The value of trade associations
Trade associations have been characterised as groups of salespeople in shiny suits running around individually selling their own products in a group or sitting behind closed doors working out why other countries are doing better. The British Aviation Group, fondly known as BAG by its members, has a different approach and in this short article I’ll explain why.
People kid themselves that the one stop shop is the best solution; the best solution is the best team.
BAG comprises the leading companies in the sector with a UK workforce and has been in existence for 15 years as the primary UK trade association in the sector. It operates as a subsidiary of ADS, the primary UK trade association for Aerospace, Defence and Security. BAG is fully accredited by the British Government as a UKTI Trade Challenge Partner for the aviation sector for delivery relationships across the Tradeshow Access Programme at events and missions and as a sector partner to cover new areas of activity. What this means is that from our knowledge and expertise we lead a multitude of events around the world and in the UK, providing advantages to our members over our competitors.
However, that is not all that we do. We have found that much of the value of membership is the networking between members. Networking happens at a range of levels including special interest groups where like-minded people meet with guest speakers to discuss current matters and opportunities. Networking across the supply chain is particularly attractive as UK consultants have the strongest collective global track record and capability so linking up consultants, UK suppliers and contractors at members’ days, missions and other events provides huge mutual benefits. A two-way collaboration with suppliers makes a lot of sense for consultants who get to know the latest equipment, systems and research outputs as well as the supply chain for new development opportunities.
The third benefit is the development of collaboration and trust between members that would either not get to know each other or alternatively see each other as natural competitors. Whilst the overwhelming strengths of UK consultancies means that there is often a dominance of UK companies on tender shortlists, the teaming up of major consultancies can provide not just an unassailable proposition, but also what the customer actually wants. People kid themselves that the one stop shop is the best solution; the best solution is the best team.
We do this by having a strong and actively engaged board of sixteen leaders from across the membership, including a chairman and two deputies supported by a full time team lead by David Scotter and Bettina Rigg. I’m privileged to be serving as Chairman for these two years and I am pleased to have AERTEC Solutions as a new member to build their UK base.
Chairman, British Aviation Group