So here we are! After months of preparation, I was proud to accept the chains of office to become the association’s next honorary President at the AGM in Nottingham in June 2019. As I begin my time in office, it seems right to firstly thank Gary Downes for his diligent work as President and I am grateful for him continuing on Council as Immediate Past President.
I want to acknowledge the strong position the Association finds itself in. Global membership continues to rise. Participation in our Ex training courses is still hugely popular, educating and certifying our colleagues across the world. In particular, the association is in a solid financial position, thanks in no small part to the stewardship of Thomas and his team at the secretariat. This position allows us to reflect on the journey we wish to travel as an association, with many options open to us.
We were fortunate to meet at the impressive facility of Avonmore in Cork for our recent Council meeting. We discussed the role of the AEMT in the coming years and how we could invest our reserves on behalf of our members. It is clear to me that we all need the AEMT to be a thought leader for our industry and to be able to deliver this in a practical and value-added way for our members.
In order that we might all play a part in the future journey, we need your views, suggestions and even participation in the planning process. I want to appeal to the membership to get involved. This may be by way of attendance to regional meetings, AGM, conference or the wonderful awards night we are hosting again this year. One of the great aspects of our association is the opportunity for networking, meeting colleagues and sharing views and experiences. Please consider how we might start to increase this participation. At the time of writing, we are in discussion with a number of potential new members for the Council. This is where we define the strategic direction of the association and therefore new perspectives are always welcome.
For my part, I acknowledge that my background as an employee of one of the world’s largest motor manufacturers may seem slightly at odds with the role of a repairer’s association. However, for a membership who provide service, repair and support to industry, we need to embrace a holistic approach. We always need to be aware of the real needs of our members’ customers. To do that we have to understand what drives them: production uptime, equipment availability, operational and capital cost, and whole life costs. Only in understanding these drivers is the association able to provide the support that our members need.
I believe that a comprehensive understanding of the solutions available is essential for formulating members’ service offering, and for the association to be the thought leader for the industry. This must include solutions such as high-quality repairs to meet current standards and energy efficiency demands; high quality products that add value to the customer, and a digital service that supports real time condition-based maintenance. We should help members understand the vast range of cloud-based digital tools and how these integrate with their service offering to add real value to customers.
In summary, we have a strong and healthy membership with a global reach. Members have an ever more demanding customer base and a range of new products and services available like never before. I really hope that with your help, I can lead the association through these changing times to be the leading voice of our industry.