The Personal Computer Direct Marketers’ Association was founded in 1993 as a group for UK system builders. Within a year it had changed to encompass vendors and distributors as well, and in 1995 it was renamed the Personal Computer Association. Wishing to underline our views on standards of trading we became the Professional Computing Association in 2003, introducing a personal membership category at that time, and
in 2004, we introduced the Confidence Assured membership category aimed specifically at independent resellers.
As you can see, we’ve never been afraid of change. We know that just like any commercial organisation, trade associations must change to reflect changes in their markets, and we’ve seen other bodies fail over the years because they were unable to adapt. Economies of scale are probably more significant for trade associations
than they are for commercial enterprises; it is incredibly difficult for any proper membership body to do all
the things it should do, with just part time volunteer staff.
Happily we have full time as well as part time staff and are thus able to be pretty productive. The Mac Technology Association had not yet grown sufficiently to support full time staff. The recognition that the boundaries between technologies are blurring enabled the two organisations to begin discussions over a year ago, drawing on a history of co-operation in various events and initiatives.
The other key factor in our change is the recognition that we are, above all a channel organisation, working for the benefit of the whole channel. We’ve had the ethos of ‘keeping the industry as strong as possible for as long as possible’ for many years. Our involvement in various elements of legislation, our campaigns on channel issues, and our Code of Practice, all bear witness to our commitment to the well-being of the channel. The Technology Channels Association recognises this from the start and is an overdue change that we’ve been discussing for several years. We’ll be retaining the ‘Confidence Assured’ logo for our reseller members to use in their marketing and promotions, and the existing one, together with PCA membership certificates can be used alongside the new ones until all of our members have been transferred to the new system.
Speaking of which, we aim to have our new membership admin system up and running by the time you read this. With a bit of luck you’ll be able to find it at www.tcauk.org In these challenging times, all players in all channels need to work together, in their own interest and those of their customers. More than ever, vendors are keen to engage with their resellers. One of the biggest issues affecting all of us, particularly independent resellers, is that they find it hard to give their suppliers the amount of time they want –they are too busy looking after their clients.
The TCA aims to ease this, and we’ll be providing details of local ‘out of hours’ meetings later in the year. By the time you read this, summer will be in full downpour. I hope you are able to take advantage of a few quieter weeks in order to recharge your batteries and prepare for what we all hope will be a very busy fourth quarter.