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The state of the IAM

Dec 30, 2016
IAM President Terry Head presented his annual ‘State of IAM’ address at the IAM conference. It has become widely anticipated as one of the highlights of the event.



Terry first thanked the IAM staff.  He said that just nine people run IAM. “They make it all happen.  My talent is surrounding myself with great people.” 

He explained that there had been a shift in the make-up of the organisation with tremendous growth from outside the USA. When IAM started, three-quarters of the membership was in the USA with the remainder from the rest of the world; today it’s the other way round. “We have also seen some growth in the governing membership overseas and we hope to see even more in the future.”  

IAM has around 2500 members worldwide including 1875 core members. There are more core members in Europe than in North America. Supplier members are dominated by the technology side of the industry. Terry said that the Young Professionals (YP) group is one of the bright spots of the Association. The group started in 2000 and now has over 400 members. He explained that the number of YP members fluctuates: “When you get to 40 they kick you out and you have to be like the rest of us.” IAM loses around 100 members a year, either voluntarily or because they are required to leave for non-payment of dues. However, new joins brings the number back up again with about 94% of the membership remaining every year.  

The Association is looking to develop new membership models as they have had the current membership types for some time. These might include branch discounts for multiple memberships and expanding individual membership to allow people to retain their membership of IAM when they switch companies. IAM is also looking at having an online membership where, for a lower fee, access to products is solely via the web.  

The IAM membership directory is now available as a downloadable pdf so that it can be viewed on a mobile or tablet. Terry said that they are trying to make it accessible to customers and will be moving to a new online directory hopefully in 2017. This will allow searching by company or various keywords. “It will have a geolocator capability so you can see exactly where members are located and, more importantly, you will be able to filter your choices by membership of FIDI, LACMA, etc. I think it will revolutionise our database.”  

IAM’s finances have now returned to profit after reserves were depleted in 2013-2014 through investment on new services and programmes. “That’s where IAM shines in the industry,” said Terry. “Sometimes I think we have too many programmes but when you think of all that’s offered to the membership it’s an amazing array of products.”  

The Receivable Protection Program (RPP) became an inclusive member benefit in 2015.  RPP was launched in 2007 to provide a safeguard from IAM members in financial difficulty. It provides reimbursement to members for unpaid commercial invoices should another member go out of business. “The first year we paid out $81,000 in RPP claims,” Terry explained.  “This year, because we have had some significant losses particularly in the military environment, we will hit probably $200,000 in claims. The value is amazing. Brian [Limperopolous] who runs the programme, calculates that the value is around $300/member. It’s a great programme.” He also said that the ‘slow payers list’ is the most read newsletter from IAM.  

Terry said that the IAM Logistics network (ILN) now has a balanced network. ILN is a group founded by IAM members devoted to helping each other develop and market non-traditional logistics-type services. INL recently had a meeting in Singapore, partnering with IMC World.  The US is the largest sector in ILN because governing member, most of which are in the USA, are automatically included in the ILN membership.  

The International Shippers Association (ISA), an organisation affiliated to IAM, has been a great success story since it started in 1999. Since then it has paid back almost $1.4 million in patronage dividends. “We use our collective buying power to get the rates for military and commercial traffic,” said Terry. “It’s been very successful.”    

Regarding communications and publications, Terry said that he was very proud of the Portal magazine and thanked members for contributing to it.  IAM also has various other newsletters including those for military and government moving, RPP, ILN and YP. “If you are not receiving these then you should be because they are packed full of information,” he said adding that IAM was, of course, on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  

Terry announced a change in the branding of the ‘Social Café’, now called ‘IAM Connected’. He said that people had misunderstood what it was, thinking it was a place to go to waste time.  “It’s a tool. In my opinion it gives you a competitive advantage.”  He said that it had a lot of information and encouraged all members to get their staff to use it. There are currently over 3000 people using IAM Connected.  

IAM has embarked on an ambitious history project called IAM Looking Back.  The project looks back through the organisation’s archives to access and digitise photos, thereby providing a record of the people and events that have shaped IAM over the years.  Terry said that they had many photos of people and the project would identify them, and their contribution, while there were still people around who knew them. So far over 4000 pictures have been digitised. “We are capturing the information for the new generations,” he said.  “I am working now with the children and grandchildren of the people I worked with in the late 1960s. For them to be able to look at what their fathers and grandfathers did must be hugely valuable.”  He said that it was an incredibly powerful history, not just of IAM but of the industry as a whole.   

In closing, Terry announced that the 2017 IAM conference will be in Long Beach, California.  2018 will be in Washington DC; 2019 in Chicago; 2020 in San Diego; and 2021 in Orlando although not necessarily in the same hotels as previously. 

Photo: Terry Head.

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