By Ellen McKoy
Reaping the Benefits of Member Resources
A quick search of the SEMA website (www.sema.org) reveals an abundance of member benefits covering a range of business resources and solutions. In fact, no matter a company’s membership category—manufacturer, distributor, manufacturers’ rep, retailer or installer—there are tools and resources to help companies make smarter business decisions; be more strategic; save money; and expand their network among like-minded colleagues and industry leaders.
The à-la-carte menu allows any employee of a member company to choose those benefits that best meet individual or business needs. For some, it might be market research reports that offer insights into the latest trends or cost-saving business insurance solutions. For others, it might mean participation in a SEMA council or network or access to product-development opportunities through the SEMA Garage, to name a few.
|The SEMA Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN), in conjunction with the SEMA Garage, brings you the SEMA “ETTN Design & Validation Resource Guide.” This guide is designed to help manufacturers connect with companies capable of testing and validating products or software.|
But sometimes even the most seasoned members might not be aware of or realize just how much impact a specific benefit might have on their businesses. Which is precisely what happened when Brad Grissom, vice president of JMS Performance Group, learned about the scope of the services offered through the SEMA Garage.
To hear Grissom tell it, it began with a meeting with SEMA Director of Membership Gary Vigil at the 2018 Keystone Big Show. While discussing SEMA’s resources, Vigil mentioned that the Garage has the ability to assist performance-parts manufacturers in securing executive orders (known as EOs) for their emissions-compliant products through the California Air Resources Board (CARB). That got Grissom’s attention.
As a manufacturer and supplier of OEM and aftermarket electronic components and systems designed to improve vehicle performance, Grissom was interested in securing EOs for the firm’s emissions-compliant products, but he was unaware that SEMA could help.
“When I spoke to Gary at the Big Show, he gave me a lot of information about the SEMA Garage that I had never been exposed to, and that was very helpful,” Grissom said. “He followed up with an email and copied Peter Treydte, the compliance center manager at the Garage. We started a dialog and put together a plan for us to start submitting our existing products for CARB executive orders. That’s the primary reason we reached out to the Garage.”
Fast Track to EO Approval
According to the CARB website, California law permits the sale of an aftermarket performance part only after an evaluation by CARB to ensure that the part does not raise emissions. Once CARB approves a part, it is granted an EO that allows the sale and installation of that part on pollution-controlled vehicles. The state law doesn’t apply just to performance-parts manufacturers, however. It also applies to everyone in the chain—distributors, installers and retailers—who are required to understand the legality of parts offered for sale in California and the consequences of failure to comply.
“At the end of the day, you have to have that executive order to ensure compliance,” Grissom said.
Securing an EO can be cumbersome, costly and time-consuming, but because SEMA staff has a working relationship with CARB, the process often moves along quickly and smoothly. As an added benefit, the member cost to utilize the Garage services is more affordable than pursuing an EO through an independent lab.
“The SEMA Garage really helped us navigate the way the data needs to be submitted to CARB,” Grissom said. “In the year since we started, we have received two executive orders, and we are working with the Garage to get executive orders for additional products. Three of those projects are currently ongoing and in the process of being tested.”
The process worked better than Grissom expected.
“To have somebody like Treydte, who is constantly engaging with CARB, help to streamline the process is next to impossible,” he said. “The relationship that SEMA and the SEMA Garage in particular have with CARB is well outside the norm. It’s priceless, and it’s priced right. If we had to go to an independent laboratory, it would’ve cost us twice as much money and taken twice as long. Frankly, more small to large manufacturers should be using the Garage to help them with a streamlined process.”
With a roster of resources that runs the gamut and that can fit any business, large or small, there is no shortage of opportunities to benefit from SEMA membership. This story is but one shining example. To discover what resources can help your business, contact SEMA Director of Membership Gary Vigil at 909-978-6738 or firstname.lastname@example.org.