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Columbus, Ohio

Q - What, exactly, is the SMA?
  A - The SMA or Scale Manufacturers Association is a non-profit organization of scale or scale component manufacturers who share the common goal of ensuring equity in the marketplace for both the buyer and the seller as well as for the device manufacturer.

Q - How long has the SMA been around?
  A - The SMA was established in 1945 and has actively been representing scale manufacturers at the national and international levels ever since.

Q - How is the SMA organized?
  A - The affairs of the SMA are directed and supervised by the board of directors. The SMA president, vice president and secretary are elected biennially. The SMA Technical Committee is made up of a chair and individuals from company members and develops recommendations for SMA positions regarding items before the National Conference on Weights and Measures.

Q - How often does the SMA meet?
  A - Meetings of the SMA are held twice a year in April and November. The SMA Technical Committee meets four times a year, twice at the semi annual SMA meetings and once each at the NCWM Interim and Annual meetings.

Q - Isn't the SMA just an organization for the “big boys”?
  A - Absolutely not! SMA members enjoy the same privileges of membership regardless of their size. Each member company has one vote in SMA matters and is eligible to hold office whether they have one or a thousand employees. SMA membership dues are the same for all members.

Q - Speaking of dues, what are they?
  A - Dues are $2,500 per year invoiced on June 1 of each year.

Q - Why should I join? Won't the other members in the Association be watching out for my interests?
  A - There are a number of reasons why you should join. First, SMA membership provides you with an opportunity to have your voice heard through the SMA. Positions held by the SMA have a greater impact than those held by a single company. Next, SMA membership allows you to meet with your industry peers on an informal basis to exchange ideas and develop relationships. SMA members who are unable to attend the National Conference on Weights and Measures meetings are able to keep up to date on developments within the NCWM and provide their thoughts on items before the Conference. SMA members can be an integral part of the development of industry standards while obtaining a better understanding of the legal metrology system. Finally, SMA members have the opportunity to meet NCWM and NIST leadership at SMA meetings in an informal setting.

Q - Isn't the SMA responsible for the VCAP program?
  A - No. In the late 1990's, SMA leadership recognized that the NCWM was very interested in developing a verified conformity assessment program. In a proactive step, the SMA decided to develop their own SMA-PMT (Production Meets Type) conformity assessment program. A number of SMA members participated in this program attaining SMA-PMT certification though a third party auditor. It was the hope of the SMA that this PMT program would be adopted by the NCWM but that did not happen. The NCWM developed and implemented their own VCAP program that was very much like the original SMA-PMT program. The SMA-PMT program was abandoned in 2009.

Q - Does the SMA participate in any of the OIML meetings?
  A - No. Although the SMA attempts to keep up to date on activities of other legal metrology programs, it only actively participates in the National Conference on Weights and Measures.

Q - Aren't there other organizations that also represent scale manufacturers?
  A - Not really. There are a few organizations whose members include some scale manufacturers. The National Industrial Scale Association (NISA) includes members who are manufacturers of heavy capacity scales but, unlike the SMA, NISA does not take official positions on items before the NCWM nor does it represent the interests of manufacturers of lighter capacity scales and scale components like load cells. The International Society of Weighing and Measurement (ISWM) has a manufacturers group within their membership but, to date, they have not taken formal positions on NCWM items.

Q - What's wrong with just going it on my own and presenting my own positions at the NCWM meetings?
  A - Not a thing. If you choose to do this there are, however, some things you should be aware of. First, by being a member of the SMA, you gain an added perspective of the items before the NCWM. The discussions that take place during the SMA Technical Committee meetings give you added insight as to the changes brought forth with implementation of the item plus being able to participate in an exchange of ideas with other interested and technically proficient members. Participation in the SMA Technical Committee will provide you with a better understanding of the item that may affect your position on it. Further, your voice as a single manufacturer at the NCWM meeting while important, will not have the impact of the combined voice of many like you. Further still, if something happens that prevents you from attending the NCWM meeting, your position will still be voiced through your membership and participation in the SMA.

Q - Are there other advantages to SMA membership?
  A - Yes. In addition to those previously listed, the SMA meeting programs will include presentations that will be of interest to senior management. Presentations might include updates on personnel management issues, tax laws, market surveys, economic forecasts and other topics of interest to business owners and senior management. SMA membership includes advantages for both company ownership / management and for technical and compliance managers and engineers.

Q - What if I have an idea for additional services or programs for the SMA?
  A - As an SMA member you always have a voice no matter the size of your organization. Just present your idea to one of our board members and it will undergo serious consideration and a prompt response.

Q - How are SMA meeting sites selected?
  A - SMA meeting sites are selected based on membership input. One of the biannual meetings will typically be held at a major airport hotel allowing members to get in, conduct business, and get back home in the minimum length of time and with the least difficulty. The spring meeting will normally take place in more of a relaxed atmosphere where other on and off-site activities are available.

Q - As a member of the SMA, am I expected to share pricing and sales volumes with other members?
  A - Absolutely not! The SMA has a very strict antitrust policy and rules that must be observed without exception or qualification.

Q - How do I join the SMA?
  A - An “Application for Membership” form is available under the Membership Application page of this website. Submit the completed application either on line or to the address indicated at the top of the form. Your application will be processed in a timely manner and you will be contacted by a member of the SMA board of directors.