The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) and its members emerged as the dominant low-rise, non-residential building system of choice through its founding principles and sharing common goals. It was founded by a group of companies developing an innovative way of manufacturing, designing, marketing and constructing buildings. Defining and successfully promoting the common interests of metal building systems manufacturers facilitating the consolidation of resources to investigate the current challenges and opportunities confronting the industry have been MBMA’s main ingredients for success.
Success however, is never guaranteed. The recent slow pace of the economy and a reversal in market-share gains, in certain segments, is proof of this argument and an alert to the Association that more action must be taken to raise awareness of the benefits of metal building systems. Equally powerful and influential coalitions, such as the timber association and the concrete industry, have emulated the success of MBMA. They have pulled together an even larger array of like-minded companies and associations to promote the benefits of their products. The timber association developed a comprehensive strategy to increase market-share through 2020, while the concrete industry carries their plan out through 2030. Both organizations draw on membership and resources far beyond that afforded by MBMA and represent formidable competition for the construction dollar.
These challenges require the industry to amplify and focus our message. There is a need to find a new voice representing a broad array of steel related interests serving the construction market that promote the advantages of steel in construction. The Association is at an interesting point in its evolution. The success that has been achieved through the support and promotion of the systems form of construction must expand to promote the benefits of steel in construction.
The Strategic Plan, adopted by the Board of Directors in December of 2000, calls for the Association to, “strengthen the marketing of the advantages of metal building systems” and to become “a recognized authority for non-residential metal construction.” MBMA clearly believes in the value of the systems approach to construction. However, we must support these beliefs by understanding the importance of leveraging the entire steel and construction industry. This can be accomplished by gathering a broad coalition of players that represent metal in non-residential construction.
PRINCIPLES TO ACCOMPLISH OUR GOALS
MBMA sponsored a forum on June 20 in Chicago to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Invitations to participate were extended to a number of interested groups and associations. All of the participants benefited from the discussions that took place. MBMA was able to use the forum as an opportunity to consider the views from the variety of participants. It will use these opinions when shaping strategic plan initiatives. Topics discussed included; the role of Quality Certification programs in differentiating the steel construction industry; trade shows and their role and effectiveness in addressing and expanding markets; identification of possible industry alliances/coalitions and resources; feasibility of re-structuring/broadening industry trade representation, media and other promotional vehicles and approaches and strategies to address areas of common interest. The session created a stronger appreciation of how the various segments of the industry can partner to help influence a greater participation of steel in construction.
This year truly represents the opportunity to take bold and meaningful steps to shape a broader coalition of the future. We must work together to create a powerful force for steel and construction in the construction industry. By accomplishing these goals MBMA will hold true to our founding principles in supporting our new strategic plan.