For the past few days I have been running a poll, which is still live, on DGB which is asking readers if they trust the industry bodies, groups, organisations and institutions. As the headline of this post suggests, the results are not good at all.


Confidence crisis?

At the time of writing this post the percentage of people who answered “yes” stood at a miserable 15%. Those who voted “no” hovered just under the half way mark at 49% with the remainder still not quite sure whether they trust them or not. There is no amount of spin or turn polish that can make these figures look good. There is a confidence crisis.

Some of the comments left on here and on social media give an indication as to some of the extreme scepticism many who work in the industry have of our biggest groups and institutions. I get the feeling that many believe a lot of the bodies are there for the money, whilst proving little tangible benefit to them or the wider industry.

As with most things, the negative commentary always gets more air time than the positive stuff. I refuse to believe that every group, body, organisation and institution is rotten and untrustworthy. However, there are a number of things which the aforementioned do not do very well, which I believe is the reason why so many of us have very little faith in them.

Poor communication

When you look at the big boys, the ones like FENSA, the GGF, the BFRC and so on, their communication is poor. That’s the only way to describe it.

You might see some sporadic tweets, then that dies down. A few press releases get sent around the various publications but they go largely unread. There is nothing sustained. There is very little engagement with the industry in general on the modern mediums. Yet communication is so basic and vital. How are you supposed to keep the industry you serve up to date regularly if there is no communication?

I’ll give you an example. Do we remember when FENSA threatened to freeze the accounts of companies who failed to comply to the new MTC regulations? If so, you may also remember that due to such a large section of the industry not bothering to pull it’s finger out, FENSA had to create an emergency secondary route of compliance, otherwise it would have had to cut off a massive portion of the industry from themselves, which obviously wasn’t going to happen. However, what you may not know is that FENSA are actually carrying out their threats to freeze companies from FENSA until they get their house in order. I was reliably informed of this fact a few days ago.

So whilst they go about actually carrying out their threats of action, we have all been thinking that they have been typically inactive, letting everyone get away with it. Which in fact is not the case. But because they have failed to communicate this fact to the industry in any meaningful way, this bit of good news which could have changed a few minds about the organisation has slipped away unnoticed.

Ideas started, with little show of progress

Another good recent example of problems would be the recently formed Glazing Supply Chain Group. This is a body of bodies created with the aim to:

  • To represent the supply chain in the glazing industry and act as the collective “voice of the industry” to Government (local, national and European) and related organisations post and pre-election 2015.
  • To promote the benefits of energy efficient glass and glazing and highlight the environmental advantages to key Government departments.
  • To increase awareness of the Group in the construction industry and in the political arenas.
  • To increase the size of the Group and involve (unite) more trade bodies who share the Group’s core messages and who will endorse the Group’s activities for the good/benefit of the industry.
  • To maintain a non-commercial, independent, clear and progressive messages on behalf of the Glazing Supply Chain.

It was formed in April 2015, yet the launch has been the only thing I have seen from them. Their website has very little information or up to date news items. And I wonder if there was really the need to create another body, especially one consisting of other bodies.

This is a prime example of a good idea not being built upon, promoted and expanded. For a body that was created to help build a bigger voice, the industry has heard very little.

How to improve

For me, there are only a few ways the industry’s bodies and institutions can improve things, and the main way is communication. I don’t think anyone can argue that the levels of communication from the bodies that are supposed to be working for us have been generally poor.

If bodies like FENSA, the GGF and the rest started to regularly talk to the industry, across all mediums, got their messages across better, kept us all informed of things like the freezing of non-compliant accounts etc, then perhaps we’d see the better the good stuff they do, and cut back on the criticisms.

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