A trade group for materials handling equipment distributors is encouraging its members to plan ahead through review of an annually updated list
of critical impact factors.
"It gets people thinking away from day-to-day business and makes us look at programs laid out for 2013 and, at a higher level, 2014," says Richard Donnelly, president of the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA). Donnelly is executive vice president of the Gregory Poole Equipment Co in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Donnelly observes members using the list for business planning with management teams, dealerships and suppliers.
"Every year, the MHEDA leadership engages in a strategic planning process to uncover the key challenges and opportunities facing the industry and members," says Liz Richards, executive vice president and top staff leader for Vernon Hills-based MHEDA. The factors "give our members an opportunity to consider what's ahead and how to respond".
For example, factor number six (of 13) for 2013 reads: "It is critical to identify and retain all high performing employees. There are more job opportunities today and, therefore, a higher risk of losing key personnel."
Richards notes, "During the downturn, many companies cut personnel and retained their highest performers. Today, employees are working harder than ever as companies have moved cautiously before adding back to previous staffing levels. Now that job opportunities are on the rise, employers must be sure they are effectively communicating with their high performers about succession planning, career paths and long-term options, or they risk losing some of their best assets."
MHEDA developed the strategic planning process initially in 2000. "While it has been tweaked over the years, the basic process has not changed," Richards says. "In order to uncover these factors, we engage in a very in-depth environmental analysis, gathering data from many different sources", develop, define and document the factors and "create programs to help members address each factor".
MHEDA uses its educational arm, known as MHEDA U. "We very specifically address how to deal with these factors through live conferences, webinars and on-demand programs" as well as convention programming, Richards said. "The strategic planning process we use allows us to ensure we are providing education and information that is timely and relevant to the current and future business climate."