What will the ASA member look like in 2027 as they face the onslaught of rapid and uncertain change from customer demands driven by technology that changes at exponential rates and from a dramatically shrinking labor pool that places unprecedented demand on members as they seek to fill critical job vacancies? Back in December and again in January, the American Supply Association convened a small group of thought leaders to dive deep into the critical issues that members will face over the coming decade and to present their findings to the association’s Strategic Leadership Team. Taking the findings from the Think Tank sessions, nearly 70 volunteers dove deep into numerous issues from developing our human capital, how to stay ahead of technology that becomes outdated as soon as it is implemented and identifying a life-cycle spectrum of a distributor and how the association can serve the wide-ranging needs of a membership with limited resources to move them forward in uncertain times.
Debating the issues
Members openly debated the issues that are putting the relevance of our members’ futures at risk. The most significant included the speed of change of a disruptive technology; the dramatic shift of customer needs and requirements; the concentration of power due to a consolidating industry; a dramatic loss of institutional knowledge from the retiring of nearly half the industry’s labor force; greater political and institutional polarization from established government structure, and aggressive competition of channel partners and threats from non-traditional channel disrupters.
Building One Future
A bold vision began to emerge during the two days of strategic give and take that has become the mantra of Building One Future. To move forward, the association will convene strategic focus groups, each concentrating on the most pressing issues, how best to solve those problems facing our members, identify the funding needed and how to measure our success over the coming years. Ten years ago at the first planning retreat, the volunteers who participated looked far into the future to assess the possible threats that the members would face in that future. Today, the leadership once again has looked far into the future to identify the threats that we must meet head on. As the only organization uniquely positioned to unite the industry into a focused force for change, ASA is unified in stepping forward to meet