Collaboration is key to growth – that’s the message from FBHTM and BHETA following their new alliance, which is to benefit members from both associations…
Just prior to Christmas, The Federation of British Hand Tool Manufacturers (FBHTM) announced it was joining The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA), effective from 1 January. Torque was interested to explore the mutual benefits for both organisations and talked to FBHTM President, Jonathan Collier of Monument Tools and BHETA’s Executive Chairman, Andrew Weiss.
Weiss’ comment that “one plus one can equal three” seems to sum up the sense of mutual possibility that the FBHTM / BHETA alliance aims to provide for members. As Collier explains: “I think there is an appetite for growth from current and former FBHTM members who see this move as an opportunity to re-engage. With Monument Tools having been part of BHETA for ten years, I can certainly confirm that it has helped grow our business, by finding new and untapped opportunities. Growing Federation membership has not been easy as a relatively small group of companies, but through some successful collaborative projects with BHETA, we should see new members wanting to join as they see FBHTM and BHETA together delivering best practice.”
FBHTM will remain as a separate entity under the leadership of Jonathan Collier’s Presidency and Collier will sit on the BHETA board of directors. BHETA will effectively act as a secretariat for the Federation and all existing members will become members of BHETA and enjoy all the benefits of the Association. One of the areas of mutual interest for the two organisations acting together is export. Collier continues: “Of particular interest to us is the increased activity that BHETA has undertaken to promote export and we look forward to our members benefiting from this initiative. Brexit is what it is and will be what it will be, but as manufacturers in the UK, while the macro-economic situation of course has an impact, what we do at the coalface is far more important – and BHETA has great networking opportunities to offer.
“There are ‘Meet the Buyer’ days, key retail speaker forums and a very proactive export committee. I’m a great believer that suppliers and manufacturers should collaborate more effectively for exporting – we all have bits of knowledge, but don’t necessarily work together as closely as we all could. There are huge export opportunities for FBHTM and BHETA alike – the world is changing pretty quickly, and the opportunities are far greater than in ‘bygone’ days.”
Andrew Weiss elaborates: “It makes no commercial sense for members for TA’s to remain small and isolated if there are obvious synergies for two to get together and combine impact and efficiencies and this does not need to result in any loss of identity or sector focus. Export is a big case in point. In March, we have our first Export Conference with Gardenex and PetQuip, part of our ongoing drive to help our members access export markets.”
Export is not the only opportunity, however. Weiss explained: “BHETA has just taken full ownership of Brooke House Exhibitions, which runs the Exclusively Housewares and Electrical shows, and we will be working to integrate them into the Association’s range of member opportunities. BHETA is also running National Home Improvement Month in April, now in its second year, to increase DIY and home improvement engagement in the younger and online markets. Another key project is the expansion of our newly launched market data project, which amongst other benefits provides live EPOS information to members, cross-referenced to BHETA’s online Retailer Zone, a comprehensive product and supplier search function for retailers.
“BHETA can also facilitate export grants for major overseas exhibitions, has excellent relations with all the leading retailers, as well as lobbying power when needed and, in this turbulent trading environment, an independent, arbitrating view when members need a little extra help. It makes so much sense that associations with mutual interests combine resources for the greater benefit of members.
“In short, together we can create a programme of events, activities and benefits, which the two organisations can share, at a membership cost of between £58 and £125 per month (depending on business size), which in my view is pretty good value!” Further information about BHETA’s events programme, export opportunities and member services can be found on the BHETA website or by contacting the BHETA Member Services Team on 0121 237 1130.