As COVID-19 continues to spread, the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) has been monitoring the situation closely. The cornerstone of NATM’s mission is safety, and the Association takes the safety of its employees, members, and the many citizens impacted by its work very seriously. On March 13, 2020, NATM suspended travel for its employees, but is now allowing limited travel to member facilities within driving distance. In monitoring the recommendations of public health officials, the Centers for Disease Control, and OSHA amongst many resources, NATM feels it is prudent at this time to continue to implement precautions to protect its team and those who come in contact with them throughout the course of their daily lives.
At this time, the impact of these precautions is mostly on the NATM Compliance Verification Program’s onsite consultations. NATM and its compliance consultants have transitioned to either entirely remote or a hybrid remote-onsite consultations with members whose compliance certifications are set to expire in the near future and with new members.
NATM was well-positioned for this change with the recent transition to electronic checklists and a history of completing international member consultations mostly through a remote process. However, there are still many hurdles for both consultants and members to overcome in order to complete the thorough consultation NATM members have come to expect. The two main challenges being encountered and the ways to mitigate those are:
Contacting Members – Most, if not all, members have seen their work environment and processes drastically changed and their workload increase as a result. Many members have reported an increasing volume of email communications as well as a workforce shortage and order backlogs which often results in being away from email or phones for extended periods of time. Together, these challenges have created significant delays in responsiveness as consultations are scheduled via email. NATM understands the mounting pressures members are facing and are working to find ways to increase flexibility as members cope and adapt. For example, if a member’s business has been shut down due to COVID-19, NATM would not expect a consultation immediately. As a company’s expiration date draws near, members are encouraged to keep an eye out and respond promptly to consultant scheduling attempted to prevent any gaps in compliance or issues filling decal orders.
Providing Evidence for Consultation – Under normal conditions, NATM consultants typically view all checklist items in-person during onsite consultations. These items range from tire recordkeeping to the lens coding on tail lamps. The work for the most part is left to the NATM Consultant through the onsite inspection process. The challenge then is ensuring a thorough inspection of these items while completing the consultation remotely, which means requesting more effort and support from members through the process.
There are currently two options to address the challenge of providing evidence to meet the NATM Compliance Verification Program requirements: hybrid remote-onsite consultations and entirely remote consultations.
Hybrid Remote-Onsite Consultations
The ideal consultation procedure at this time is the utilization of the hybrid remote-onsite method. In this method, a consultant will travel to your facility to view the physical trailers in an outdoor location. The member is invited to be present, but not required, and must follow the same guidelines as the consultant (face mask, distancing, etc. as outlined in NATM communications during the scheduling process). Likewise, the consultant will follow any protocol as required by the member company, such as temperature screenings and medical questionnaires.
Onsite Inspection – The in-person inspection will cover all physical aspects of the trailer, including, but not limited to, lamps, reflectors, capacities, etc. These are the items most challenging to verify remotely. Verifying these critical checklist items in-person allows a more thorough and quality consultation for members.
Another deviation from previous methods is that of scheduling. Consultants will schedule for a.m. or p.m., during business hours, rather than a specific time. This flexibility will allow consultants to move from site to site without delay while also giving each location the time needed for a thorough and complete inspection. This structure also allows consultants to complete more consultations in a shorter amount of time, decreasing both travel expenses (hotels, meals, fuel, etc.) and risk of exposure to COVID-19. Please note that not all members will qualify for this consultation method due to travel restrictions. At the time of this publication, NATM Consultants are not able to travel internationally, to a state with an active stay at home order, or any state identified by the Kansas Department of Health as “high risk”.
Remote Inspection – To finish the consultation, all other items not completed during the onsite inspection will be covered during a remote second meeting. This includes questions directly relating to the consultation, informational items, and a review of any issues found during the onsite inspection. These items have historically been completed in an indoor office, in a face-to-face environment that would violate today’s CDC guidelines relating to COVID-19. Some of these questions may still require the member to provide documents and/or pictures such as proof of tire recordkeeping, Manufacturer Certificate of Origin (MCO) verification, etc. NATM Consultants will set up an online meeting through several different providers such as Zoom or GoToMeeting.
Entirely Remote Inspection
Again, NATM Consultants can set up an online meeting through several different providers such as Zoom or GoToMeeting. During this meeting, the member will have two ways to transmit the required evidence to the consultant. The member may use their smartphone or tablet to show the consultant all items via live video. The member may also send pictures documenting each item though this may require a large number of pictures to be transferred. It is possible to conduct the consultation using a mixture of these methods. A common occurrence is for a member to send pictures of documents and recordkeeping, but perform the actual trailer inspection via live video.
It is important to note, at this time, all members will be allowed to select a remote consultation if an onsite inspection violates company safety standards in relation to COVID-19. NATM will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with members as the situation changes. You can expect to receive the same benefits and services you have come to know and rely on with adaptations intended to protect everyone.
If you have any questions about your consultation, your expiration date, or questions about the NATM Compliance Verification Program, contact Technical Director Terry Jones by texting or calling (620) 381-8040 or by emailing him at
One year ago, NATM announced the launch of its Dealer Affiliate Program. The Association has been committed to the light- and medium-duty trailer industry for more than 30 years, with its focus on the manufacturing of compliant trailers. The extension to include trailer dealers as affiliates was a natural next step in the evolution of NATM’s expanding trailer safety efforts.
NATM Dealer Affiliate Program
Trailer dealers serve as the main point of contact during the sales process of many NATM compliant trailers. This group is also a key stakeholder in the fight to improve trailer safety as it is in their best interest that their customers are safe and happy with their purchase. As a result, NATM created the NATM Dealer Affiliate Program.
Increasing end-user awareness of the importance of the NATM Compliance Verification Program has consistently ranked as a top priority for trailer manufacturing members. By bringing trailer dealers in as affiliates, NATM is better able to serve its membership by directly communicating about the importance of purchasing NATM compliant trailers.
The NATM Dealer Affiliation is $150 and affiliates experience a host of benefits, with an emphasis on education and resource access. The following list includes current Dealer Affiliate benefits:
Samples of NATM publications:
More details about the program can be found at www.natm.com/dealers.html. Have ideas for additional benefits? Contact NATM Membership & Events Director Kelli Maydew at Kelli.Maydew@natm.com or call (785) 272-4433.
Dealers Invited to NATM Convention!
For the first time in NATM history, the Association is excited to invite trailer dealers to the 33rd Annual NATM Convention & Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn. Feb. 23-25, 2021! Dealer attendees will have the opportunity to participate in all workshops and technical forums, along with dealer-centered educational sessions. Plan to attend the trade show, which will house 298 booths! Special networking events will provide the opportunity to mingle with fellow industry peers, NATM Board Members and staff, and trailer manufacturers while in Music City.
NATM will be offering a “New Dealer Promotion!” Companies can sign up for NATM’s Dealer Affiliate Program for just $150 and are then eligible for two complimentary registrations and two free hotel room nights while available! Non-affiliate dealers can register to attend for $300.
2021 Convention & Trade Show
NATM is excited to be using Map Your Show’s online booth sales software again for the NATM Convention & Trade Show in Nashville Feb. 23-35, 2021. This program has proven to be a time saving and far less frustrating process for exhibitors. There is no more waiting around until your contract arrives to see what booth you have been assigned. This user-friendly software will allow you to select your desired booth in real-time! The opportunity to select exhibitor space at the 2021 trade show has been made available to suppliers and service providers in the following phases:
Phase 1: 2020 sponsors choose their booths first during the following dates:
Phase 2: 2020 non-sponsor exhibitors select their booths during the following dates:
Phase 3: The general membership and non-members will be allowed to choose booth space:
The 2020 sponsors and exhibitors that sign up by September 13 will receive a discounted rate of $1,228 per 10’x10’ booth. The rate for any member that signs up for booth space after September 13 will be $1,428 per 10’x10’ booth. Booth spaces for non-members of NATM are $2,856.
On the day your booth selection window opens, you will receive an email from NATM notifying you that the booth sales application is now available online for your company. Within this email a unique code is provided that, when entered, pre-populates the online booth sales application. Within the app, exhibitors can view the 2021 show floorplan and select the desired booth(s).
During the completion of the online application, exhibitors pay for their booth(s) with credit card. Once NATM show management approves the application, an email containing login credentials to the exhibitor dashboard is sent. The dashboard allows exhibitors to update their company profile and contact information and view other important information relevant to the upcoming show. As always, the sign up for booth space is first-come, first-served. You can sign up at any time after your group’s window begins. If you miss the window for your group, the privilege of choice during your group’s time is lost. Be sure to mark your calendar to remember to sign up as soon as you receive your email from NATM!
If you have any questions regarding how to book your exhibit space or if you would like to be a sponsor at the 2021 Convention & Trade Show, contact NATM Membership & Events Director, Kelli Maydew at Kelli.Maydew@natm.com or (785) 272-4433.