For the first time ever, elected representatives of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and the American Retreaders' Association in October will meet to discuss how the two associations might ``work together in areas of common interest.'' Considering the potential value of such a meeting, it seems incredible this has never occurred before during the more than 35 years that the two national U.S. dealer organizations have existed side by side.
The current leadership of these two groups is to be commended for calling such a gathering and encouraged to make the most of this opportunity.
If nothing else, these discussions hold the potential of ending the bickering and partisanship that historically has characterized relations between the two groups.
Although details and the agenda must still be worked out, at least one topic is sure to be discussed-the possibility of a jointly sponsored certification program for retreaders. Presently, each association has its own criteria and apparatus for certifying the product quality of its retreader members.
Retreading would benefit from a uniform certification program that increased the credibility of its product quality and performance story.
Not likely to result from forthcoming discussions, say officials, is a single industrywide convention and trade show-something many suppliers have requested.
One reason, association officials explain, is that both organizations have pending site commitments and reservations on exhibit and meeting facilities for several years to come.
What's more, since each association derives much of its operating revenue from its own annual convention and tradeshow, neither is likely to swap its own for a jointly sponsored industrywide event unless assured it won't be financially hurt by such a move.
Just the same, the bottom line on any such discussions must be what is best for association members and independent dealers and retreaders as a whole. Officials should keep this in mind during their deliberation.