Optima Associates and AME in Agreement to expand Consortiums.
The Association for Manufacturing Excellence is pleased to announce the creation of its new national Consortia program. An agreement has been reached with Optima Associates of De Pere, Wisconsin to serve as AME 's primary resource for the establishment and facilitation of dozens of consortia throughout the country over the next several years.
AME has long considered the establishment of a consortia program to support and enhance its traditional strengths of regional events and a highly successful annual international conference. In fact, in 2009, in conjunction with the annual conference, the association established its first consortium in Northern Kentucky with 15 companies. Three years later that consortium numbers 17 members and is now considered a significant business resource in the region. It is upon this success that AME hopes to build with the help of Optima.
After six months of review at the national Board level, and a particular focus on collaboration with Regional Presidents, planning is now underway for the initial phase of activities that will lead to establishment of the second new consortium by the end of 2012. Initial target cities identified include Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Miami, Pittsburgh, Rochester, San Diego, and Cleveland. It is anticipated that 5-10 locations will be developed by the end of 2014.
AME has a strong vision for its consortia model. First, all companies and their representatives will be within a 60-mile radius of each other to facilitate deep, personal, and frequent contact among members. Second, each consortium will be strongly in control of its own program and membership. While each group will fall under the legal guidelines of AME's 501c3 non-profit status, individual groups will establish membership guidelines, program content, fee structure, and local governance structure. Third, Optima and AME will provide assistance in the hiring of consortium facilitators. Strong facilitators are critical to the success of any consortium. They will be accountable to the local consortium and supervised by Optima.
Finally, it is critical that AME consortia work closely with each AME region in which they are located. Consortia are not meant to compete with Regions but to complement them. A typical consortium will only have 15 member companies. There will still be hundreds of companies within a region that choose not to join a consortium and will still rely on traditional regional events to help support AME 's mission "to inspire enterprise excellence by bringing people together to share, grow and learn." The current Regional structure will not change, and will actually be supported by at least one event sponsored annually by each consortium. Consortia events will be held to the same high standards for quality that members have come to expect from AME.
As target cities are identified, analyzed and prioritized in the next 1-2 years, individual AME individual members, Corporate members, and Champions should expect to be contacted about hosting or attending local informational meetings about the program. Those interested will be involved in the next stage of planning and implementation, including local membership guidelines, fee structures, and programming. Each consortium will be supported by AME 's financial systems, event registration, and website. Individual member companies within a consortium will receive a Corporate membership to AME, which includes discounts to conferences and events.
Our goal is to ultimately have upwards of 50 consortia in operation in the next 10 years, ultimately creating an environment for AME to become the national umbrella organization for any consortium which chooses to participate. Additional information and events will be planned for the AME Annual Conference in Chicago this October.
Keith Syberg- Vice President for Consortia