It’s the 21st century and internet is accessible from almost anywhere, placing the knowledge of the world at our fingertips. So, is there still value in belonging to an industry association?
My simple answer is yes, and I would even go as far as to say it is more important today than it was a few decades ago.
While the internet gives us the ability to instantly access more information than ever before, industry specific organizations still have the added benefit of providing insight and information that you might not even realize could be critical to your business.
Here at Acuity, we believe this so much that our manufacturing team belongs to more than 15 local and national organizations. This allows us to hear and see things that we would not otherwise be aware of.
For example, we get alerts and updates on proposed regulatory changes that impact our customers. Associations have their finger on the pulse of what might be coming down the pike that can impact businesses. They know what is being discussed and what you can do to gain more insight on a potential change.
But there is more—not just legislation, but resources as well. One of the organizations Acuity belongs to is the leading institute that developed the robotic and automation safety standards for the industry. These are now the world’s standards. The association had members who built and designed the robots and robot users who assisted them. Being able to work with the designers, builders, and users helped them develop the best safety requirements and standards. This is better than someone trying to understand the design, build, and usage of a tool they don’t even use. Makes sense, right?
In addition, associations provide webinars, podcasts, and in-person events for you to attend to learn about new technologies and see what others do to improve, move forward, or deal with issues impacting their businesses. Associations are also a great place to network and learn. They represent your industry’s interests, and some are also leaders in education, providing employee training materials that are often free or discounted for members.
Going back to my opening statement about the internet—while the knowledge of the world is at everyone’s fingertips, we don’t always know what to search. A manager once asked me what training I felt would help me grow in my job. My answer was simple: "I don't know what I don't know." Associations can help you learn about opportunities for personal and business growth. They often have benchmarks or tools to measure your insight and knowledge, helping to identify what you need to know to grow.
So, even today, membership in industry associations is more than a plaque or sign at the entrance to your business. Associations can provide resources, partnerships, and help for you and your business.