For almost sixty years, the Scale Manufacturers Association has played a vital role in representing the interests of all manufacturers within the scale industry. In spite of this, there appears to be a continued misunderstanding of the services provided by the SMA and the value of SMA membership. SMA membership has fluctuated with not only the economy but also with the level of interest in issues before the National Conference on Weights and Measures. Some manufacturers feel that they receive the benefits of SMA membership without actually having to join while others feel that the cost of membership is too great. The intent of this paper is to address these issues while providing reasons why SMA membership is a sound investment for manufacturers who are serious about their role in the scale industry.
The Scale Manufacturers Association includes a number of committees that address specific issues of concern to the scale industry. Included are the Technical Committee, the Strategy and Planning Committee, the Committee on International Trade, and the Membership Committee. The Technical Committee is the most active of the committees, meeting four times each year to address issues before the National Conference on Weights and Measures. Technical Committee members review these technical issues and make recommendations to the SMA membership regarding support or opposition of the items of interest before the NCWM. Further, the Technical Committee may make recommendations for changes in these items or may assist in the introduction of new items to the NCWM. The SMA Technical Committee is recognized as a source of technical expertise and is regularly called upon to assist in the development of technical issues that will later be adopted by the NCWM.
The SMA Strategy and Planning Committee serves the association membership by identifying strategic opportunities for member companies as well as for the association itself. The Committee on International Trade monitors international activities and trends within the scale industry and reports this information to the SMA membership. The SMA Membership Committee strives to ensure that the association identifies and provides those services needed by SMA members to remain viable members of the scale industry. The SMA's board of directors oversees all of these activities while making certain that the SMA remains on a firm financial footing.
While all of this may sound interesting to a non-member the work of these various committees still may not be enough to justify joining the SMA. Other reasons for participation in the SMA include:
Standards Development - SMA members participate in the development of a wide range of standards used by member companies in the development of their products. These standards cover serial communications, shock and overload, human interface standards and others. Membership allows you to participate in the development of these and other standards and ensures that you will have immediate access to standards before they are made public. SMA standards are implemented in existing products and may soon be found in product specifications.
Networking - SMA membership allows you to become a member of and participate in one or more of the SMA committees where you will meet with your peers within the industry. Further, SMA membership provides a means of meeting with NCWM leadership in an informal setting where you may express your thoughts regarding current issues. This environment promotes the exchange of ideas through open communications allowing your opinions to be made known.
Conformity Assessment - Once advised by the NCWM that Conformity Assessment was the direction they were heading, SMA developed a conformity assessment program that meets the anticipated NCWM requirements. This program helps ensure consistency among participants' products and SMA members enjoy a significant discount in the fees associated with participation in this program. In the not too distant future, manufacturers of weight indicators and load cells will have to participate in such a program to maintain the active status of their NTEP Certificates of Conformance. By being proactive and joining this program now, you will be ready when these requirements are implemented plus you'll be able to give your customers a level of assurance unavailable from those who do not participate.
Technical Issues - As a member of the SMA Technical Committee, you will have the opportunity to help establish industry positions on issues being considered by the NCWM. Committee members participate in the development of technical requirements that are later adopted by the NCWM. By participating in this committee you can make certain that your opinion counts while gaining a new level of understanding about the complex and often controversial issues before they become requirements.
Industry Issues - SMA members continually exchange information about the scale industry. Members are provided with survey results covering employee benefits, health care costs, and other items of interest. This information gives you an opportunity to confidentially compare your company with that of your peers.
Industry Voice - The SMA is the only domestic organization of its type that consists solely of manufacturers and integrators of scales and scale components. As such, the SMA is often called upon to speak for the industry as a whole. By becoming a member of the SMA, you will ensure that your opinions will become part of that response. Further, SMA membership gives your company a level of professionalism unavailable to nonmembers.
When compared to other costs of industry participation, SMA membership provides cost-effective advantages unavailable elsewhere. To learn more about the Scale Manufacturers Association and its activities, we invite you to visit our website at www.scalemanufacturers.org or phone 866-372-4627. We think when you take a serious look at the SMA you'll agree that it is not only an investment for the future of the scale industry but for yours as well.