In February we asked members for feedback on our services – thank you to everyone who provided their input.
The most important part of this survey is where we asked what we could improve on, or offer as a membership benefit that we don’t currently. As a small trade association it really does help us to allocate our resources appropriately. Some of the ideas that were given are already being worked on behind-the-scenes or we’ve considered them in the past and had to put them on hold for now. We felt it was important to address these and offer an insight as to why that might be.
Comments relating to events
Comment: Hold more meetings/events with members at their premises
We have worked with several member companies in the past to host a successful site visit to their premises. The opportunity to open up your facility to a new audience through Composites UK is always on offer. The biggest concern is usually the protection of the hosts intellectual property and this can be worked around. Contact us to start the conversation – there’s no obligation to go ahead if you don’t think it’s right for you.
Comment: Hold more events in different places of the UK
With around 340 members located nationwide we’re always going to run into difficulty with this one. We try and organise our events near to cities which are major travel hubs to maximise how many members can attend, or where activity in the particular market we’re covering is at its highest (take the Marine Sector Showcase in Southampton last year for example).
We brought in our regional events in 2015 to make sure we were visiting as many areas in the UK as possible but resources mean we can only run four to five of these a year so each region is on a three-year rotation.
Comment: Have more events on design rather than them being focussed on manufacture
We try to include design in the programmes of all our sector showcases, although this does depend on the abstracts we receive from companies wanting to present. The Sustainability Sub Group has recently held an event on ‘Designing for the Environment with Composites’ (presentations available in the members area of the website if you couldn’t attend).
Comment: Host meet-the-buyer events
This is something we’re looking into, particularly through our ties with the Composites Leadership Forum. In the mean time we always look to have at least one OEM/Tier 1 company speaking at each of our events.
Comment: Improved links for training for small companies in more basic composites skills
We have a link to all of the known training providers in the UK on our website. If you know of others we should be including get in touch.
Comments relating to the website, The Hub and other communications
Comment: Could you include forums within the website to discuss emerging topics?
This has been discussed internally in the past. The reason we didn’t go ahead with it was that forums take a lot of moderating and the cost of installing the software into the website was too high. We instead use our LinkedIn groups as our forum, we’ve got one open group for the whole industry to join in and one closed group for member announcements.
Comment: Could you include a jobs board on the website?
This is something that we’ve recently been looking into. At the moment the implementation cost is again the barrier here. However, there are general advertising opportunities available on the website which you can use to promote your vacancies. Contact us for more details.
Comment: More filters to help when searching The Hub Maps
We are actively seeking investment to make changes to The Hub and the Maps facility as in order to do this we need funding. This search is ongoing from our side however members can help this activity by either placing an advert or purchasing a bespoke report - all funds raised by either will be put towards advancing The Hub and Maps.
Comment: Help funding bids
This is the role of the KTN and we are happy to put you in touch with them should you wish to engage. We highlight funding opportunities through our monthly funding bulletin. If you are looking for project management capability then visit the business support area on the website where you will find member companies offering this service.
Comment: Could you send fewer emails?
We try and send as few as we can as we know an excessive amount of emails can be annoying (you should see how many we get sent to our info@ address on a daily basis). That’s why we’ve recently segmented our main email database so that you can tailor what you want to receive. The next time you get one of our monthly e-newsletters or fortnightly event mailings click on the ‘Update My Preferences’ link at the bottom, choose the sectors you’re involved in and the regions you’re interested in. You can even unsubscribe completely if you really want…
As for member-only communications the main contacts of all member companies, plus a few colleagues who’ve opted in, receive fortnightly opportunities bulletins (this mainly includes marketing and event opportunities) and a monthly funding bulletin. Sometimes we do send out ad hoc mailings about other things we are working on, such as a pavilion at a certain exhibition. We’d prefer it if you didn’t unsubscribe from this one as it’s how we communicate the main membership benefits – and if you don’t know them you can’t get the most out of your membership - but we can't stop you.
Comment: Tie in further with other sectors
For each event we approach another trade association inviting them to get involved and therefore increase the visibility of composites to other sectors.
In all honesty this has a varying success rate. Our biggest accomplishment is with the British Plastics Federation where we co-organise the yearly Thermoplastic Composites event, however we have a good relationship with other associations such as the Rail Alliance, Rail Industry Association, GTMA, ADS Group, North West Aerospace Alliance and more.
There are sectors in which we don’t have any ties and we’re working on this. If you have contacts you think we should engage with we’d be delighted to hear from you!
Members are welcome to reach out to us at any time to give their feedback – we couldn’t do this without you! Contact us to discuss.