The year has flown by and it’s hard to believe I’m winding down my time as your American Supply Association president.

People are starting to ask me if I’m ready for the term to be over. To be honest, I am. But I wouldn’t have changed the year, the travel or the lessons learned at all. I will always reference this time in my career as one where I learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and now truly understand our industry.

A major theme has emerged over the year — the strong desire for all constituents across the industry to come together to drive it forward and emerge better together. Distributors, manufacturers and manufacturers’ reps want to collaborate.

During this year, significant headway was made when that true desire for collaboration was coupled with a need to develop data standardization in the industry that was identified during the ISAT (issue strategic action teams) projects over the past three years.

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, industry collaboration is a driving force behind innovation, efficiency and the establishment of essential standards. The seamless exchange of information and effective communication between companies is made possible by these cooperative efforts.

Industry collaboration brings together a diverse pool of knowledge, skills and resources. Strong collaboration enables us to tackle complex problems that we could not so easily solve alone. When organizations unite to address common challenges, we can establish standardized frameworks and guidelines for product data management. These shared standards lay the foundation for streamlined processes, enhanced data quality and improved interconnectivity benefiting our companies as well as our customers.

Through these collaborative efforts we can create product data standardization that is increasingly necessary as our world relies more than ever on data-driven decision-making. Manufacturers generate vast amounts of data related to their products, and without a standardized structure, inconsistencies can lead to inefficiencies — making it hard for this data to be utilized — and errors, making it impossible for our customers to rely on it.

Standardization provides a common language and format for organizing, exchanging, and interpreting information, ensuring data accuracy and consistency across the supply chain.

By embracing the principles of collaboration and actively participating in industry-wide standardization efforts, ASA members can position themselves at the forefront of progress and ensure their readiness to face the challenges of a data-driven future.

Industry collaboration is not just a strategic choice but an imperative one for modern businesses. The journey towards product data standardization is a testament to the power of collective effort in fostering innovation, improving efficiency, and ensuring seamless data communication. As industries evolve and become more interconnected, the role of collaboration in shaping standards will continue to grow, ensuring a balanced and data-driven future for all.

ASA will continue to be at the forefront of these efforts as we bring together members to create an industry-wide standard for product data that will be invaluable to the industry.

As the saying goes, if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.

I am thrilled to pass the ASA torch to Patrick Maloney of Coburn Supply, your incoming ASA president. I first met Patrick at my first industry event at the now Emerging Leaders (then Young Execs) meeting in New Orleans many years ago.

Like me, he has the luxury of coming from a business and a family with a line of strong industry leaders. And like me, Patrick represents the next generation of ASA. I know he will drive our key initiatives forward and I am eager to see the great things he will do over the next year.

Patrick, this past year has been an incredible, rewarding and motivating journey. I hope it is for you as well. My one piece of advice to you — save up those frequent flier miles, because also like me, you will owe your family a very lovely vacation at the end of all of this.