Critical Issues

Sept. 28, 2010

Stan Orr, AEMP

Stan Orr, CAE

Stan Orr, CAE It is not news to anyone that we are living in challenging times at all levels of our personal and professional lives. So it stands to reason there are critical issues facing the asset-management profession. As such, it is the responsibility of this association to meet those challenges head on.

In November 2007, the AEMP Board began an extensive planning process. It has not been the typical “let's write a strategic plan,” but rather it has been a frank, in-depth look at the association. The Board worked to define what will constitute value for the members and the profession; to identify critical industry issues; to develop strategies, implement and monitor those strategies; and, in the process, 
to earn a reputation for relevance.

I have always believed there are three keys to sustaining organizational success at AEMP. A Reputation for Value, i.e., a product portfolio of good “stuff”; an Enjoyable Culture, one based on communication and trust; and a Nimble Infrastructure, one that allows AEMP to quickly seize opportunities to create value.

The results thus far have surprised even the seasoned leaders of this organization, and for perhaps the first time in the organization's history, we are engaging those three keys and sustaining organizational success.

A culture of trust and communication was demonstrated in November, when AEMP members at the first-ever Asset Management Symposium spoke loudly and clearly that technology integration was perhaps the biggest challenge facing them. The result was the creation of a Technology Task Force to address the issue. The group's work has resulted in the creation of a White Paper on the issue and the establishment of a Technology Summit in August, when the task force will meet with key leaders of the major OEMs. It is the first step of a process that will likely include engaging the “third side” of the equipment triangle: the providers of fleet-management software and enterprise solution providers.

That culture was further demonstrated when members told the association that emissions, i.e., governmental regulations, is another critical issue. The result was the creation of an Emissions Task Force, and the development (still underway) of an emissions central web site for AEMP members.

AEMP's reputation for value is definitely on the increase. The AEMP Foundation recently awarded eight scholarships to students wishing to enter the technician profession. Workforce issues are another critical issue identified by members, and the Foundation is doing its part to address it. The goal of the Foundation is to have as many as 100 students per year graduating from technical schools.

In June, the AEMP and Board met for its annual Leadership Retreat. This event, which is open to all members of AEMP, has grown in size and importance in the past two years, as attendees engage in determining the strategic direction of the organization while learning ways to increase their own leadership skills. Critical issues that were addressed at the meeting, and which members and the industry will see as further proof that AEMP has a portfolio of “good stuff” that is of value to you the member, included:

*Technology. Rapidly changing and diverse technologies are impacting equipment costs and personnel requirements for fleets. This is driving the need for AEMP to participate in finding technology-application solutions for all partners within the equipment triangle.

*Asset Manager Business Skills. Asset management is becoming an increasingly complex business requiring an extensive set of business management skills. Yet challenges in attracting the next generation of managers threatens the future of the profession and AEMP.

*Governmental Regulations. Regulations at the local, county, state, and federal levels are increasing in a variety of areas--not just emissions--and are challenging the capacity of companies as well as a fleet manager's ability to interpret and manage emerging regulations.

And finally, in order to maintain a nimble infrastructure, the Board explored ways to streamline its governance. The board recognizes that to earn engagement from the members, they must work on things that matter to them and demonstrate the work is making a positive difference in the industry. To do that requires a shift in the way the Board and committees conduct their business to provide for more streamlined, nimble processes.

As AEMP continues as an organization that is all about acumen—sustaining knowledge and using it well to ensure value is being received—I am confident the industry's reliance on AEMP as the premier organization for delivering value will continue to grow.