This feature is the fourth in a series profiling associations connected to the heavy equipment industry. These important associations are the collective voice of the people who manufacture, buy, sell, rent, and finance equipment, ensuring they have the resources they need and that their voice is heard.
Name: Associated Equipment Distributors (AED)
Year Founded: 1919
HQ: Oak Brook, IL in Chicago area
- Independent equipment distributors that sell, rent, and provide aftermarket support for construction equipment and related equipment and products
- Manufacturers of construction and related equipment and products
- Suppliers of business services, including finance, insurance, business systems/ERP and others
AED members distribute, rent and support equipment used in construction, mining, forestry, power generation, agriculture and industrial applications.
Membership Size: Approximately 500 distributor members in the U.S. and Canada
Though AED has an official belief statement published on its official website, Tuffwerx asked President and CEO Brian McGuire to summarize the association’s mission in his own words. He shared the following thoughts:
“AED is dedicated to assisting our members to become better and more successful through both the association and the AED Foundation’s training and educational offerings, advancing an aggressive public policy agenda that improves the overall business climate and promotes investment in infrastructure. We also are charged with promoting the equipment industry to the next generation of owners, leaders, technicians, manufacturers and educators. All of this is done while creating unique networking opportunities for all our members.”
AED Goals in 2014
In 2014, AED has significantly expanded the list of resources available to its membership, continuing to fulfill its mission to help members succeed.
Rather than relying on cookie cutter solutions, AED continues to calibrate services for its diverse membership. Several new member groups have been launched, including the Manufacturers Advisory Group and Advocacy Action Group, and there will soon be a Young Leaders Group and Under 30 Million Dealer Advisory Committee. Each of AED’s member groups focuses on a subset of equipment distributors and their unique needs.
A new resource for 2014 is the inaugural Ottawa Briefing in Canada’s capital. In partnership with NAEDA, AED is organizing this half-day conference to inform members about Canadian policy issues that impact their businesses.
As of this year, AED members also have access to a HR Help Desk service and a Call Counsel legal hotline, both free for members.
But AED’s resources are of no use if members aren’t informed about their existence. A recently hired team of regional managers will be connecting with AED members regularly to promote involvement and make sure members receive a return on their dues investment.
Structure and Member Benefits
AED is led by a Board of Directors, with board members based in locations across the United States and Canada. A group of at-large and regional directors represent the needs of their areas.
President and CEO Brian McGuire assumed his role in January 2014. Prior to his AED position, he ran the Technology and Manufacturing Association, a group comprised of just under 1,000 members based in Illinois. When Tuffwerx asked him what motivated him to join AED, he responded, “Who would not want to be involved with AED?”
“AED has a long history of providing excellent training and education to construction equipment dealers of all sizes, all brands of equipment and all locations. The organization is seen as one of the go-to voices for infrastructure issues on Capitol Hill and is increasing the role it plays in infrastructure issues in Canada. It also serves as the best forum for distributors to work collectively with manufactures to strengthen the construction equipment industry.”
Benefits to members revolve around carefully selected products, services and information meant to grow member’s companies. AED provides the following for its members:
- Education and career development
- Research on economic topics related to equipment distribution, including trends and performance benchmarks
- Networking events
- Public relations for the good of the industry
But those are just the major bullet points. AED provides a valuable resource with The AED Foundation, a repository of self-study courses and webinars on topics ranging from financial management to safety training, and everything in between.
Focus on Telematics and the Power of the Internet
The recession has caused AED members to have to do more with less, McGuire told Tuffwerx, but members have proven themselves to be “resilient and innovative.” Upgraded and new technology has allowed companies to increase their productivity despite scarce resources.
One area of technology AED is passionate about is telematics. This data allows equipment owners to increase efficiency and reduce overall costs. “Telematics is an area that many of our members are focusing on to help provide their customers with the next level of service,” McGuire stated. “As this technology standardizes, it is unlocking an enormous amount of new data that customers can use to help maintain equipment functioning at optimal performance levels, identify equipment use efficiencies and assist in job performance.
“AED is proud to be working with associations like AEMP, AEM and many others to educate and promote the dialogue between manufacturers, customers and dealers on the best uses of this technology.”
The rise of Internet use has also offered opportunities for AED to serve and communicate with members. Brian McGuire described to Tuffwerx how AED is harnessing the power of the Internet:
“As the world has moved online, AED has recognized that this platform is another great vehicle to deliver a return to our members. Each year the AED Foundation delivers multiple training webinars that our members use to train their teams on a long list of topics. We are also in the process of updating the content of all of our correspondence courses and transitioning them to an online/on demand format.
“AED has also started to focus on communicating with its members through social media like Twitter and Facebook. In November, we will launch a monthly online video magazine to update or members on association events and industry news. We are transitioning to a new and improved AMS that will allow members to quickly access their association profile to update, register for events and track past participation.
“We recognize that while the Internet is changing the way we interact with our members and how they interact with their customers, it is really an augmentation of what we have been doing. We remain committed to publishing our trade magazine, as well as posting it online, holding conferences and meetings that allow for personal networking and interaction.”
Future of AED
AED’s largest event is the AED Summit & Condex tradeshow, held each year in January or February. The next event is scheduled for February 10-13, 2015 in Orlando at the Marriott World Center.
AED hosts an impressive list of executive events, including The Washington Fly-In, the Ottawa Briefing, the AED Foundation Financial Symposium (designed for CFOs), the Leadership Academy (for future leaders) and the Executive Forum (for dealer principals).
Dozens of webinars and seminars are offered throughout the year for management in all departments of the equipment dealership.
Learn more at AEDnet.org.
Photos courtesy of AED and by TruckPR, Pascal Walschots and minnemom via Flickr CC.