As a national trade association that represents the interests of our entire channel, the American Supply Association (ASA) strives to be indispensable to achieving prosperity in our industry even in the face of disruptive technology, social shifts, political and economic headwinds, labor challenges, environmental issues and
other trends.

As your trade association, ASA’s leadership has been driven by a decades-long strategic-planning process that has identified critical areas that demand our focus and resources to support the success of our members. This year, we met once again at our winter board meeting to think strategically about the future of our industry, the long-term viability of our members and the role our association can play in our success in BUILDING

What will the ASA member of 2027 look like? What are the competitive challenges they will face? How rapidly will our industry and the markets we do business in continue to change? In order to define ASA’s future and the value it offers, we realized early at the meeting that in order to survive and thrive, we needed to come together to “Build One Future” through a new pioneering strategic and holistic approach that engages the wisdom and passion our volunteers have for
our industry.

We started our two-day strategic sessions reviewing the tremendous work of a “think tank” project that encompassed two trips to Chicago in December and January where five executives from ASA member distributors did a deep dive on their thoughts about what the future has in store for our industry, what keeps us up at night and what they believe their companies need to do to remain competitive.

Armed with the work of this think tank, 70 volunteers peered into the future at our February strategic leadership meeting, thinking about the trends, threats, disruptions, inflection points and opportunities ahead of us. After two days of hard work in February, we developed a clarity of purpose and a laser-focused strategic vision where we all are mutually aligned and committed to a path that hopefully will deliver a sustainable, relevant and profitable business model for the next generation.


Taking the next step

These two days of planning sessions resulted in the development of three strategic initiatives. ASA has been tasked with developing and implementing effective solutions for these initiatives that will ensure our members remain relevant — today, tomorrow and 10 years into the future. These initiatives are laser-focused on the needs of our members that can be most effectively addressed by ASA rather than by members trying to tackle them on their own.

For the balance of this year, each strategic initiative will be studied by a taskforce made up of forward-thinking volunteers who will work to identify solutions to such game-changing issues as correcting our industry’s critical future labor shortage. Each taskforce will be charged with three goals: to identify a national solution to their issue, to recommend a funding source to finance the attack on their problem and to develop solid, measurable metrics to ensure the plan they have developed “works” and will ultimately guarantee our members a better future.

This work will not be easy. While we will honor the past and those who have worked so hard to put ASA in the tremendous position our association enjoys today, we all must work hard to avoid the pull of legacy that urges us to return to what we always have done because that’s the way we’ve always done it.

The rapid pace of change that is almost incomprehensible demands we think bold, act bold and win the future. The alternative is unthinkable.