29/10/2018 — auf Deutsch lesen

Do we still need associations?

Association meetings used to be popular events, people exchanged ideas and experiences, arrangements would be made, and agreements reached.


Associations support their members on multiple levels and in multiple ways – just like the multiple tools of a Swiss army knife © Auerbach


Something that is unfathomable today, when everyone is rushed off their feet to the point where it is often impossible to set up a simple conference call that works for everyone. That is exactly why we still need associations, even today.

 Associations take care of the day-to-day business challenges of their members. They help companies to stay on track with health and safety. They facilitate the appropriate exchange of information with the relevant authorities, they provide support for legal and technical queries, they educate members about rules and regulations, and they have the ability to collect information across a large network of excellence. Associations also facilitate clear communications with suppliers and customers by developing and establishing uniform standards with the active cooperation of their members. They help members understand official requirements and provide them with the necessary tools to comply with them. Contrary to some belief, associations do not set out to block everything. In the face of domestic and European regulatory avalanches this would be futile. However, the effects of new regulations can often be softened or shaped according to the industry’s needs through strategic partnerships.

 A well-positioned association serves as an advocate, a network and a platform for communication across the industry. Most importantly, it is an invaluable tool for its members – like a Swiss army knife. Of course, membership is not free. The added value it brings with it, however, by far outweighs the costs. Companies may also go their own way and rise to their challenges themselves. Nonetheless, every entrepreneur should perhaps to consider whether they might not still indirectly benefit from the crucial work of associations. And if so, whether that would not merit getting actively involved, and getting yourself that “Swiss army knife”.

Martin Auerbach

Verband der Deutschen Heimtextilien-Industrie e.V.

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