Perspective – March 2015

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johnWelcome back, I hope 2015 bodes well  for  all  our  members.  This year  the  South  African market will face many challenges, but we hope that this is an opportunity for alternative solutions and growth in our market.

In November last year I was able to virtually “attend” a summit held by CARISA, the Centre for Association Research and Intelligence, on “Professional Bodies, Associations and Societies Summit 2014.”

Many important issues were raised at this summit and some have informed the background to Sassda’s January Strategy Session. One important message that emerged was the need for associations to engage with their members on multiple fronts, including face to face meetings, sector meetings, breakfast   meetings,

Many important issues were raised at this summit and some have informed the background to Sassda’s January Strategy Session. One important message that emerged was the need for associations to engage with their members on multiple fronts, including face to face meetings, sector meetings, breakfast   meetings,   Facebook,   e-mail   and   most importantly, through a mobile friendly, fresh website. Sassda will continue to be a member driven association that treats its members as customers and one of our key areas of focus this year is to improve our engagement with Sassda members.

The Seven Thrust Strategy for 2015 will focus on Promoting and Marketing; Education and Training; Protecting the Industry; Raising the Profile of Sassda; Promoting New Products and Applications; Focusing on Africa; and finally, a recommitment to the Sectors.

PROMOTION & MARKETING:

We have engaged the services of Gary Crawford who will develop a marketing plan to grow the stainless steel market in South Africa and help the Sassda team to implement this. Additional activities in this thrust is creating the “Find a Supplier” tool on our website. We have more than doubled the number of products and have categorised products into industry sectors to make it easier for potential customers to find Sassda members. The “Find a Fabricator” function, will become functional later this year. The website is being modernised and will be mobile friendly. A further activity under this thrust is to show that in many applications, stainless steel is the most cost effective option.

EDUCATION & TRAINING:

Sassda has seen very good growth with our new range of modern and interactive courses. We will continue to drive this and expand our target audience to include specifiers and end users. The very popular Information Series is being completely revised and will consist of 12 sections. Each Stainless Steel magazine will have a pull out section of the Information Series. This is collectable and Sassda Information Series ring files are available from Sassda.

PROTECT THE INDUSTRY:

China has declared their stainless steel industry as a favoured industry and thus it is heavily subsidised. Sassda has a detailed programme to investigate this and the wider stainless steel product trade to see what remedies, if any, should be pursued. See page 7 for more information on this as well as the latest annual apparent consumption figures. RAISING SASSDA’S PROFILE: Member engagements form a key aspect of this thrust and Sassda will endeavour to have site visits this year, with all members who have not been visited by a Sassda member champion in the last few years. In addition the Sports Days are being revamped to make them more fun but also to reduce costs to members to increase participation.

NEW PRODUCTS & APPLICATIONS:

One of the ways of growing the conversion of stainless steel is to develop new products and applications. Sassda is working with the other SSDAs around the world, under the auspices of the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), with the next meeting in May in Taiwan. There are several products that are in the early stages of localisation.

THE AFRICAN INITIATIVE continues with Sassda representing members at various exhibitions, funded by the dti’s EMIA programme. Sassda will also accompany the dti and other associations on an export mission into Mozambique.

SECTORS will also take priority in 2015 with joint sector meetings. These will also now be regionalised with live web meetings linking in from venues in the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. There is also an ABC breakfast meeting scheduled which will have a number of interesting presentations. This will also be live webcast to allow members to join the meeting from their own premises. For more on the new committee, see page 32.

Good luck for 2015 and remember that we value all our members feedback.

John tarboton

executive director, sassda

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