Every quarter I prepare a report for my board of directors on the state of our business, the state of our industry and an outlook on the future.

Every quarter the first thing I do to put together that report is to pull down the most recent ASA Monthly Economic Report and Monthly Sales Report from (both are readily available in the Business Intelligence section of the MyASA members’ only portal at www.asa.net).

Nothing gives me better insight to the state of our industry and where the industry is headed. If you’re not leveraging these reports, or at least consulting them for your own knowledge, you’re not realizing the power of the potential of your ASA membership.

I have to admit that ASA is in my blood. I am not only the second member of the family to be ASA president, but the third. Yet, I have to admit even I didn’t fully grasp the depth and breadth of the business intelligence resources available to me from ASA. If you are not engaging with ASA business intelligence, start now. It will be indispensable to the prosperity of your business.

The tools and resources are incredible. For example:

OPR (Operating Performance Report): The gold standard. The classic. The epitome of PHCP-PVF benchmarking. The OPR is in its fourth decade of publication. The OPR provides 70-plus financial datapoints contained in a nearly 100-page book that allows distributors to benchmark across the entire industry — companies of similar sales revenue, specific product categories (plumbing only, PVF only, blended branches, etc.), geographical regions, and, in some circumstances, buying group specific.

  • Monthly Sales Report: My previously aforementioned “quick hitter” that gives distributors a pulse on nine financial categories plus write-in observations about current conditions. Literally, the voice of the industry.
  • IPD Commodities Report: Once a month ASA IPD members provide direct information on nine different metals and plastics categories for a “boots on the ground” report.
  • Economic data from Armada Corporate Intelligence: “Keeping it Real with Dr. Kuehl” podcasts (if you’ve listened you know how much ASA Chief Economist Dr. Chris Kuehl loves this tagline), webinars (Dr. Kuehl does a live economic update webinar for ASA members the third Wednesday of every month), and again the previously aforementioned 20-page Monthly Economic Report have strong attendance providing in-the-moment insight on contemporary topics plus trends, geographic housing numbers, commodities information, etc.
  • Quarterly Market Survey: This newest intelligence report allows distributor members to pose questions to other distributor members for insight on various topics from healthcare and testing for marijuana to work life balance and commission payments. Shoot an email to info@asa.net to receive your free copy.
  • Compensation and Benefits Survey: ASA teams up with other distribution-focused associations every other year to provide a 90-page report, including compensation and benefits specifics on more than 45 different job descriptions from CEO to warehouse. On the off years, ASA conducts smaller surveys, more focused on specific positions such as truck drivers and sales.

The most valuable insight in any of these resources is member participation. If you can do one thing this year to ensure the future strength of our industry, and in turn your business, it is to participate in these reports. Our goal for 2023 is for 33% participation rate for the OPR and 30% for the monthly sales report. We’re knocking on the door of both of those targets and YOUR participation matters. This is how we measure our whole, wide exciting world. Be a part of it.

These best-in-class resources are available today. The ASA Business Intelligence Unit will be conducting a webinar in February to dive into each of these resources and provide additional insight specifically targeted for your finance, planning and analytics teams to fully understand and begin applying them to their insights for business leaders and operators immediately. Please register your teams soon!

But, best-in-class today doesn’t ensure best-in-class in the future. ASA’s Business Intelligence Task Group has been charged with evaluating ways to enhance our current offerings, and the ASA strategic plan highlights operational excellence as a key tenant.

Every day each of us is challenged to react to an endless stream of information. Regardless of our role in our organizations, we are charged with making decisions based on that information.

Our opportunity is to rise to the occasion of our moment by harnessing the power of our collective analysis to forge the optimal path forward as an industry ensuring the prosperity of our businesses and our shared future.

Contact ASA Manager of Data and Market Intelligence Bri Baresel at bbaresel@asa.net to seize the moment.