INDIANAPOLIS—The Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers is building its brand one member at a time.
"Our goal is to infiltrate the industry," said Executive Director Troy Nix, also president of First Resource Inc. "Ultimately we want ARPM to be the household name, and the vision basically says the reason is because we help to make the executives running those companies better."
When it split from the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the group intended to craft an organization that better suited the needs of smaller businesses, specifically those in the non-tire sector. The ARPM seeks to bring more day-to-day value to members through networking, leveraging for discounts on supplies and weekly webinars to provide training for senior leaders of its member company.
"We look at ourselves as being more in the trenches than the RMA," Nix said. "We look at the RMA as having the bigger picture in mind. We're in the trenches day-by-day trying to help members get done what they need to get done."
Their vision did not include a presence in Washington, which the RMA has. Some members who split from the RMA did not think it was cost-effective.
"The pricing for RMA was higher," said Regan McHale, president of Eagle Elastomer Inc., and a member of the ARPM board of directors. "We were paying for people in Washington."
Everything the ARPM wants to accomplish starts with growth. The company launched with zero members. By January 2011—three months after the Elastomer Products Group officially had split from the RMA—it had 12.
On Aug. 28, the ARPM accepted its 50th member, Basic Rubber & Plastics Co., from Walled Lake, Mich. The company is the ARPM's 14th addition in 2013, exceeding the goal of 10 set by its board of directors.
"Growing memberships provide a value-proposition that's attractive to people," said Charlie Braun, president of Custom Rubber Corp., and an ARPM director. "That's really the main measure for the bulk of us who started out. The main challenge and objective was to create something that could grow in membership, and I think we've been very successful in that."