I was asked to write an article for the January Edition of Taking Stock, the quarterly newsletter of the EDA, which was restricted (for reasons of layout of the front page ‘From The Boardroom’ section) to just 180 words. An easy job I thought – but actually it became a challenge as it was hard to fit all that I wanted to say into just a few short paragraphs. Foolishly I mentioned this to Margaret and Anne at the EDA, who quickly offered me the opportunity to write a much longer article if I wanted to – lesson learned, but here you are…
Prior to joining the industry with Stearn in April 2018 I had been working in distribution for almost all of my career, and have seen first-hand the service and support offered by similar organisations to the EDA in several industries, including the Automotive, Retail, DIY, Security and Building/Construction markets. Most of these industry bodies offer their members a broad range of services, including many (but not all) of those offered by the EDA to its members. However, from what I have seen of the EDA in just a short space of time, in comparison to these other organisations, they are setting the very highest standards in terms of service and support from an industry body – to the benefit of electrical distributors across the UK.
In the article in Taking Stock I outlined just three of the areas where I thought the EDA were achieving these high standards as an industry association, and revisiting these without the restriction of a limit on space or words I am able to expand on them a little as follows:
The EDA is governed by a Board of Management made up of 9 experienced individuals from the industry, each one of whom is from a different sector of the electrical wholesale market. Our personal connection to our market sector means we are closely connected to our members, and therefore can represent their interests accurately and reflect their business needs. It also provides every member with a direct line of communication to the Board.
Each of us is there to represent our sector, but we also each take responsibility for an area of the EDA’s activity as well. This could be the Regional Business Forums, recruitment, affiliates, or finance and so on. Having this direct responsibility for our activity builds accountability to the members to ensure that these areas are relevant and offer you value, as well as making us personally invested in the success of each area.
One of our core aims is to help our members stay abreast of the rapidly evolving market. In the short time I have been involved with the EDA we have seen new legislation on GDPR, new Wiring Regulations, and the introduction of the ETIM standard to the UK, to name just three key changes.
The EDA has supported its members in navigating these changes by providing information, guidance and support through direct communication from the manufacturers involved and organisations such as the LIA at our Regional Business Forums, online availability of information through our website, and the recent launch of our new training modules to reflect the new legislation.
The EDA Regional Business Forums have particularly impressed me. The events offer our members an excellent opportunity to attend a local Forum in their region and hear about relevant and current industry topics of the day. They also provide an invaluable opportunity for networking with colleagues, suppliers, and the EDA team. I would encourage all EDA members and affiliates to attend these. The dates for 2019 have been set and, where the venues are confirmed, you can register your place online using the links below:
The EDA provides a fantastic platform for learning with our comprehensive suite of 12 Product Knowledge Modules that have been completely updated during 2018. These are based on a ‘distance-learning’ concept where each learner completes a hard copy textbook and an End of Module Assessment (EMA) at the end of their course, allowing flexibility around time spent on the course as well as 24/7 access for learners.
You can find more details here and there is even a guide for the line managers of those taking the courses. If you are considering what training you will be putting in place for your team in 2019 I would highly recommend that you review the Manager’s Guide which you can download here so you can incorporate this excellent and affordable content in your staff’s development.
In addition, we offer the EDA Apprenticeship Programme – a managed solution to provide EDA members and affiliates with unique, user-friendly access to recruiting, managing and developing apprentices in your business. One key aspect of this initiative is that it not only supports the recruitment process but is also available to your existing staff, some of whom may have been with an employer for many years, to develop their knowledge and skills. The Apprenticeship Programme takes all of the hassle out of the whole process, with the EDA scheme initially taking your brief, shortlisting candidates, hiring once you have made a decision, appointing training providers based on your input and covering all the legal and payroll implications.
Quite aside from these three key areas there are many other ways in which the EDA are supporting their members, but at the risk of being asked to write another article, I am not going to mention these here! Instead I would recommend you attend one of the Regional Business Forums detailed above to find out more about the ways in which the EDA can help your business and enable you to get the most out of your membership.