Why a company should join an industry association

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An association plays a critical role in establishing a bridge between the industry and the government, besides facilitating the industry in various ways by creating platforms for its growth

By Richa Chakravarty

industryassociationWednesday, August 20, 2014: Joining an industry association, as many business owners in the electronics industry might argue, can be an additional burden, on top of the hectic schedule of meeting targets, increasing sales, devising new business strategies, providing post sale services, etc. However, there are various benefits these companies can avail by becoming association members. Industry associations play a critical role in establishing a bridge between the industry and the government. Besides, they also work for the industry’s interests by imparting education, formulating technical standards, conducting surveys, helping to penetrate export markets, etc.

Long term and short term goals to be achieved

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According to member companies of these associations, there are long term and short term goals that can be achieved by becoming a member of an association.

A bridge between industry and government: An industry association forms a bridge between the industry and the government, putting forward the problems and issues of the industry to the concerned ministries. “The collective voice that the associations raise on behalf of the industry regarding policies and regulations is crucial as many organisations do not have the resources or expertise in this area,” says Amit Kharbanda, executive director, MyBox Technologies Pvt Ltd.

Being an intermediary between the industry and the government, an association’s key responsibility is to boost the industry. “IESA (India Electronics and Semiconducter Association) has been able to achieve its objectives since its inception in 2004. The association had played an important role in helping the government formulate the National Policy for Electronics (NPE), which was announced in 2012,” shares P V G Menon, past president, IESA. He adds that during his tenure of two-and-a-half years at the helm of IESA, membership almost doubled.

ELCINA, on the other hand, is actively associated with business houses in organising B2B expositions that act as platforms to help its members grow their businesses.

Playing the role of a consultant to the government: Associations generally comprise industry leaders and experts, whose goal is to work towards developing a sustainable industry. The government, therefore, consults them before developing policies, schemes or technical standards. For example, the NPE was developed after many levels of consultations with industry associations.

It is also easy for an association to get approvals from the government on projects. For example, ELCINA and its members have been successful in getting approval to create three electronics manufacturing clusters (EMCs) in Bhiwadi (Rajasthan), Ananthapur (Andhra Pradesh) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu).

An ideal platform to network and grow the business: Opines Vijay Kumar, general manager, Qmax Technologies Pvt Ltd, “The seminars, workshops and B2B expositions arranged by the associations are important platforms for networking and doing business. Our firm has been a member of ELCINA for the past five years and this has built a good spirit of camaraderie with the industry.”

speakersSays Sunil Bhatnagar, director, marketing, Artheon Electronics Ltd, “By being a member of FICCI we have been able to connect with a large number of domestic industry players. Also we have the opportunity to develop international contacts as FICCI is very dynamic at international platforms as well.”

Adds Aditya Arora, COO, Base Corporation, “Our sole objective in joining CII was to widen our network. Our plan to establish a mega plant at our Hosur facility needed to be matched by mega demand and hence, we wanted to increase our network. What better way to achieve that than to become a part of an association in which you get to network and connect with varied industries?”

However, some association members feel that the associations are more region-specific. “Despite having a pan-India presence, most meetings of ELCINA are held in Delhi NCR since most of the members are NCR-based. Many members who are not based in the NCR cannot always make it to the annual general meetings or other events. Hence, I feel that the associations should spread their activities and workshops across India,” says Vijay Kumar.

Challenges faced by associations

Associations, too, face some challenges. They not only have to maintain their membership base but have to keep increasing it. Besides, they need to raise the bar every year by adding value to the services provided to their members. “The challenge for any association is to define its value proposition and ensure that it continues to stay relevant to its members. So it is important for the associations to stay connected with their members and understand the issues they face. Hence, they should keep devising new programmes for theirs members,” says P V G Menon.

Associations have to be proactive. In April 2014, the LED products Manufacturers Association (LEDMA) revived its association by inaugurating its Delhi branch office. It was established in 2010 with the sole objective of providing a platform to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the LED sector. This is the only association working for the LED lighting industry. “We inaugurated the association’s Delhi office with much zeal and enthusiasm but there has hardly been any activity in the sector as most of the LED products were imported with just a handful of manufacturers producing locally. But now the market for LEDs is picking up and with the revival of the association, our subscriptions have increased by 10 per cent,” informs Surinder Kumar Singla, secretary, LEDMA.

Some of the associations that represent the Indian electronics industry

Associations with national reach

  • Electronic Industries Association of India (ELCINA)

  • Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA)

  • Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC)

  • India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA)

Associations that have international offices

  • Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)

  • Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)

  • Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)

Some regional associations

  • Electronic Industries Association of Andhra Pradesh (ELIAP)

  • Consortium of Electronic Industries of Karnataka (CLIK)

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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