In the middle of this pandemic, it’s easy to feel alone. Even before COVID-19 changed the world, wholesalers were already grappling with labor shortages and competition from big-box home centers. Then they were hit by the uncertainties caused by COVID-19, the recession the pandemic caused, and a whole new set of issues to deal with.
But wholesalers, you are not alone! You have a valuable partner, the American Supply Association, dedicated to helping you succeed. ASA is committed to a long-term vision of success, and providing the resources to build a prosperous future for its members and the industry.
ASA is aware of the threats to wholesalers like you, such as the big-box retailers going after your customers. Home centers are worthy competitors, but they don’t have the history of the traditional wholesaler’s formula for success.
The pace of change is growing exponentially, and wholesalers have to embrace it to secure a profitable future. ASA’s promise to help members, “adapt, grow and succeed,” sums up the challenges of 2020 and beyond.
In order to compete with big-box stores, wholesalers must make it easy for contractors to buy from them. It’s all about time and convenience. But don’t just sell them products. Be their most valuable resource.
This means helping contractors learn more about the products you sell. Guide them to the training options available through your manufacturers.
Familiarize yourself with the resources available to contractors, and help spread the word. But don’t stop there. Create useful, content-rich information that can benefit contractors, and share it to help them stay current on the latest offerings and innovations that will benefit your contractors and their customers.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The future is challenging, but the industry can still lay the groundwork for success. In a thorough review, ASA assessed the competitive landscape and identified three critical issues that pose threats to wholesalers — and our industry as a whole — in the years ahead: human capital, technology and member spectrum. Now, the association is moving forward on visionary solutions to address those challenges:
Project TALENT is meant to be a significant long-term solution to eliminating the skilled labor gap in the PHCP-PVF industry. This is something we all take seriously. In 2019, ASA signed the Pledge to America’s Workers and committed to train and educate 35,000 employees over the span of five years. The association is planning a national campaign, a careers portal and a careers opportunity toolbox.
Future success means adopting the technological tools to become ever-more efficient. The D.NEXT initiative is meant to empower ASA members to identify and invest in the tools that deliver the best, customer-valued solutions.
Despite the pandemic, ASA moved forward on plans and opened its ASA Innovation Lab at Research Park on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign. The association is committed to providing its members with the resources to plan and implement successful technology transformations.
Success means taking a long, hard look at your business structure to ensure you remain competitive in today’s (and tomorrow’s) marketplace. ASA’s VITALITY initiative is designed to give ASA members of any size the tools and guidance to examine their businesses critically and honestly with the intention to set actionable goals and create strategic plans for the years ahead.
READY TO HELP
To sum it up, it’s a tough, competitive landscape out there for wholesalers. But the good news is if you provide value beyond your product, you will win. Always remember that you don’t have to go it alone. ASA is here for you. So is Bradford White. We’re dedicated to helping. We support the visionary initiatives of ASA. We can all be a part of “Building One Future” together.