while some and verifying that the have actively embraced their industry, others characteristics and have remained mysteriously silent. One quality of individuals or manufacturer told me recently that a client organisations, goods or manager from one of the larger certification services, procedures, or suppliers, had been to see them for an audit and processes are in a meeting to discuss CE Marking and the client accordance with manager had actually asked the manufacturer established requirements themselves to explain the changes to him. or standards. Maybe it is this widely varying contrast in This all sounds great service levels offered by the different bodies and in theory but in practice, suppliers, that has made me realise we should Mike Gaillard – “The fenestration like any organisation, the not lump everyone together when it comes to industry is lucky associations and praising or criticising. However, I understand – or unlucky – to certification suppliers how lethargy and cynicism can so easily slip have many can vary significantly. in among the very companies we are supposed associations”. The fenestration industry to be representing and helping when they see is lucky – or unlucky – little return for their subs, or decisions being to have many taken that are driven by individual or having gone around the block a few times, or associations; some more active than others commercial gain rather than for the good of the maybe it is an increase in awareness of the and a number of larger and smaller certification industry as a whole. difficult role the Glass and Glazing Federation suppliers; some more accurate and helpful As an extremely active member of the GGF for (GGF) and its working groups, for example, have than others. years, I am perhaps closer than most to see the to play that have made me review my stance, huge amount of work that goes on to support although I am disappointed at the general lack of THE REALITY our industry, especially when it comes to advice from all other bodies and suppliers. When it comes to trade associations, including legislation, both instigation and compliance and Either way, as a representative of the GGF, British Plastics Federation (BPF), British I have had the pleasure of working with some of CENSolutions, I can firmly say I have never set Woodworking Federation (BWF), Council for our industry’s most passionate and according to the 1,000 or so companies we work gaps in communications from some of them. comply, the GGF has always been and will”Just as my company was established to helpknowledgeable individuals.companies make sense of all relevant systems,standards and legislation with which they mustAluminium in Building (CAB) and Steel WindowAssociation (SWA) who are there to look afterthe interests of their members and indeed, thebroader industry as a whole, there are noticeableGGF could, for example, have done somethingDE FACTO better, or more quickly, at least it does play its For further information, visit the website:The official definition of a trade association is an role and raises its head above the parapet. This www.censolutions.com out to make either enemies, or friends in the industry for commercial gain. Our organisation is pragmatic and objective and we just ask the difficult questions and then tell it how it is with every year. While I am always among the first to say the continue to be, an integral part of this process. 34 January 2013 Glass & Glazing Products


GGP JAN 2013
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