The best practices roundtable session at the recent 2023 ASA NORTHEAST Summit held at the Hilton Boston Back Bay produced an hour of productive discussions on top-of-mind industry topics.

One popular topic was a discussion on data collection throughout the supply chain. "Collection, flow, format, degrees of sharing up and down the market pathway was big for manufacturers because they are always being asked from above for forecasting and outlook," one table captain noted.

Another table captain reported wholesale forecasting "is still not stable or accurate."

The consensus in the room of about 100 roundtable attendees was that supply chain issues certainly have improved, but there are still hiccups depending on the segment.

"There are still issues getting certain products/SKUs," one table captain wrote in his report. "Commodities have gotten more ‘realistic’ and have come back to earth."

"Supply chain management has gotten smoother than it was last year," another table captain noted. "However, there are still plenty of bumps in the road."

That same table captain cautioned against reduced inventories. "You can’t pare back inventory or you will lose orders," he said. "Someone else will have it."

Another discussion centered on path to market where one showroom-focused attendee noted their showroom operation has seen but a small impact from the internet. "Their big focus is on the project and not on the single toilet faucet or shower valve," the table captain wrote.

In terms of marketing, one table had discussions on the use of text messaging for promos, as well as utilizing e-blasts to reach customers, while another table talked best practices with social media. "Everyone still seems to be trying to figure out how to effectively use social media and how to measure what value it provides," a table captain stated.

Product theft, order fraud and cyber security also were topics of discussion at another roundtable.

After the roundtable session, a live group debrief was held where all table captains shared key discussion points with attendees. All ASA NORTHEAST Summit attendees will receive a comprehensive report on all discussion points in the coming weeks.

Other highlights of the ASA NORTHEAST Summit included a opening-evening networking event at historic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, talks from ASA Chief Economist Dr. Chris Kuehl and sales and leadership speaker Eric Papp, as well as a state of the industry panel discussion that featured a mechanical contractor, a plumbing contractor, a Boston-area designer and a showroom leader.

The 2023 ASA NORTHEAST Summit saw increases in overall attendance and attendance from member distributor firms, as well as massive sponsorship support of the event.