Accessing MANA’s Contributions

by Tim Ryder, President, Ryder Sales Agency, Inc.

Serving on the Board of Directors for MANA was a great experience on multiple levels:

  • Working alongside a professional MANA staff and successful independent representatives.
  • Heading and participating on various committees (such as the Financial Committee, Long‑term Strategic Committee, Associate Member Committee, etc.).
  • Networking and befriending other independent representatives from across the United States to Canada.
  • Exposure to different industries.
  • Helping to oversee and facilitate a very prestigious organization from a strategic level.

But, perhaps the most rewarding and enlightening experience has been the observation of MANA’s continued mission “to advance the professionalism and utilization of independent manufacturers’ representatives.”

MANA’s dedication to help serve their membership in the areas of education, networking and legislation has never been stronger or more accessible.

MANA continues to provide quality educational tools through the Agency Sales magazine, iToolbox, webinars, teleforums and special reports for both agents and manufacturers.

MANA has made huge strides over the years in helping reps and manufacturers connect. We launched a very successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) initiative and web page update so manufacturers using Google to start the process of recruiting representatives will find MANA and MANA representatives first. As a result, MANA now ranks in the first few results in many rep-related Google searches.

But that’s not all we’ve done. We’ve also launched version 2.0 of our “Member in Good Standing” web pages, and made downloadable “Member in Good Standing” certificates available.

We’ve merged our Board of Directors and Executive Committee to get all of our managerial horsepower to the table every time we meet, and we’ve assembled a Strategic Planning Committee to guide MANA into the future. And, we’ve implemented outreach to younger members to include them in the Strategic Planning Committee and are working toward including younger members in our Board of Directors.

Of course, we serve as a conduit for communication between industry-specific representative associations and geographically-based associations like the Wisconsin Association of Manufacturers’ Agents (WAMA) and the Manufacturers’ Agents of Cincinnati (MAC).

Over the years, MANA has supported and funded much of the current legislation for rep protection laws now in place in many states, and recently spearheaded a successful lobbying campaign in Minnesota to achieve stronger protection for representatives. This has provided for more stability and recognition for our industry. I have found that being able to reference these laws is a good starting point or gathering point when negotiating contracts or addressing issues with principals.

Obviously, MANA is not standing still by relying on old tried-and-true services offered throughout the years. Those services are still offered — but many have been upgraded and enhanced. The updated website alone has an array of new features and benefits. Anything from contract guidelines and attorney referrals to state-specific legislation, compatible sister organizations, upcoming educational seminars and training events, new line opportunities, etc., all can be accessed with just a click. You can now even read Agency Sales on your smart phone, tablet, or laptop.

And, MANA still offers resources for both legal and business counseling by providing a free annual half-hour consultation with a “rep-friendly” attorney, coaching and mentoring programs, or a “start-up” kit for newer agencies.

Long after my time served on the Board, I will be using my MANA membership as an investment tool for my agency.

Tim Ryder is president of Ryder Sales Agency, Inc., located in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Ryder Sales specializes in supplying OEMs and distributors with components and raw materials used in manufacturing industrial and consumer products. For more information, visit Ryder is a past MANA Board of Directors member and has served as past president and board member for WAMA (Wisconsin Association of Manufacturers’ Agents).