LMTA's Strategic Plan
PAVING THE WAY FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE
The Louisiana Motor Transport Association is gearing up for a new level of success. Earlier this year, LMTA officers tasked new Executive Director Chance McNeely and a management consulting firm with creating a five-year strategic plan, part of an initiative to solidify LMTA’s leadership status as the voice of Louisiana’s trucking industry.
LMTA’s members range from small businesses with single vehicles to larger fleets, and it also includes vendors and suppliers. This membership base reflects the wide spectrum of the trucking population, and LMTA exists to promote and facilitate business growth for the trucking industry at large. Moreover, LMTA runs a number of committees and councils that address different issues and represent different aspects of the membership base.
Constant improvements and evolving strategies are required to combat the challenges facing today’s trucking industry — challenges such as fewer drivers on the road and rapidly climbing insurance rates. Such obstacles demand an innovative and forward-thinking game plan.
To accomplish this, LMTA enlisted Louisiana-based management consulting firm Emergent Method to develop a strategic planning process for the future. Utilizing company experience and extensive research, Emergent Method helped to identify the needs and goals of the LMTA and developed strategies to ensure the plan’s success, safeguarding against any issues that LMTA as an organization might face. “The goal is to elevate LMTA’s operations in every aspect,” said Seth Irby, Senior Consultant at Emergent Method. “By improving board governance and engagement, growing the membership base and improving membership experience, in addition to being a voice for the industry at the state legislature, we’ll push LMTA’s priorities.”
As part of their development, Emergent Method surveyed the LMTA staff, board and members to craft a summary report that identifies the priorities and needs of the organization itself, as well as Louisiana’s trucking industry as a whole. As for the game plan, LMTA staff were involved in the process to develop a strategy and identify the best ways to implement that strategic vision. The resulting product involves a comprehensive month-by-month program, with regular evaluations and reliable performance metrics to gauge success.
Why all these moving parts? Emergent Method created a living document that can be adapted to the fast-paced and changing landscape of the state’s trucking industry. As the needs of LMTA’s membership evolve, so too will the company’s strategic plan. “If you’re using the exact same plan we gave you a year ago, you’re probably doing something wrong,” Irby said.
LMTA aims to move into the future as a leading member organization, with prosperous membership and benefits that advance its interests. Each component of the company plays a crucial role in its success, from the decision-making leaders to staff and the individual members, and it is critical for these components to work in sync. Because of this, Emergent Method created a strategic plan that encompasses priority areas of the LMTA: the board, internal operations, membership growth, membership experience and governmental affairs.
1. Board Recruitment, Engagement and Governance
LMTA aims to move into the future as a dynamic and visionary organization, capable of navigating a changing industry. In order to do so, the organization must have innovative leaders at the helm. LMTA’s Board of Directors comprises experienced industry professionals from various cities, all with the goal of advancing LMTA and the trucking industry. The strategic plan aims to ensure that LMTA will continue to have the highest-caliber leaders whose time and talents are used to their full potential, meeting annually to plan for the future and assess the company’s performance in all areas. It is up to the Board not only to set the vision for the future, but to ensure that LMTA is functioning to fulfill this vision.
• Development of a board job description will clearly define the roles, responsibilities and expected commitments of board members, elected officers, committee chairmen, divisional vice presidents and chapter presidents.
• By clearly defining the working relationship between staff and the board, proper board oversight will be established, and staff will feel empowered to own their unique areas of operation.
• Updating bylaws will ensure alignment with the newly adopted strategic plan. To identify areas of improvement, an annual board and staff assessment process will be conducted to provide active feedback for the plan.
2. INTERNAL OPERATIONS
If the Board members are the organization visionaries, the LMTA staff are the boots on the ground. The goal is to modernize operations to be as efficient as possible for LMTA to reach its full potential and provide a better membership experience. After all, the day-to-day operations of LMTA are what drive the overall success of the organization. The staff members are tasked with accomplishing the strategic goals that help the organization’s mission become a reality.
Because LMTA is a robust and complex organization, there are many opportunities for growth. Therefore, it is critical that LMTA staff and the resources that support it must be top-notch for all other areas of operation to excel and for the strategic goals to be met.
• Improve the hiring and onboarding process and staff development program in order to increase retention and satisfaction. This includes continuous improvement of internal processes, infrastructure and management to ensure the successful implementation of the strategic plan.
• “We’re looking to modernize. This includes updating software and hardware, as well as updating older policies and procedures, in order to streamline operations and ensure that staff reaches their full potential,” McNeely said.
• Increase annual revenues to $1.5 million by 2023 to fund the advancement of strategic initiatives and improve membership experience. In addition to this, a long-term solution for the LMTA Office that provides adequate space, amenities and resources must be identified as the organization moves forward with this strategic vision.
3. MEMBERSHIP GROWTH
“LMTA is its members,” McNeely said. LMTA’s membership base drives the fiscal health, reach, visibility, political influence and reputation of the organization. Members pay dues, serve on committees and the Board, provide resources, attract new members and act as ambassadors for the organization. Simply put, LMTA can do more for the trucking industry if they represent a larger portion of the industry. The quality and quantity of the membership base are the driving forces behind LMTA’s ability to fulfill its mission and achieve its vision.
• Dramatically increase the size of the organization to allow access to more resources and expand reach and reputation. The goal is not just for a rapid increase in membership, but for sustained growth by making recruitment and retention a priority. “We do not want to be comfortable with the status quo,” McNeely said.
• Expand geographic reach and percentage of the total trucking companies represented by providing compelling membership benefits to increase growth and retention.
• Help to improve the performance and operations of member companies. By renewing focus on carrier members and overall improvement of LMTA’s membership recruitment strategy, the plan aims to increase total memberships to 600 by 2021 and 750 by 2023.
4. MEMBERSHIP EXPERIENCE
It’s no secret that if folks are happy, they tend to stick around. Membership retention is directly correlated to membership satisfaction. This satisfaction is driven by the experience LMTA offers. The sheer diversity of LMTA’s membership, which includes fleet companies as well as individual drivers, makes it no small feat to meet the needs of each member. To address these challenges, LMTA strives to provide many opportunities for members to get involved in the association’s operations, expand their professional network, and gain new skills through an expanded education and training program. To achieve long term affinity, the rallying cry that should spur all members is the momentous importance of promoting the trucking industry and addressing the critical issues that face it.
To support the membership experience, the strategic plan features several established goals and priorities to improve membership retention, participation and satisfaction.
• Increasing engagement with younger members in order to cultivate the next generation of leaders, as well as providing meaningful educational opportunities, events and partnerships for all members.
• By improving marketing and communication efforts and infrastructure, LMTA can ensure that the association remains relevant and can effectively reach its target audiences.
• McNeely wants to make sure that the LMTA of the future very clearly answers the important question: “What do I get when I am a member?” The strategic plan includes data and analytics that allow for improved and ongoing assessment of membership satisfaction. Ultimately, LMTA aims to reach 90% membership retention rate by 2023.
5. GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
As most Louisiana trucking professionals know, the industry has long endured political issues that hinder its prosperity. “Everything that you own has been on a truck,” said McNeely, “and people seem to forget that.” It is paramount that LMTA be able to successfully advocate for legislation that promotes the goals of the trucking industry. Governmental affairs determine the future of this industry, and LMTA’s involvement in policy is “among the most important aspects” of the new strategic plan, according to McNeely.
The state legislature is often chaotic and unpredictable, with priorities and people changing on a regular basis. It is important that LMTA stay current and relevant. Fortunately, LMTA has a good team in place with valuable governmental experience that will help the organization navigate the changing landscape.
• Legislative goals include prioritization of highway funding, tort reform to stabilize the commercial liability insurance market, and added funds for initiatives to improve education and workforce development efforts.
• Rename and develop a plan for the Governmental Affairs Committee to outline a long-term political strategy and ensure maximum operational efficacy.
• LMTA looks to improve the entire trucking industry’s impact by sponsoring a positive and proactive public relations campaign.
THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA FOR LMTA
It’s the beginning of a new era for the Louisiana Motor Transport Association. Under the guidance of a new Executive Director, the company will adopt a comprehensive roadmap to realize its full potential beginning in 2019. The success of this strategic plan lies in the hours of work and planning that preceded its implementation, as well as its built-in ability to evolve as needed. “A plan with lofty goals and no strategy is setting the staff up to fail,” McNeely said. To ensure its success, this plan has been constructed to allow for it to be adapted to the ever-changing needs of LMTA and the trucking industry.
Emergent Method designed three key “mile-markers” for the LMTA to evaluate its progress in achieving the goals of the strategic plan. These include a “performance scorecard” with performance metrics tailored to each section of the organization; this will used to update the Board and section heads in meetings. Each year, these scorecards will be updated for relevancy to the strategic plan. The second mile-marker is consistent feedback from all areas of the organization and trucking community, and the third marker involves regular assessment of all staff and board members.
To kick off the new strategic plan, Chance McNeely has organized the first ever “Winter Management Summit” to be held in Shreveport-Bossier from February 11-13 2019, with the purpose of introducing the strategy and assigning roles for the execution of that strategy. The goal is to make sure that everyone understands how to implement the vision. “For this strategy to work, we need all hands on deck,” said McNeely.
Under these exciting developments, the LMTA will serve as a tenacious force within the trucking industry, constantly improving its services and assuming a leadership role. By regularly listening to and surveying members, staff and the board, and collecting feedback from key stakeholder groups and market research, LMTA will assume the mantle as the voice of the trucking industry — a voice that will be heard loud and clear for years to come.