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In the first in a series of articles from The Association of Loading and Elevating Equipment Manufacturers (ALEM), its President Jon Tridgell gives an outline of the aims and objectives of the Association.
I believe that the pressures and challenges faced by businesses today are probably unprecedented. Understandably, in such a tough environment, many of us can be tempted to focus on mere survival, and not even entertain thoughts of investment, growth and ongoing development. Add to that the near impossibility of finding the time to keep abreast of market movements, new legislation and revised industry standards. All this can be extremely daunting for companies attempting to meet these challenges alone. I firmly believe that’s where an industry association like ALEM can really prove its worth.
The Association of Loading and Elevating Equipment Manufacturers represents the interests of UK manufacturers and suppliers of loading bay equipment, including dock levellers, scissor lifts, tail lifts, loading ramps and vehicle restraints, to UK government, the Health and Safety Executive, BSI and all other relevant organisations. As a member of the British Materials Handling Federation, we work with other materials handling associations towards a common industry goal.
ALEM provides cost- effective, tangible benefits to its members by its ability to update them on a wide range of topical issues, including new and proposed legislation and the development and amendment of the product standards. Regular meetings provide an opportunity to discuss anything that impacts on our businesses and networking opportunities with industry colleagues. The sole qualifying requirement of ALEM member companies is that they are committed to complying with the relevant European Standards, the UK Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations and CE marking.
One of the Association’s main aims is to make both industry and end users aware of the standards and regulations that must be followed in order to meet current UK and European legislation. Armed with this knowledge, and with the full support of the Health and Safety Executive, ALEM members are also much better placed to counter the threat of cheaper, unregulated, potentially unsafe and inferior machinery and equipment that can find its way to market from non EU countries.
An important aspect of ALEM’s work is our close association with the committees that govern the European standards affecting UK businesses. Keeping abreast of European legislation and standards can be a minefield but it’s crucial if a business wants to stay one step ahead of the market. This is why ALEM is, through the BMHF, a member of FEM, the representative European industry body for the materials handling industry. This gives members immediate access to developments in Europe, as well as the chance to influence decision makers in Brussels for the benefit of the UK industry.
ALEM members are also able to meet with industry colleagues throughout the EU in an FEM Product Group that covers our products.
In the UK, our members are represented on various influential bodies as a means of maintaining close ties with an ever-changing market. The Association’s wide range of contacts means networking, often something of a luxury to small companies, is easier to achieve and more focused.
ALEM members represent the association at the British Standards Institution (BSI) and European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) committees which write the technical standards relevant to compliance with the EC Machinery Safety Directive, 2006/42/EC. Information is fed back to all members who then have a chance to comment or to meet and discuss developments. Naturally, our members must be committed to complying with all relevant European Standards, the UK Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations and CE marking. In return for this commitment, the Association offers support, technical expertise and an unrivalled position within the industry, both in Europe and at home.
One of ALEM’s main aims is to make both industry and end users aware of the standards and regulations that must be followed in order to meet current UK and European legislation.
In essence, what ALEM offers is twofold. Firstly, our members can rely on an active organisation that represents, informs and supports them at all times. Secondly, our members’ customers also benefit from our uncompromising stance on the quality of products and support services. This means that businesses buying from an ALEM member can be confident that they are dealing with a company that takes its responsibilities seriously, strives to meet the highest standards and, most importantly, values its customers.