ASA: An indispensable tool in the supplier survival kit
The American Supply Association (ASA) markets itself as “an INDISPENSABLE resource, committed to giving its members the ABILITY to adapt, grow and succeed.” Right now, “adapt” is the key word in this commitment, because if you fail to do so, growth and success will be beyond your reach. So how does one adapt? Awareness and ASA’s tools and events help its members identify, prepare and adapt to the changes ahead.
Members of ASA, by and large, are aware of the current trends that threaten their businesses. Toward the top of the list are the big-box retail stores that are aggressively chasing your customers with promises of helping them grow their businesses with ease of access and wholesale-like support and services. In this effort, giants like Home Depot and Lowe’s are successfully blurring the lines between wholesale and retail in the eyes of many contractors, and these once-wholesale loyal customers are opting for the convenience, competitive pricing and in-store and online services that these companies are bringing to the table. To put some scale to this challenge, CNBC recently reported that Lowe’s added 35,000 pro customers in one quarter alone and Home Depot has already reached 1 million pro customers.
Another key element to the box store success is that many once wholesale/trade-only manufacturers have split their loyalties by selling through both wholesale and retail distribution. While some in our industry find it unsettling, the fact of the matter is that these manufacturers are successfully capturing contractor business on both sides of the fence. And what every ASA member needs to be aware of is that we must look at this as a real here-to-stay threat and not a fad.
Bradford White remains steadfast in its support of the PHCP supplier community and will continue to evolve with you to ensure your survival and success. In fact, we are preparing to announce a change to our online sales policy, which will provide suppliers with the opportunity to sell Bradford White products online to their contractor customers. Key to this decision was the growing demand by our plumbing wholesale customers, many of whom are ASA members, to sell their complete lines through e-commerce. Also, by instituting an online sales policy and IMAP, we will be better able to address unauthorized online vendors who are already selling our products in a way that we believe is not in the best interest of the plumbing wholesale community or professional installers and their customers.
In recent years, hardly a week goes by that an industry publication doesn’t highlight a PHCP wholesaler being acquired or even closing its doors. Some are by choice, but others simply failed to adapt to the dynamic level of change in our industry, evolving customer needs or the changing face of their competition. To adapt, you must be aware, and if you are aware, you must adapt.
A great place to start that process is with the American Supply Association. To begin your adaptability journey with ASA, consider:
The long view: ASA’s Adapt Your Ability: Strategic Long-Range Plan provides three- to five-year and 10- to 30-year planning horizons. Don’t treat this report as a thumb-through. It is a must-read to align your company’s goals with ASA’s strategic industry vision. (And if you haven’t created your plan, this serves as an example of where to start.)
The services: ASA’s array of services (think of them as opportunities) helps with your future adaptability. Whether it’s the courses in ASA University, plotting strategic moves with data-driven business intelligence, projecting advocacy with a united voice or the business glue of networking, the choices are broad and relevant.
At NETWORK 2019, we commemorate ASA’s 50th anniversary, demonstrative evidence of its stability, adaptability and progress, undergirded by membership loyalty.
Consider bundling ASA’s offerings as your compass for adaptability. If you do, you too might be around for another 50 years.Compelling