FAIRLAWN, Ohio (June 10, 2010)—At the final annual meeting of the Elastomer Products Group, its successor organization, the American Association for Rubber Manufacturers, set providing value to its members as its primary goal.
The non-tire members of the Rubber Manufacturers Association will become independent as the AARM on Oct. 1.
The meeting at Veyance Technologies Inc.'s headquarters in Fairlawn drew 50 attendees, some from companies that formerly were RMA members, others whose firms never were in the organization. They heard presentations by Troy Nix, the new executive director of the AARM, and EPG steering committee members describe the vision and goals for the new group.
Value for its members is the primary aim of the group, according to Nix, of First Resource Inc., and others. The new path forward includes reduced annual membership dues, continued standards development, executive-level training and educational events, and information and industry-specific benchmarking.
AARM members also will be able essentially to piggyback on vendor discounts and other cost reduction opportunities offered to members of the two groups First Resource already manages, the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors, and the Indiana Chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Association.
“This is a work in progress,” Nix said, asking for input from participants as the EPG is transformed.
Dave Maguire, Veyance vice president of technology and EPG chairman, agreed. “We have done a lot of work, a lot of meetings and soul searching,” he said.
The RMA directors voted April 30 to dissolve the EPG on Sept. 30. RMA President Charles A. Cannon, who spoke at the Fairlawn meeting, said many attempts were made to make the non-tire division viable as part of the parent group, but nothing worked.
The EPG restructured several times, dues were lowered, new membership classes established, and the tire sector of the RMA covered the EPG's budget shortfall as the group's membership fell to 37 companies—23 rubber processors and 14 suppliers.
“We tried to roll in every way we could,” Cannon said. But in recent years, with the Firestone tire recall, the massive federal Transportation Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act and other tire-related issues, the tire sector has taken most of the RMA's attention.
While independent, the AARM will remain affiliated with the RMA. “We want to establish a robust relationship,” Cannon said, and coordinate on issues of common interest.