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Category: Supply Chain Trends and Issues

Update! Supply Chain News: MHI Acquires Warehouse Education and Research Council

 

Comments from SCDigest Editor Dan Gilmore and MHI CEO George Prest Added

Aug. 17, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Almost to weeks ago, SCDigest published a news article on the acquisition of professional organization the Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC) by MHI, a group made up of materials handling-related vendors of all sorts.

 

That original article is available below.

 

Since then, there are two additional angles on this combination. First, SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore last week wrote weekly First Thoughts column on the merger, using it as a starting point for talking about supply chain and logistics trade and professional organizations generally - and how this seemingly small news could in fact have some important ramifications for the industry. (See Thoughts on MHI Acquiring WERC.)

 

In that column, Gilmore predicted the following:

 

1. MHI will use its resources to try and rebuild the WERC membership ranks


2. It will in some way combine the annual WERC conference with its own to connect MHI more directly to companies and individuals beyond its materials handling company base and try to get the numbers up, given MHI's inconsistent effort to build its member-focused annual conference into more of industry event.

 

Additionally, too late for that column, we received a response from MHI CEO George Prest to four questions SCDigest submitted to MHI. That Q&A can be found below:

 

SCDigest: What was the catalyst for this acquisition?

Prest: MHI and WERC saw an opportunity to enhance member value for both organizations and at the same time create a more robust platform to serve the industry. Additionally, the acquisition of WERC complements MHI’s overall strategy to continue building our knowledge offering for the industry.

SCDigest: What is the vision for how this will play out over time?

Prest:
Combining the strengths of MHI and WERC will allow us to improve member value offerings for both member audiences and the industry. It also creates the opportunity for solution providers and users to come together to collaborate on common issues facing the industry.

SCDigest:
WERC has individual membership model, MHI company membership. How will this work over time?

Prest: WERC will functionally remain the same, operating as a wholly owned division of MHI. WERC members will have the additional benefit of being an associate member of MHI which includes access to MHI’s market intelligence and thought leadership offerings as well as access to MHI’s Solutions Community, networking communities and events. MHI member employees will have greater exposure to WERC’s membership and professional development programs.

SCDigest: Are you going to invest to build WERC membership back up?


Prest: We will continue to invest in the member value proposition of both organizations. At the heart of any association is doing collectively what could not be done with the same impact individually. It is with that philosophy the two associations came together. The larger platform will create more opportunities for member value offerings, ultimately allowing both memberships to thrive.

 

Gilmore sticks with his predictions, noting the most important statement in Prest's response is this one: "It also creates the opportunity for solution providers and users to come together to collaborate on common issues facing the industry."

 

Original Article Below

 

In major news in the supply and logistics sector, MHI (the Material Handling Industry organization) announced it has acquired the Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC), a research and education-focused professional association.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

The interesting dynamic here of course is the combination of a company-focused membership organization with one based on individual membership model.


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MHI, based in Charlotte, NC, is a trade organization representing the interests of companies of many types in the materials sector, from conveyor and fork truck makers to logistics software companies, consulting firms, systems integrators and more.

Membership is on a company basis, not at an individual level, with currently about 840 corporate members

MHI is known for its major trade shows, the ProMat show held in odd number years at McCormick Place in Chicago, and the MODEX show in even number years at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.

WERC, now located in the Chicago area, was founded in Columbus, OH in 1977. It is professional society of logistics professionals, with membership at mostly an individual level, with current membership at about 750 – certainly well down, as with many professional organizations, from its peak years ago. That drop, and a fall in attendance at its annual conference in recent years, with a cancellation of its 2020 conference due to the viru crisis, had WERC under financial stress, sources tell SCDigest.

WERC also manages some local chapters of its members.

Under the terms of the deal, WERC will become a division of MHI.

 

Long time WERC CEO Michael Mikitka will join MHI as Executive Vice President of the MHI Knowledge Value Center and will lead the WERC division within MHI.

"The acquisition of WERC complements our overall strategy to continue building our knowledge offering for the industry. This investment represents an important strategic opportunity offering additional value for both MHI and WERC membership. Together our platform will be stronger and deliver more value to the industry and our members," said George Prest, CEO of MHI.

(See More Below)

CATEGORY SPONSOR: SOFTEON

 

 

"WERC joining MHI provides a major growth opportunity for both our associations through an extended service offering for all members. As our industry evolves, together our associations will leverage its resources to provide the products, services and information to advance distribution logistics professionals to do their jobs, excel in their careers and make a difference in the world." Mikitka added.


Said SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore: "The interesting dynamic here of course is the combination of a company-focused membership organization with one based on individual membership model. It seems almost certain MHI sees an opportunity to drive WERC memberships higher."



What do you think of MHI's acquisition on WERC? What will MHI try to do with it? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


 
 

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