Kohler Co.’s continual growth and leadership position in the plumbing industry over the past 140-plus years is due in large part to the many partnerships we have forged with the supplier members of the American Supply Association, an organization dedicated —  like Kohler — to developing its members and advancing the industry as a whole.

Collectively, ASA members and Kohler will succeed more often than not when we are pulling in the same direction to exceed our customers’ expectations. From a manufacturer’s perspective, we want ASA supplier members to help drive a long-term strategic relationship instead of one that is more transactional and short-term. That means Kohler working together with ASA members to develop business plans, improving our supply chain that is best-in-class — one that is efficient, effective and highly productive. And that includes the visual presentation, design and functionality of your showrooms that foster and deliver a memorable and personalized customer experience.

Kohler looks to ASA to be the eyes and ears in the field, understanding and listening to the needs of your diverse base of trade customers and reporting back to us what you’re hearing and needing. We all need to commit to having an open mind and evaluating new strategies to grow our businesses — not resorting to legacy processes and potentially stagnant practices. We need to consider how our coordinated approach together can provide the customer with a superior shopping experience.

In turn, Kohler needs to help generate customer excitement as well, by applying research and driving behaviors to keep our product categories innovative and relevant, and delivering compelling content through pull-through strategies. We also need to continue driving improvements in the supply chain and fulfilling delivery commitments on-time consistently.

Having access to the resources provided by ASA is a valuable tool for trade professionals to help grow their businesses and remain competitive. Additional education provided through manufacturing partners of ASA, like Kohler, can advance this through a better understanding of the newest technologies, innovations and design trends available in the market.

We all need to remain true to who we are as both a business and individual and much of that is embedded in our values. At Kohler, our mission is “to raise the level of gracious living for every person who experiences our products and services.” In supporting that mission daily, we practice a set of Guiding Principles that help propel us toward continued success. Among these principles:

We live on the leading edge of design and technology in product and process. We have a strong aversion to copying, but rather, we lead the market, while not filling it with clutter.

We maintain a single level of quality across all of our product categories from toilets and bathtubs, to kitchen sinks, showerheads and bathroom furniture. Our products differ in materials, in function and in detail, but never in quality.

We invest in our business; specifically 90% of after-tax profits are re-invested in the company. We do this because we support fully the continued development and innovation that stems from investing in research, technology and — most important — our talented employees.

ASA is an important resource for us to stay on the pulse of economic, social and political developments impacting our business. Networking, educational programs, seminars and many more tools provided by ASA further help us to remain competitive. It is significant for Kohler and other companies in our industry to have ASA as a partner in dealing with industry issues, and serving as a conduit in bringing suppliers and manufacturers together to set a course for a more prosperous future.