By BVAA Director Rob Bartlett

Making a Contribution?

We all know the type. ‘First out the taxi, last in the pub.’ The person who manages to reap all the benefits of our friendship group, but makes a rare and negligible contribution. But still, they’re our friend, right?

How would it be though if they moved into your house? A few days on the sofa, maybe the spare room. We tolerate that, because they’re part of our group.

What about if they came back and forth. As suits their fancy. Beginning to rankle?

Imagine then, that they camped out permanently. They might buy their own food, and argue you had the house anyway so your ‘costs’ are not increased. But there is a cost involved in providing their lodging nevertheless. Not just the household water, heating and lighting, but also the rates, or the local precept for the upkeep of the roads, police, indeed the fabric of society that makes us civilized. Is the word ‘unfair’ coming to mind?

In trade association circles, we have something of an analogous problem. Booting someone out of an association is traumatic enough, and most usually for non-payment of subs (i.e .not paying their share). But you can’t boot someone out of an entire industry!

A fact of life is that an industry association supports a great many more companies besides those that subscribe. Those outside may argue that they are not directly buying the services, so have no obligation to contribute. But is that strictly true? Are they not benefitting anyway?

Let’s take a fundamental thing like skilled staff. Who bore the costs of training them in the first place? What was it that allowed their lecturers / teachers to gain their own knowledge and experience? And what courses were they on? Who paid for their development? The supporting materials? The equipment, the building they learned in? Starting to rack up, isn’t it?

Then there are standards. Dimensional. Materials. Testing. Services. Ancillary products.

Every business is affected by them. But someone had to come together to identify the need for those. To develop and draft them, etc. To go to BSI in London, CEN in Europe, perhaps further flung corners of the world to develop ISO or API standards. Occasionally all of them over many years. Then maintain them afterwards, forever. Who does that? Who coordinates it, pays an expert to lead it, pays to assist with travel costs, keeps the industry informed of commencement, publication, any changes, etc. Again, the Association.

Who steps up when Government agencies, the HSE, professional bodies and industry customers, etc., need help with industry-related problems? Who is the ‘authority’ on behalf of the industry, not just the association members?

Who is it that keeps British products in the limelight? Develops and publishes magazines like this one - at some considerable cost - to showcase British valve products around the world? Who broadcasts and maintains that British reputation? Who liaises over export events with DIT? Travels the world to exhibit at expos. Sponsors the development of professional industry Market Forecasts reports, develops text books for the industry, guidance and interpretation on legislation? Keeps industry informed on all manner of developments?

And who is it that keeps up a pretence of BVAA Membership long after they’ve left? And why? Could it be that it brings them credibility and respect? We know so. We know they know so too.

BVAA and its members invested in the past, present and for the future for the British valve industry. We think it is incumbent on all to play a part in the industry body that supports their businesses and their families.

Any Association is of course devalued by the absence of key players - but those players are benefitting from its activities just the same.

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 45

Winter 2018 // Issue 47
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