The 2019 Trailer Safety Week (TSW) went off without a hitch June 2-8,2019. This national awareness campaign, which aims to educate end-users on trailer safety including safe towing practices and maintenance, saw incredible growth in its second year.
Trailer Safety Week 2019 was a success thanks to onsite event hosts Lane Trailer Mfg. Co. and Midsota Manufacturing, the many TSW Allies and the hard work of the NATM staff.
The week featured two successful events at Lane Trailer Mfg. Co. in Boone, IA and Midsota Manufacturing in Albany, MN on June 7. Attendees included consumers, trailer dealers, government officials, state troopers and DOT representatives. Both events featured U-Haul’s trailer demonstrator, an interactive module wherein a car, towing a trailer on an elevated treadmill track is loaded with weights to show the dangers of improper loading and trailer sway.
Lane Trailer focused its efforts on reaching out to the local university, Iowa State. All trailers used by Iowa State undergo annual DOT inspections done through Lane Trailer. In working with the grounds keeping crew using those trailers and local clubs, Lane utilized the event to teach both university employees and students about safe trailering practices.
Representatives from Iowa State University were very interested in the trailer safety resources available, like NATM’s Towing Safety brochures. These materials complimented presentations by Colin Holthaus, NATM Technical Director, and Lane Trailer. Lane brought a trailer into the showroom for the presentation, pointing out safety features and allowing for attendees to ask questions using the actual trailer for demonstration.
NATM Technical Director Colin Holthaus, thrilled with event turnout, said “it was great to see the local community at Iowa State turnout for this event. This was a new population of attendees, everyday trailer users, and it was great to be able to spread trailer safety awareness. It was also neat to talk directly to consumers about the work my compliance team and NATM does by partnering with companies like Lane Trailers in helping companies build compliant, safe trailers. NATM and our members work really hard at trailer safety and to see that paying off in discussions with end-users was great to experience.”
“As a company, we are committed to safety in our facility and for the trailers we manufacture,” said Midsota co-owner and NATM Board Member Joel Bauer. “We thought it is essential we get on board with the national event to promote trailer safety.”
Midsota’s event was a huge success and featured local and national legislators and staff. Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-6) spoke of the importance of safety and recognized that trailering is not simply loading, hitching and taking off but executing safe trailering practices correctly. The impact of compliant trailers and safe towing practices is not limited to the trailer owner.
“It’s not only the $50,000 investment in the motorcycle or the load on the trailer– it’s everyone on the road,” said Congressman Emmer. Emmer previously toured the Midsota facility in May of 2018 after the company was named St. Cloud Area Small Business Owners of the Year.
Newly-elected State Representative Lisa Demuth of Minnesota’s District 13A also spoke to attendees about the important role that companies such as Midsota play on the local economy. Eric Sundby of the Minnesota State Patrol gave a highly popular and well received presentation on what is looked for during a DOT trailer inspection and driver CDL requirements followed by a Q&A session.
Midsota co-owner Joel Bauer and NATM Executive Director Kendra Ansley gave presentations about the company’s and NATM’s dedication to trailer safety and audience made up of end-users, business owners, trailer dealers, and members of the local community were directed to various safety resources including those housed on NATM’s TrailerSafetyWeek.com website.
After the presentations, Midsota gave plant tours of the facility and served lunch. Multiple informational tables were set up for attendees including U-Haul with their popular Trailer Demonstrator; Lippert Axles; NTI Tires; NATM and Midsota.
In addition to the two onsite Trailer Safety Events hosted by NATM trailer manufacturing members, Trailer Safety Week saw enormous growth with online participation. Trailer Safety Week Allies utilized the TSW Communications Kit which is full of pre-crafted marketing materials to effectively communicate the importance of trailer safety. Allies played an important role in helping generate awareness and drive traffic to TrailerSafetyWeek.com. TSW Allies ranged from police departments and insurance companies to trailer manufacturers, suppliers and dealers as well as various companies in the transportation industry.
Through the #TrailerSafetyWeek social media campaign, and with the help of more than 150 TSW Allies, the importance of safe trailering reached thousands across several social media channels. Countless social media posts were created and shared on Facebook in hopes to better educate end-users on important safety measures to take when trailering. In addition to this, NATM created several #TrailerTipOfTheDay informative videos featuring the NATM Compliance Team. These videos featured trailering tips every trailer user should know and reached over 16,000 people on Facebook alone. You can view these videos on NATM's Facebook page. TSW Allies’ efforts led nearly 500 new visitors to TrailerSafetyWeek.com throughout the week—a testament to the impact Allies have on generating safe trailering awareness.
Trailer Safety Week has continued to be a step in the right direction for the trailer industry. With the support of event hosts, an effective social media campaign, countless TSW Allies and coverage in several news publications, this safety awareness campaign allowed safe trailering to become more visible to the general public.
“The National Trailer Safety Week was once again a huge success thanks to the support of NATM members across the country,” said NATM Executive Director Kendra Ansley. “NATM is already looking for new ways to further expand the reach of our efforts next year. Various companies in the trailer industry are regularly contacting the Association to learn more about participating and the staff is using this momentum and excitement to begin planning for next year’s Trailer Safety Week that will be held June 7-13, 2020. We are encouraging all types of members to participate as much as they would like. Suppliers and trailer manufacturers can share the event’s logo and resources as Trailer Safety Week Allies, or even host an event.”
Those interested in joining this trailer safety movement can find more information at https://www.trailersafetyweek.com/interest or by contacting the TSW team at TrailerSafetyWeek@natm.com.
The NATM Board of Directors said farewell to two members seeking opportunities outside of trailer manufacturing and welcomed Lyle Berning of Novae Corp. and Serena Moran of Sun Country Trailers to fill the open positions with the terms ending in February of 2021. With expansive histories in many capacities in trailer manufacturing, Berning and Moran promise to bring new insights and experience as the Board continues its work. To learn more about the newest members of the Board, click here.
Lyle Berning is Corporate Product Manager for Novae Corp., a company that builds open utility, dump, enclosed cargo, and deckover trailers. With positions such as engineering manager, buyer, plant manager, national account sales, and warranty manager under his belt, Berning brings vast professional, technical, and business experience to the NATM Board of Directors. Lyle serves as the Chair of the NATM Guidelines committee.
Serena Moran is owner and Vice President of Sales and Operations for Sun Country Trailers/Playcraft Trailers, builder of utility, watercraft, equipment, car hauler, and dump trailers. An NATM member company since 2014, Moran currently serves on the NATM Strategic Plan Steering Committee. When asked why she would be a good fit for the board, Moran answered, “I have passion for what I do and care about the industry’s future. Safety is first for me and I feel that based on my experiences from starting my business from zero to (several) million in revenue, I can help others from what I have been able to learn and experience along the way.”
The NATM Board welcomes Berning and Moran and is looking forward to their input and expertise as they continue overseeing the work of the Association
Retaining good employees is vital to your success, especially in today’s tight labor market. Not only does turnover impact your bottom line in tangible ways, it has other consequences which also impact your bottom line in the form of productivity, safety and quality. The true cost of turnover has been argued for years. A basic assumption that will put it in perspective is that it cost you 1 ½ times an employee’s annual salary when they decide to leave your organization. If your turnover rate is high, these costs can add up quickly. Keep in mind that not all turnover is bad turnover. There are some employees that may be hurting your organization more than they’re helping.
There are several key areas where you can make a difference when it comes to turnover:
Most people assume money is the prime motivation for staying at an organization; however, statistically speaking, only 12% of employees that leave your organization leave for more money. Although it’s important to be competitive, there are many other things you can do than offer more money.
Let’s start at the beginning. How are your interviewing and selection skills? How about the interviewing and selection skills of your manager? Too often, we are rushed to get a warm body to fill a position that may otherwise go vacant when the previous incumbent leaves. We don’t take the time to make sure that the person we select to fill that position is a good fit for our organization. Consider that organizations have a tendency to hire on skills such as work experience, education and training; but they actually fire employees based on behavior such as not showing up for work, having a bad attitude and the inability to work with a team. Review your hiring systems and make sure interviewers are conducting behavior-based interviews. We need to hire based on behavior because we can typically train for skill but we can’t train someone to have a good work ethic.
Once the right employees are on board, it’s important to invest in them. From the beginning, give them an emotional connection to the organization. During their first days on the job, tell them how the organization was developed or created and why the work they do everyday matters. Put together a well-developed presentation that shows them you care about the message they receive on their very first day. Tell them the history of the organization. Outline all the important policies from the handbook. Tell them who to go to with certain questions or issues. Give an introduction to each of the benefits you offer. Employees often have a lot of questions about their benefits but are too afraid to ask. Give them the opportunity at the very beginning as they’re signing up for their benefits. Develop a one-page quick guide to the benefits offered by the organization but don’t let that be a substitute for your explanation of these benefits. On their first day, have a thought-out plan or agenda that includes the presentation, a tour of the building and any important areas like the break room or cafeteria and lunch with the boss or co-workers. Make sure they feel welcome.
Now that you’ve set the tone, keep it going by showing them you care about the work environment. Above all, make sure your managers are trained on how you want employees to be treated. Too often we make the mistake of promoting someone into a management position that was good at doing the work. Most often the skills to do the work and the skills to manage people are very different but we fail to set them up for success by teaching them how to coach, lead, motivate and most importantly stop behavior that leads to legal issues for the organization. You should have a full management training program for anyone in a management position. Even with prior management experience, you want to make sure they follow the basic principles and values of the organization as they manage your employees. The number one reason employees leave a position is the relationship with their direct supervisor.
It's also vital that everyone in your organization is holding employees accountable for their behavior. Star employees are often demotivated when they realize that employees with less than desirable performance are allowed to continue that performance while your star employee is going above and beyond without being differentiated from poor performers. Managers need to understand how to have difficult conversations with employees and when those conversations should result in a tangible consequence or discipline.
When we talk about the work environment, we mean culture. Culture is not something that organizations typically define. It is typically developed over time through leadership behaviors and overall communication (either from managers to employees or among co-workers). What things do you celebrate as an organization (if anything)? What do you reward employees for doing? How do you reward them? Other ideas to help with your overall culture include:
As you can see, there are many things you can do to impact employee retention. None of them will be easy. If you treat it like a task to check off your list, you will not make a difference with your implementation. These changes take time and diligence. Make sure you set goals for each potential project and give it the time and attention it deserves.
About the Author:
Tracey Goold is the Director, Human Resources Consulting at Marsh & McLennan Agency, an insurance brokerage specializing in property & casualty, employee benefits and personal insurance. She assists clients in implementing and maintaining solid Human Resource policies and practices including employee relations, performance management, compensation design, employee and management training, employment law compliance and managerial coaching.
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The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released the much awaited exclusion process for Section 301 List 3 tariffs on June 20th. The process will require requestors to use USTR’s exclusion web portal, a new portal intended to be easier for users than the portal used for List 1 and 2 processes. However, the new portal is not yet open with its released scheduled for 12:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 30th.
The instructions for the new process, found here, will allow parties to request exclusion from List 3 products which comprise more than $200 billion worth of goods. The tariff rate for these goods escalated to 25% in March.
The process itself is similar to the process set in place for List 1 and List 2, with some notable differences. For example, companies will have an opportunity to explain the impact of previous Section 301 tariffs on their business and a question has been added for companies to indicate whether they meet the standard to be classified as a small business in accordance with the Small Business Administration definition.
The deadline for and exclusion request is September 30, 2019. One a request has been filed, interested parties have 14 days to submit comments, either in support or opposition. A timeline has also been established for responses to comments. Because all of the comment windows are short, interested parties should be actively monitoring requests to ensure their ability to respond in outlined windows.
Currently, USTR is expecting 60,000 requests to be submitted. No timeline for decision making has been provided, rather USTR has indicated periodic announcements to requests will be made.
NATM continuously aims to provide exceptional membership services and benefits. One way the Association attempts to do this is by conducting a membership survey to both trailer manufacturer and supplier members upon their 18-month association membership anniversary. The goal is to better understand the current climate of the industry, and tailor educational events around these focus areas.
There are several common themes that have surfaced in recent months when asked about challenges or barriers that members are experiencing:
This summer, NATM has rebranded the NATM Regional Educational Workshops as the Workforce Development Summit. Using this member feedback, NATM is excited to announce two workshops for Fall of 2019.
Special thanks to the Workforce Development Summit sponsor: