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.
NATM prides itself as an association with a loyal membership, and thus far, the 2020 renewal period is proving just that. As of March 19th, 88% of companies have renewed their membership for the coming year. Thank you to all NATM members for your continuous demonstrated commitment to trailer safety and the overall success of the industry. Your annual recommitment is what makes it possible for the Association to achieve its mission while also adding new member benefits. NATM is constantly evaluating costs and benefits to ensure your annual membership investment is being met with valuable returns.
NATM’s commitment is to its members and ultimately to trailer safety. Supporting NATM members’ ability to grow and prosper, while also contributing to the safety of the nation’s roadways is what drives the Association’s work. Your support of this mission and your integral feedback along the way is vital to NATM’s success. NATM looks forward to continuing this important work for the remainder of the year!
To renew your membership, contact NATM Membership & Events Director Kelli Maydew at Kelli.Maydew@natm.com.
As of January 31, 2020, all unpaid NATM memberships are considered past due. Any dues not yet received are considered delinquent and all membership benefits have been terminated until paid per the NATM Bylaws.
Membership renewals for 2020 have been mailed, and the main contact for your company has received several email notices as well. If you would like to confirm who your main contact is, please contact NATM Membership & Events Director Kelli Maydew or call NATM at (785) 272-4433. You can also log into the Members Only portal of www.NATM.com and select the “Update Your Contact Information” link to make edits instantly to this information.
In addition to paying your membership dues by check or over the phone by credit card, you are also able to pay online using the Members Only portal at www.NATM.com. Once you are logged in using your company’s login credentials, select “Pay My Bills.” If you need your credentials, or have any questions during this process, please contact NATM Membership & Events Director Kelli Maydew.
NATM is committed to improving the compliance verification program, delivering safety education and information, increasing consumer awareness about the importance of buying compliant trailers, providing opportunities for member input, and continuing to develop relationships with key decision makers on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies to advocate for industry needs.
NATM, the Board of Directors, committees, and staff are working diligently to provide more value to members, and we look forward to working with you in 2020. We sincerely hope that you will allow us to continue to serve your needs and provide value to your organization.
If you are unsure if your company’s dues have been paid, please contact Kelli Maydew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of Trailer Safety Week (TSW) is to improve the safety of the nation’s roadways by raising trailer safety awareness through education of end-users, dealers, and manufacturers on safe trailering practices. Held the first week of June every year, Trailer Safety Week reaches over 60,000 individuals annually and is the first nationwide traffic safety initiative aimed at addressing safe towing practices for light- and medium-duty trailers. NATM has developed content and resources in furtherance of this mission, all available through www.TrailerSafteyWeek.com.
Heading into the third annual Trailer Safety Week June 7-13, 2020, NATM is excited to announce new opportunities for engagement from industry members and peer organizations. For the awareness campaign to expand its reach and effectively improve roadway safety, Trailer Safety Week depends on extraordinary supporters who go above and beyond to reach their industry contacts and end-users. Further, to continue expanding the educational resources available to end-users, NATM is looking to partner with experts and other key stakeholders in towing and traffic safety.
As the Association commits itself to expansion, two new programs were created for industry organizations that would like to join NATM and its TSW Allies in improving trailer safety: TSW Champions and TSW Partnerships.
NATM created the Trailer Safety Week Champion program to highlight companies whose support of TSW exceeds that of a Trailer Safety Week Ally (TSW Ally). As such, the company will earn greater promotional opportunities. While Trailer Safety Week includes Allies across the country, Trailer Safety Week Champions are those who fulfill the following requirements and receive the benefits listed below. Champions will support efforts in four specific ways:
Upon successful completion of these items (verification requirements must be met), the organization will enjoy the following benefits:
The next level of involvement is TSW Partnerships. The Trailer Safety Week Partnership program was established to recognize companies, groups, and agencies who support the mission of Trailer Safety Week through content development and resource sharing. Partnerships require more significant commitment in terms of educational content creation and the sharing of content and must conform to specific standards and requirements.
Organizations interested in the TSW Champion program can learn more and sign up online at www.TrailerSafetyWeek.com. Organizations interested in the TSW Partnership program are encouraged to reach out to NATM Executive Director Kendra Ansley at Kendra.Ansley@natm.com or (785) 272-4433.
In December, the NATM Executive Committee met in person at NATM Headquarters to set the 2020 committee goals and choose committee members. Using the results of interest indicators sent to all NATM members in November, members were selected for each committee. Taking into account the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan and NATM’s Mission, the Executive Committee diligently thought through what each committee could do to help raise the Association to new heights. For more information about becoming more involved in NATM through committee participation, contact NATM Executive Director Kendra Ansley at Kendra.Ansley@natm.com or call (785) 272-4433.
The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), known as the resource for safety and compliance for the light- and medium-duty trailer industry, has published the 2019 edition of the Guidelines. This massive document takes the guesswork out of meeting federal requirements governing the manufacture of trailers under 26,000 lbs GVWR and is a benefit of NATM membership.
Building trailers to meet the standards outlined in the NATM Guidelines is not optional. It is required by law and enforced by law enforcement every day on the nation’s roadways. But it can be very time-intensive for trailer manufacturers to research the numerous federal rules, regulations, standards, and accepted industry practices that govern trailer construction.
NATM addresses this by compiling the Guidelines for Recommended Manufacturing Practices for Light- and Medium-Duty Trailers. The document consists of over 400 pages of laws, regulations, rules, standards, and industry best practices. This information is gathered from resources such as the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, the Traffic Safety Administration, the Maintenance Council and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association amongst others. The Guidelines is updated annually by industry experts that stay abreast of changing regulations and vet the addition of recommendations and best practices.
This year through the annual revision process, the 2019 version of the NATM Guidelines received several updates. As part of the effort to help members achieve success, the NATM Compliance Team heavily updated the Compliance Quick Guide, which features a succinct synopsis of compliance requirements. This quick, to the point resource helps members get the information they need to make the change and move on to the next task.
Members report substantial time savings by utilizing the Guidelines, particularly on the topics of lighting and reflectors, VIN and data plates, calculating gross vehicle weight ratings, and state brake requirements. While the Guidelines focus on U.S. regulations, many may have an interest in Canadian compliance. For more information, visit Transport Canada’s website at www.tc.gc.ca/en/transport-canada.html
In recent years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has increased its enforcement activity concerning the compliance of motor vehicle manufacturers – including trailer manufacturers. NHTSA has placed particular concern on meeting Defect Investigations and Record Retention Requirements. 49 CFR 579.5, which requires manufacturers to submit to NHTSA copies of communications such as notices and technical service bulletins to dealers, owners or purchasers of their vehicles, is only one of the many requirements outlined in NATM’s Guidelines.
NATM assists its trailer manufacturing members in avoiding costly fines and decreasing liability related to trailer compliance through the NATM Compliance Verification Program (CVP). The NATM CVP is an unbiased, third-party audit of the trailer manufacturing process and uses the Guidelines as the backbone for the program. The CVP provides biennial on-site consultations to trailer manufacturers, and technical assistance throughout the entire process to ensure companies are manufacturing trailers consistent with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and other industry best practices.
Once a trailer manufacturer has successfully passed the Compliance Verification Program, the company is able to purchase NATM Decals and market their company’s dedication to fulfilling their safety requirements by participating in an unbiased, third-party audit of their trailers. While participation in the NATM Compliance Verification Program is an additional, voluntary cost for manufacturers, there are economic benefits of participation.
“The first-year sales saw a 20 percent boost and blew past the forecast over three years for the sales improvements for revenue targets for the existing trailer product. We will continue to use up the [NATM] labels we have in stock, and then order more,” said Pete Dixon, Engineer at Karcher North America, Inc. regarding the benefit of being a member of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers.
For more information about how the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers can assist your trailer manufacturing company, visit www.NATM.com, email NATMHQ@natm.com, or call (785) 272-4433.
Membership renewal forms were mailed and emailed to NATM members this November. In order to avoid a membership lapse, 2020 dues are to be paid by January 31, 2020. Per NATM Bylaws, all membership benefits will be suspended beginning Feb. 1 for any member with unpaid dues.
For Trade Show Exhibitors, it is important to note that NATM DUES MUST BE PAID BY DECEMBER 31st, 2019 to maintain the member rate for booths at the February 2020 Convention & Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV.
Membership dues will again go unchanged in 2020. Rates are $795 for Associate (Supplier) members, $135 for Associate Branch members, $925 for Regular and International Regular (Trailer Manufacturer) members and $300 for Regular Branch members. If you joined between February and October of 2019, your 2020 dues are prorated accordingly.
NATM greatly values your membership and 2020 promises to be another fantastic year to be a NATM member. You can pay by check, over the phone, or online. The NATM website has a “Members Only” section where members are able to sign in and pay dues at any time.
If you have questions, including username and password information for the “Members Only” site, please contact NATM Member Services Coordinator Kathy Johnson at (785) 272-4433 or Kathy.Johnson@natm.com.