The development of a strategic plan by the Tire Industry Association may not seem like a big deal.
Shouldn't every major business and organization have a long-range plan about where it wants to be five years down the road? That's simply ``Business 101.''
But for TIA-which unveiled its first strategic plan at the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo (ITE) in Las Vegas-the establishment of such a blueprint is a marked and positive change from the way the industry's largest tire dealer and retreader organization operated in the past.
What it finally brings to the association and its membership is continuity of purpose.
No longer will TIA's agenda change every year when a new president is installed. That, unfortunately, was too often the case in years past for two of TIA's predecessor organizations, the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and later the Tire Association of North America (TANA).
Each year, under those groups, a new president would lead the group toward whatever goals he or she wanted to accomplish. Then, more often than not, those goals and objectives-no matter how important and worthy-would change once the next president, with a new set of objectives, was elected.
As a result, those organizations and leaders were not always as effective as they could have been in what should have been and still is their principal goal: providing programs and services of value to their memberships.
But with TIA, formed only in July from the merger of TANA and the International Tire & Rubber Association, all that has changed.
The association's leadership announced an ambitious, four-pronged strategic plan at the ITE show that covers a multitude of new initiatives grouped under the categories of government relations, public relations, member services and education and training.
What TIA's leaders want to do is create an organization that adds value to the tire industry, improves the industry's image with consumers and boosts the professionalism of the retail and commercial tire trade.
Those are admirable goals that everyone-from tire dealers to retreaders to wholesalers and suppliers-should strongly support.
But achieving these goals won't occur over night. It will take time, planning and lots of work over the terms of many TIA presidents, focused on the same objectives, to make them happen.
At least now TIA has a well-thought-out course of action its leaders can follow into the future to try and reach the group's goals.
Without such a plan, TIA would have little hope of achieving its objectives. Now, with a sound long-range strategy in place, it has greatly improved the odds. And that's progress all TIA members should applaud.