When the UMA board of directors recently held strategic planning discussions, the group voted to add “inclusion” and “integrity” to the list of core values driving the association, noting these characteristics have always been hallmarks of what makes the United Motorcoach Association special.
The UMA’s other core values are Member-Focused, Relationships/Partnerships, Safety and Pro-Small Business.
Inclusion reflects UMA’s commitment to being welcoming to all groups, whether school bus operators, line run, large, small, women-owned, or from different ethnic backgrounds.
“Because we are inclusive, we always welcome large fleet companies, as well, and many of our Members have grown from one motorcoach into substantial operations. But, at our core, UMA represents hundreds of small, mostly family-owned businesses who form the heart of the motorcoach industry,” UMA President and CEO Scott Michael wrote in a series of columns in UMA’s New Flash about the organization’s core values.
He wrote that UMA provides many opportunities throughout the year to help Members with their businesses. The UMA Motorcoach EXPO, for example, provides small businesses a one-stop opportunity to meet with industry vendors under one roof. The organization also has negotiated special UMA Member discounts from industry vendors, allowing them to take advantage of the industry’s buying power for products and services.
UMA culture and role
Adding integrity to the core values was driven by strategic discussions about the culture and role of UMA. The board of directors kept coming back to the importance of acting with integrity. UMA Members truly value relationships with their fellow operators and long-term customers, relationships that are built on a foundation of trust that the other party is acting with integrity.
Michael noted that a recent UMA Town Hall illustrated the point when an operator provided an example highlighting working with their competitors to coordinate large jobs.
“The comments we receive here at UMA when a UMA Member bails another UMA Member out when a breakdown happens speak volumes to the integrity of these Member companies,” Michael wrote.
In recent months, there have been numerous examples of school groups and other customers hiring a company to furnish transportation and then failing to show up. In many cases, it was discovered they hired a broker rather than an actual motorcoach company, though there have been operators who also were unable to meet their commitments.
“These stories give the industry a black eye, and we want to ensure customers the industry can provide the service as promised,” wrote Michael. “UMA concludes that brokers and operators need to be upfront with their customers about the service they are providing and inform them in a timely manner when problems arise. In other words, acting with integrity.”