Learn about MEMAs big changes to better support their members.
Episode 249: MEMA (Motor & Equipment Manufacturing Association) has been around for well over 100 years. MEMA’s real focus has been on making sure the supply community has access to networking, and to provide insight to the market, and to be a voice for the supplier community. Recently announced, there are some big changes coming to MEMA to consolidate their 4 divisions into 2, for better visibility for members.
My guest today is Collin Shaw the President & COO of the Heavy-Duy Manufacturers Association.
Collin has over 15 years of experience in the Heavy Duty and Automotive Industries.
Guest Website: HDMA.org
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Transcript of Episode:
You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine, and this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering costs per mile.
It’s 2023, and the amount of change that we’ve seen in our industry over the last few years could be nothing short of really called unprecedented. And with all of that change, it’s putting a lot of pressure on companies all the way through the supply chain from manufacturers right down through to fleets. How do we respond to that change? How do we rise to the occasion to meet the needs of our industry?
Well, I’m really excited to talk to a returning guest about that specific subject. So we’ve got Collin Shaw back on the podcast. He’s the President and COO of the Heavy Duty Manufacturer’s Association. Collin has over 15 years of experience in the heavy duty and automotive business, and we are very happy to have him back on the podcast. Collin, welcome back to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. So glad to have you here.
Hi. Thanks Jamie. It’s good to be back.
So this episode is being aired during the week of HDAW, so we’re all in Texas right now or we’re going to be, and that’s an exciting time for the industry. A lot of conversation happens around that time, about where we’ve been and where we’re going. From your perspective, what are some of the rapid changes that our industry faces?
Yeah, I think as we have been looking at it for the last year as a leadership team, as I have joined this group at MEMA which is a larger organization for vehicle suppliers, which we’ll get into is there’s a number of things. There’s a shift to new technology such as electrification and autonomy and some of those are starting to blur the lines between the segments that we operate in whether it be commercial vehicle or light vehicle or even medium duty. A lot of these technologies are blurring the lines and you see companies investing in both areas to kind of capture and distribute their investment throughout.
Supply chain disruption has really been at the forefront. I think everybody’s sick of hearing about supply chain disruption, but it seems to be no matter how much we want to get away from it and our meetings and things like that with members, it continues to be a topic of discussion and whether it’s companies learning how to deal with it and putting in processes, it’s really continuing to dominate a lot of the conversations.
You look at supply chain and ESG or sustainability in ESG, that has been one that really, since I have joined, it kind of moved from supply chain into this discussion of sustainability in esg, there’s a lot more pressure on the suppliers to meet what the OEMs want as also the customers. And so we’re putting a lot of focus and thinking about how we address sustainability in ESG.
The other one that’s really been a big topic as of late has been worker training, hiring, retaining, retraining, immigration. There’s a lot of discussion around people, and I think what you’re seeing is a lot of movement in that area that people are moving across different industries. There’s a lot of new people coming into both light-duty, heavy-duty, aftermarket, remanufacturing, and so there’s a lot of changes happening there.
A need to think about how the US and perhaps maybe the North America region competes manufacturing. There’s a lot of talk about how do we bring things back into North America, being United States, Canada, and Mexico. And so there’s a lot of discussions there. And then the regulatory and legislative landscape routinely when we have our meetings, Anne Wilson, who is our Vice President of our Washington DC office, she comes and speaking and she’s routinely the most important and most interesting speaker at our councils and forums because there’s so much happening in Washington DC and it’s affecting everybody, whether it’s legislation happening in California, whether it’s at the federal level with the build back better or the infrastructure plans, I mean the Chips act.
So much stuff happening that it really is affecting everybody that we deal with in this industry. So that’s kind of a snapshot of a number of the things that are changing in our industries, and I don’t call them challenges, they’re also opportunities. And so they’re just things we’re all working on together.
As they’re talking. I’m thinking about this is the basis for maybe five or 10 episodes where we could talk about all these issues. Just for those who aren’t familiar, what does ESG stand for?
Environment social, and I believe it’s governmental. I always forget, I always forget the G so you have to apologize there, but I’m pretty sure it’s governmental.
But it’s all connected to these policies around sustainability and the environment. It’s interesting that you brought up the people component of it, because I remember one time someone said well, if we didn’t have customers getting in our way and causing us problems every day, we could get a lot done. And it’s like, yeah, well, you don’t have customers, you don’t have any work to do.
So at the heart of all of this is people, and I find that to be an interesting subject because we are going over this demographic cliff right now, and if you look at the data around the current workforce here in the trucking industry, it trends to one end of the spectrum, which is the older end. And so all of these other issues that we’re going to face as a society and more expansive than that, even as the globe, environmental issues, supply chain issues, technology at the heart of it still is people.
And when you look at the long-term trends, we are looking at actual population decline in the second half of this century. So that is certainly not something that when we were kids, we ever thought there was all this talk about population explosion. And I always think it’s so important for us to keep that front and center because we want people in the industries that we work in to thrive, and we want humans in general to thrive. So to your point, yes, we have to deal with these challenges, but we also have to try to find ways of turning them into opportunities.
It’s really been fascinating. So this is my first time helping to plan the HDAW show and seeing the explosion coming out of covid. This is going to be a great show. I know we’re recording this pre HDAW, but the numbers we’re seeing in the interest is have been record setting for us, so that’s great. But we’re also seeing is a lot of new people, and that’s what we’ve tried to do with our dialogue program. And some of the other things that we do is highlight some of the people coming into the industry, these really innovative people who maybe didn’t come from commercial vehicle but are bringing new insights and new ways of doing things.
And I think that’s really exciting to me is starting to see this changeover happening. And what’s great is that there’s lot of great mentors in our industry and they really doing the best they can to bring new people in and to teach them and help them understand the market. So yeah, it is a challenge, but I see some signs of hope and I think there’s a lot of excitement happening around the people issue of how do we bring them in and how do we keep people engaged? And once people get in this market, they really find it’s just a great industry to be in, and the people are make commercial vehicles so special. And I think the group that we’re bringing in is going to continue to help keep it a special industry.
We’re all standing on the shoulders of giants in some respect. So when you think about this, you gave us a real macro trend outlook, but specifically maybe not just supply chains, I think we’ve all talked about that quite a bit, but some of these other trends like new technology adoption and things like that, how is that filtering down to the manufacturers and the customers they serve, the distributors and the fleets? How is that putting pressure on them going into 2023?
What I like to think about is the bottom line is companies have to spend money to innovate and they need to invest in technologies. And I think the pressure that we’re seeing is that there’s so many new technologies coming at us so fast that organizations are having to put a lot on the line right now to invest in electrification, autonomous driving, connected vehicles into the aftermarket. Part of that connected vehicle piece is how do you connect your aftermarket and how do you invest in information and e-commerce?
So all at once, we’re seeing just everything pile on in the supply community, and it’s putting a lot of pressure on that bottom line. And so I think what you see is organizations looking for new ways to capitalize that investment and to spread it out. And so that’s part of the pressure I think that you’re finding in the industry. With that it’s compounded by the people issue is you have entirely new skills that are needed in our market electrical engineering, software engineering, these are entirely new skills that maybe haven’t been in our industry for very long.
And so not only do you have an aging and retiring workforce, you also have a workforce that has to come in with new skills that maybe can’t learn from who has been there. And you have all these technologies you need to make sure are funded and make sure you’re still being profitable. You have to take care of today’s operations and invest in the future. So I think those are some of the biggest pressures that are facing organizations as they plan for the future. That’s not saying anything about their supply chain and their current operations and raw materials, all those other things that we’ve been talking about for two years.
Right, and technology is great as long as it works, but if anybody’s ever had trouble connecting to their printer and they want to check it out the window, so when technology doesn’t work, it’s not a good thing. So yeah, there’s a real challenge there because to your point, not only are we looking to recruit and retain new people, but they need different skills. And that’s really part of the changing landscape. Okay, we’re going to take a quick break. When we get back from our break we’re going to talk about how all of these changes are affecting your organization. We’ll be right back.
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We’re back from our break and before the break, Collin, you did a great job of giving us an overview of the mega trends that are affecting the trucking industry and also by extension the automotive industry. Now, for those of you who maybe don’t understand the structure of the organization that you’re a part of, so I introduced you as the President and COO of the Heavy Duty Manufacturing Association. And in the first segment you mentioned an organization, MEMA, for just those who don’t know, can you kind of explain the way it’s traditionally been set up and then we’ll talk a little bit about what’s changing?
Yeah, so MEMA stands for and has historically stood for the Motor and Equipment Manufacturing Association. And for the past probably five years, we’ve been organized under four divisions. You have AASA which is for the aftermarket, you have OESA, which are predominantly at the light vehicle tier ones that supply to the OEMs. Then you have Mira, which is the sustainable manufacturing Organization. And then you have the organization. I run the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association.
So all four of us work together to try and foster and grow a profitable supplier community and advance their business issues. Those are the things that we focus on. And we’ve largely grown somewhat independent of each other. We have similar processes, we have similar ways of doing things. We talk, I’m in the office with the OESA team and the Mira team, but we try to meet the needs of those specific markets.
And as I mentioned, some of those lines are being blurred. And so what we at MEMA really focus on is making sure that that supply community has ample access to things like networking. We really pride ourselves in our ability to bring the market together to network. Our advocacy team, like I mentioned with Anne Wilson in Washington DC, she is just a phenomenal resource. And what she’s been able to do on Capitol Hill with things like the CHIPS Act have been tremendous.
And then our ability to provide insights, I’m privileged, and then I get to meet with and discuss topics with CEOs and business leaders. And so we have a certain amount of insight that we can bring to the market. And we do that for over 800 member companies as part of the total MEMA. And so that’s how we’re structured today a little bit. Every division has their people, we have our processes, and that’s how we go about business.
Right. And this is an organization that’s been around for a very long time, like you talked about the organization over the last 25 years, but if I’m not mistaken, that MEMA has been around for almost 120 years.
Yes, MEMA has been around for well over a hundred years. for that time. We have really prided ourselves on advancing the business interests of our member companies in the automotive sector. And what we really do well as I think is representing that supplier community. And we are a voice for the supplier community.
There’s great associations that help represent the distributors and the OEMs, and we really pride ourselves on that supply community for the automotive sector, which is coincidently the largest manufacturing sector in United supply base for automotive, it touches so many pieces of our society and what we do every day that it’s really important for us to maintain that vision and be the voice for that supplier community.
And in addition to that, the trucking industry is by far one of the most important industries as well, because you don’t get any of the stuff you need without it. So it’s the backbone society. Okay so what changes have been announced and why now?
So what we have announced is that our four divisions, which have largely, we created four divisions around the aftermarket, the OEM world, commercial vehicle, and light duty. And as I explained, we’re starting to see the lines blur, and our members came to us and said, Hey, we want better access to what’s happening. You’ve got a lot of great content, but it’s a little bit siloed. And so what we’ve done is consolidated the four divisions into two divisions.
So we’ve created MEMA Original Equipment Supplier Group, and a MEMA Aftermarket Supplier Group. And essentially you have the OESA group and the AASA group. They are continuing to operate in that original equipment supplier group for OESA. And the AASA operates in the aftermarket supplier group. The heavy-duty group, which is where I come in we’re kind of splitting that into two, but also providing more content for them.
So I will actually change my title to Chief Commercial Vehicle Officer for MEMA, as well as have a chief operating officer role at the MEMA OE level. And so what it allows us to do is take all of the great content that the OESA team or the AASA team has built and start offering that to our heavy-duty suppliers. Things like human resources forums. We have our Aftermarket Technology and Business Technology council. All of these things are done in the heavy-duty world as well.
But previously we were built limited due to people. Now this opens everything up and allows our members greater access in the heavy duty world to what’s happening throughout the automotive industry. And so those are the key changes. We’re also creating a central events team and a marketing team, but really what members need to know is that the content is going to be there that you’re used to. There’s just going to be more of it.
Yeah, that’s fantastic. When I was doing the planning to launch The Heavy-Duty Parts Report, I remember talking to a lot of people in the aftermarket side, the independent service channel, and they all said the same thing. They said the original equipment manufacturers, they have a tremendous amount of resources at their disposal, but aftermarket is, and the independent side, they really struggle sometimes to get the resources they need. So how do these changes specifically benefit aftermarket moving forward?
That’s a great question. I’m really excited for this because as I look at HDMA, we provide a service with the Heavy-Duty Aftermarket week and our heavy duty aftermarket dialogue. But then we also operate some councils and forums that meet twice a year, I guess, sales and marketing council. We have a technology council, our heavy duty business forum, which is for the presidents and CEOs of the supplier community.
But when I looked at the aftermarket, I felt like there’s a lot more we could do. And fortunately we have an amazing group led by Paul McCarthy called AASA, and they’ve created a lot of aftermarket content already. And so what this does is allows us to take our membership and say, okay, if you want access to more aftermarket content, thi- is all open to you now. So things like the Business Technology Council, which talks about things like e-commerce, which really spread across the entire automotive landscape.
They have a young leaders group, they’re mixed group, and that group is for younger people coming into the industry to be able to mingle with other people, to get to know other people from other companies as well as other leaders. They have their technology conference in the aftermarket. So there’s a lot of content that now we can look at and say, okay, how do we provide this into the heavy duty group? And in some cases, there already is heavy-duty content that the aftermarket team is already done.
And for some of it, we’re also re-looking at our councils and forums and saying, how do we build more heavy-duty content into this? Where does it make sense? Some things may just continue to stay heavy-duty and light-duty, but there’s a lot of things we’re finding that in the aftermarket based on what has been built over decades at AASA, we can piggyback on it now, offer it to our members, and allow more networking for the aftermarket community on top of what we do already at HDAW and the Dialogue.
Yeah, that’s fantastic. So one thing that I think we’re all concerned about is having our voice represented at the federal and state level, or if we’re here in Canada, then definitely at the federal and provincial level. How does these changes enhance your ability to do the work that’s being done in Washington to advocate for our industry?
When I look at the aftermarket, in specific, right to repair has been a very key topic. This allows us to combine the voice, and quite simply it allows us to combine the voice from the heavy duty market, the light duty market. When we look at things like vehicle autonomy and the regulations needing there yes, there will be some different things to look at from the heavy-duty and light duty side, but allows us to have a stronger voice and to represent more of the supplier community in some of these topics.
Now, I work with Anne Wilson, the AASA staff, Paul McCarthy works with Anne Wilson. So we’re connected there, but allows us to really have a very simple and unified message into Washington DC and representing the topics that we feel are important for the heavy-duty industry.
Okay, so I’m going to throw you a curve ball.
Go for it.
You’ve got two divisions now. One focused on manufacturers like the OE and one on the aftermarket. How do you navigate the seemingly divergent desires and needs of those two groups? So for example, we’ve seen over the years how OE want to vertically integrate. That’s not necessarily good for the aftermarket or the independent. We’ve seen manufacturers lobbying and fighting for one part of right to repair while the aftermarket independent fight for another. So how are you going to manage that?
There are some times where we have to put on an aftermarket hat and OE hat, and maybe we have differing opinions from some of the other associations out there that happens from time to time. But fortunately, in working with the supply community, most of the time they have a pretty coordinated voice because the head of that supplier community or that supplier company is typically running the OE business in the aftermarket business. He has to think about both of them together. And so we find that a lot of the times those issues don’t contradict at the supplier level.
On some they do like right to repair is a very sticky issue where there’s a lot of different voices. The recent EPA rules and the NOx rules that just came out, there’s a lot of differing voices. Some people wanted it, some people didn’t. And we have to walk that fine line. We do that in Washington DC that, and sometimes we play more in the background. Sometimes we’ll come out with statements. So that’s just part of the day that we already have. We already that tightrope speak to speak at times.
Yeah. Well, and the reality is that I would suspect that there are more external threats than internal ones. So there’s probably more things we have to worry about as a group that are external than the things that maybe we differ on internally. So from that perspective, I can see how there’d be great alignment. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to walk us through these changes. I think it’s significant for our industry, and we wanted at The Heavy-Duty Parts Report to just express our thanks to all the work that you and your organization is doing on our behalf. And thank you for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.
Yeah, thank you, Jamie. Appreciate it.
You’ve been listening to The Heavy- Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvin. We’ve been with Collin Shaw, who was the President and COO of the Heavy Duty Manufacturer’s Association, but that has now changed to Chief Commercial Vehicle Officer, is that correct?
Yep. And the Chief Operating Officer of MEMA OE. So a little bit of a dual hat.
Yeah, try to say that to 10 times fast. If you want to learn more though, specifically about HDMA, you can still go to hdma.org and that will give you all the information you need about the work that they’re doing there. Collin, thank you again for being on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. So glad to have you here.