This feature is the third 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: Independent Equipment Dealers Association (IEDA)
Year Founded: 2002
HQ: Victor, NY, southeast of Rochester
There are two categories of membership in IEDA. One category is open to independent equipment dealers (Standard membership). The association by-laws define an independent dealer as company who is not a main line dealer of CAT, Komatsu, Volvo, John Deere or Case.
The second membership category is open to companies that offer products or services to independent equipment dealers (Associate membership). Standard Members are encouraged to utilize these products and services, especially since they’re usually offered at a discount or with some type of incentive.
Membership Size: 137 Standard members and 32 Associate members globally
History has proven that there is strength in numbers. Though IEDA is a young association compared to others in the heavy equipment industry, it has attracted a global group of members from countries as diverse as Japan, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada who are now able to pool their resources and represent their interests collectively.
The association’s mission statement is:
The IEDA intends to promote free enterprise and entrepreneurialism through the advocacy of the Independent Equipment Dealer as the distribution method of choice.
IEDA places a heavy emphasis on promoting ethical standards among members, with a published Code of Ethics on their website and other mentions of acting ethically and professionally for the sustained health of the industry.
The association makes an important point within its Code of Ethics that is worth repeating here: “Unethical business practices foster ill-will between us and the customers we serve. This ill-will is directed not only towards a particular business, but towards the industry as a whole.”
IEDA stands out for its public emphasis on ethical practices. Tuffwerx applauds IEDA and its leadership for setting a high bar for its members, and thereby protecting the reputation of the equipment dealership industry.
IEDA Goals in 2014
When asked about how IEDA is fulfilling its mission in 2014, Executive Director Kristen Williams pointed to the association’s membership process and emphasized IEDA’s ethical standards. She told Tuffwerx, “Membership in the IEDA is a stamp of approval. Every member in the IEDA, both Standard and Associate, has been vetted and evaluated before membership is granted. Each year, every IEDA member is reviewed to ensure they are meeting the standards set by the organization.”
IEDA also keeps an eye on legislative and regulatory issues that impact its members. Williams shared the most important issue on the minds of IEDA leaders and members right now: “Currently, the Section 179 Depreciation Limits being restored to its original limits of $25,000 in 2014 is a concern for many of our member dealers. We are encouraging our members to educate themselves about this topic and to speak to their congressman about this policy that directly affects their small businesses.”
Focus on Online Equipment Sales
Recognizing a wide trend toward purchasing heavy equipment online, IEDA expanded in 2014 with a new resource called IEDAUSED.com. IEDAUSED.com is an inventory management site where buyers can view IEDA member inventory in one location online. The site is helping IEDA members to keep pace with buyer trends. “Most of our members use a third party site to sell their equipment, including IEDAUSED.com,” Williams told Tuffwerx.
But with a sizable shift toward online equipment purchases come challenges for buyers. “One of the biggest risks involved in purchasing equipment online is the equipment is bought sight unseen,” explained Williams. “Used equipment is typically sold ‘as is’ and therefore it is important to buy from a credible source. As long as the seller is reputable and provides critical product information such as inspection reports and can be easily contacted, the buyer should be able to make an informed purchasing decision without the need for an onsite, physical inspection.”
Structure and Member Benefits
Since its founding as a non-profit trade association in 2002, IEDA has been led by a Board of Directors. The current board is composed of leaders from around the country, as well as one from Saskatchewan, Canada.
Benefits to members include:
- Inventory management tool, IEDAUSED.com
- An online forum where members can network
- Listings in IEDA’s print and online directories
- Standardized equipment inspection reports
- Discounts and incentives from Associate Members and UPS
- Access to IEDA’s annual meeting, sporting events, meet and greets and pre-auction gatherings
A more intangible benefit to IEDA membership is that members don’t need to waste time and money recreating the wheel. By tapping into the immense collection of knowledge and experience available through networking, members can learn from one another’s successes, mistakes and innovations to grow their businesses.
Future of IEDA
IEDA’s membership base has grown about 30% in 2014 already. The association expects to grow to 200 members by its 2015 Annual Meeting & Expo in Orlando.
The IEDA Annual Meeting & Expo is a four-day event of “networking, discussion, education and good old-fashioned fun!” Williams said as she excitedly described what attendees can expect in 2015. “The ‘Expo’ piece is a new addition in 2015 to showcase the IEDA Associate Membership. The Expo is open to those individuals who are registered to attend the Annual Meeting. Our members do like to mix business with pleasure, so you may catch a few of them golfing, racing go-carts or out fishing when not attending one of our scheduled educational seminars.”
IEDA also hosts Meet & Greet events around the country every month, open to members and non-members by invitation. These events are intended to give members, industry leaders and invited guests the opportunity to network and share information in an informal, relaxed setting.
The IEDA Orlando Meet & Greet on February 17, 2014 is open to current members and anyone interested in joining the association. OEM dealers, contractors, potential members and Associate members are all welcome.
IEDA plans to continue expanding IEDAUSED.com and its used throughout the rest of this year. Their goal is to assist every member in getting their equipment listed on the site.
Learn more at IEDAGroup.com.