At the end of January, nearly 90 volunteers from the ASA board, strategic councils and special interest divisions gathered at the 2024 LEAD strategic planning meeting.

We discussed strategic initiatives, challenges, and opportunities the PHCP and PVF distribution industry will face (or is facing) for the next 5 to 10 years. Most importantly, we strategized how ASA’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and leadership can define our industry, association and our members’ future success.

As leaders within the American Supply Association, we recognize that everything isn’t status quo within our collective industry. Within the demographic shifts in the workplace and the ever-changing marketplace, there are significant challenges, but also opportunities to explore to remain a viable entity, ensuring relevance and success.

Strategic imperatives and initiatives

The volunteers focused on many different aspects within our collective industries, and honed in on the key areas they believed could deliver the most significant impact. These areas include shifting demographics, data privacy, environmental regulation, climate change, political engagement, labor market trends, e-commerce growth, technology adoption and cybersecurity.

During two days of productive discussions, your volunteers identified initiatives that ASA will undertake over the next year or two. All ASA members will see these topics are relevant in some way, shape or form to their businesses, and the results of the research will impact the sustainability of the association and will be a resource we can all use in our day-to-day businesses.

The overarching goal of these initiatives is twofold: to secure the association’s position as a leader in addressing global challenges, and to ensure the long-term sustainability and profitability of our member companies. Identifying innovation, enhancing our political and regulatory influence, attracting and developing talent and embracing digital transformation were determined to be core principles that will continue to help all members navigate through current industry complexities, and define the standards of excellence for the future.

ASA’s strategic journey started in 2008 with a clearer vision of the future, one where the PHCP-PVF distribution industry is recognized not only for its economic contributions, but also for its leadership, innovation, sustainability and social responsibility.

Collaboration within the association, across the industry and beyond, were reoccurring themes. The challenges we face are complex and multifaceted, requiring the collective effort, expertise and resources of all stakeholders, as well as inviting leaders at all levels to engage with these initiatives, contribute their insights, and join us in driving meaningful change and speaking and acting with one voice.

Some of the action items coming out of this year’s LEAD Strategic Conference, ASA will engage in:

  • Helping members in their technology and AI journeys — offering unparalleled opportunities for innovation, efficiency, and customer engagement.
  • Safeguarding sensitive data information presents significant challenges and demands our collective attention.
  • Navigating the complex regulatory landscape often is viewed by members as presenting barriers, but can offer unique opportunities for innovation and market expansion as ASA leads in environmental stewardship and consumer protection.
  • Shifting dynamics of the labor market and evolving employee trends is crucial for attracting and retaining talent, ensuring operational efficiency, and maintaining competitiveness.

ASA will present these and the other strategic initiatives coming out of LEAD over the next several months as the work from the conference is digested, streamlined and reported. We are excited to continue our strategic journey that initially began in 2008 with a clearer vision of the future — one where the PHCP and PVF distribution industry is recognized not only for its economic contributions, but also for its leadership in innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility.

The journey ahead is challenging yet filled with opportunity. Together, with the support and engagement of our members and partners, we are poised to navigate this journey, transforming challenges into opportunities, and securing a prosperous future for our industry and our members.