Considering: New Tools for the SEMA Toolbox

SEMA News—March 2013

CHRIS KERSTING

Considering:

New Tools for the SEMA Toolbox

Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO As the new year gains steam, SEMA leadership and the Board of Directors have been considering new goals and offerings to help our members succeed. As always, we are looking at investments that would do the most good for SEMA members and the performance aftermarket in general. One focus this year is to deliver new and improved tools and services to help members quickly and efficiently develop new products.

It happens that the building adjacent to our Diamond Bar headquarters is now fully available for potential association expansion. The building has been home to some SEMA programs that are already popular with our members—programs such as vehicle Measuring Sessions—and could serve to house expansion of services such as the well-used Tech Transfer program and our Rapid Prototyping Service.

These programs have been highly rated by members, so we know they work, but currently there are limitations as to what we can supply. The idea is to create a SEMA product development center (working title: “The SEMA Garage”) to expand and enhance our offerings and give SEMA members a hands-on facility for multiple services and benefits:

  • Expand the current, single-day vehicle Measuring Sessions to include more models, more brands and provide access to hard-to-find models—including vehicles available only in overseas markets. We’d secure these vehicles for a period of weeks or months, allowing members longer-duration access for product development purposes.
  • Supply state-of-the-art measuring tools on the premises and supply the expertise and training to operate them.
  • Secure the capability to scan vehicle dimensions, parts and interfaces to build our computer-aided-design data library available through SEMA’s Tech Transfer program.
  • Staff and provide a dyno lab that would be available to SEMA members at a reasonable cost. The lab could be available for performance product development and testing and could also provide guidance and testing to secure Air Resources Board Executive Orders for emissions compliance.

Because the building was purpose-built as a vehicle technology center, SEMA is in a unique position to provide a product development center without having to start at ground zero. And the center could provide a range of other services and opportunities—such as a training center and a photo studio to assist with new-product launches and media events.

The SEMA Board and the staff are currently gathering input and information to shape the ideas for the product development center. Part of this due diligence will take the form of a poll of the membership to get an idea of how companies could best benefit from an association-owned facility and what kinds of equipment and opportunities would best fit their needs.

Some of you may have already been contacted for feedback or received our member poll on this subject. We hope you will take a moment to consider the possibilities and respond with your thoughts. Because the concept is anchored by expansion of programs and services that are already used and valued by SEMA members, we know the initiative stands a good chance to succeed and deliver on SEMA’s mission.

As always, we can do a better job if you share your ideas. We hope to hear from you about the SEMA product development center.

—Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO

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