As part of an ongoing effort to support diversity, the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) offers a unique Sponsored Membership Program with a focus on direct part suppliers—specifically (though not exclusively) those who are minority-owned and operated. Within the parameters of the program guidelines, a direct part supplier is one whose component, material, or secondary finishing process becomes part of the finished vehicle. The minority designation includes veteran and women-owned suppliers.
For this program, AIAG has partnered with the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) as well as the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) to offer all minority suppliers who meet the afore-mentioned criteria free membership for five years. As AIAG Executive Director J. Scot Sharland notes, “The development of minority businesses for direct part sourcing is mission critical for OEM and Tier One suppliers.”
In recent months, AIAG also forged a relationship with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) to further both associations’ objective of prioritizing diversity by supporting minority businesses. WBENC is a non-profit association that provides certification, education, resources, support, and networking to women-owned, operated, and controlled businesses.
This collaboration allows both organizations to attend one another’s events—like the recent WBENC National Conference & Business Fair—as well as share meeting announcements, newsletters, and other pertinent information pertaining to ongoing initiatives.
Despite differing missions, AIAG and WBENC have many members in common, which creates numerous opportunities for open communication and partnership. Currently, WBENC is raising awareness of AIAG’s Sponsored Membership Program among their direct part Women’s Business Enterprise suppliers, so they can take advantage of the free membership and related benefits.
For organizations like those in the WBENC Network who qualify, the value of a multi-year AIAG membership goes well beyond the initial cost savings of a fee-free registration. As AIAG’s Membership Manager Nancy Malo explains, “When a company joins, all of its employees become AIAG members, with access to essential automotive industry resources like practitioner and enterprise knowledge self-assessments, e-Learnings, best practices, and guidance documents.”
Malo, who leads AIAG’s minority supplier development strategy, goes on to note that “members are also eligible for discounts on publications as well as training, events, and networking sessions, which allow them to work collaboratively and build relationships within the industry.”
The ultimate goal of these efforts on the part of AIAG and their partners is to provide minority and small suppliers with the resources, training, and education they need to manage risk and uncertainty, and drive their business forward. “It’s more than just solutions, certifications, and training,” Malo concludes, “it’s the benefit of not having to go it alone.”
To learn more about what it means to be a part of the AIAG community, visit www.joinAIAG.org.