The latest news from ASA.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's revised illness and injury recordkeeping standard is now in effect (as of January 1, 2002). According to information from OSHA's website, the change from the regulation (originally written in 1904) was made to "collect better information about the incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses and improve employee awareness and involvement in the recording and reporting of job-related injuries and illnesses."

The list of changes is lengthy, and the new rule now provides for more simplified forms for reporting, added flexibility in the way records are kept, clarification of previously ambiguous terms, among many others.

OSHA is carrying out a major outreach effort to help employers and workers understand the new changes. To that end, it has launched a new page on its website that highlights key provisions and major changes to the rule. The page, at, details training programs and provides various materials designed to aid employers and workers alike.

As a benefit of membership, ASA members who have specific questions can also contact the Association's Washington Affairs office, Kent & O'Connor at 202-223-6222 or email Pat O'Connor at


The IRS has announced the optional standard mileage rate to use for 2002 in computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes. The standard for 2002 will be 36.5 cents/mile for all business miles driven. The rate for 2001 was 34.5 cents.


The coming months offer some great chances for distributors and manufacturers to get together with their trading partners all around the country. ASA urges you to consider attending one or more of these regional events, which focus in on key industry issues and bring people together for valuable networking.

Here are a few highlights from these events. Full program information is available from the respective regional association. Additional programs are in the planning stages, and will be featured here next month.

Calendar of Events

Wholesale Distributors Association

February 28-March 2 Adam's Mark Hotel,

Dallas, Texas

The WDA Convention traditionally offers a great mix of business, education, social and recreational opportunities, and this year will not disappoint. The theme this year is "Winning Drives Attitude" and there are a variety of workshops and presentations designed to bring that message across. The popular booth program will be held again as well.

New this year is a "Business Building Tools Exhibition" with vendors like Palm Pilot, Franklin Covey, Global Positioning Systems, Nextel and others to help attendees learn about new productivity tools for their personal and business use.

Contact Gina Johnston at 505-292-2500 or email wda-opportunity@

Southern Wholesalers Association

March 14-16

Wyndham Palace Resort,

Orlando, Florida

David Kohler, Group President of Kohler Co., will present the Keynote Address at this year's SWA Convention, focusing on the latest industry trends. He'll join noted showroom expert Hank Darlington and the industry's technology guru Joel Becker on the educational program; both will focus on profitability.

In addition to these thought-provoking sessions, there will be plenty of time for privately-held meetings, a conference booth program, and hospitalities. A reception and awards dinner will wind up the event on Saturday evening.

Contact Frank Rizzo at 770-534-1155 or email

Western Suppliers Association

May 2-5

Grand Wailea Resort, Maui, Hawaii

WSA is extending an invitation to all members from around the country to attend this grand 50th Anniversary celebration of their association. Their program combines a great business agenda, featuring Mike Workman, Ph.D., with outstanding social events and entertainment.

The Grand Wailea Resort is a 5-star hotel with a beautiful beach, 2,000-foot riverpool with valleys, water slides, waterfalls, caves, and more. The rooms are generously sized and magnificently appointed. WSA has negotiated a substantially reduced room rate, and airlines are also offering good deals to Hawaii.

For information contact Meg or Paul Davis at 800-752-8833 or email

For a full calendar of industry events, visit or call 312-464-0090.

The Cost of Not Training

During the Facing the Forces of Change workshop at the recent ASA Convention, participating ASA leaders identified Margin Pressure as the trend expected to cause the most industry pain in 2002.

Assuming our leaders are right, there will be little flexibility to raise prices. Instead there will be tremendous pressure to control costs. And, while training is defined as a cost from the accounting standpoint, employees committing errors and missing opportunities are major factors in raising costs and decimating the bottom line. In short, smart costs a lot less than dumb.

It also seems that the higher the level of employee the more expensive the errors. At a 3% net profit before taxes (which is slightly higher than the average ASA member company profit of 2.8%), it takes 33.33 times the cost of an error in new sales to replace the lost profit.

On the positive side, trained sales reps target the most profitable customers, are better at avoiding the price discussion trap and give away fewer additional discounts. Trained supervisors help reduce turnover. Trained employees make fewer product errors.

The ASA Operating Performance Report also tells us that the higher profit firms (4.9%) train more than the average firm. They enjoy higher sales per employee and lower selling expenses. One obvious implication of the higher profit is that when an error does occur, it takes fewer new sales to make up for the error.

Consider the following:

Error New sales required

Clerk loses $.99 pen $32.67

Warehouse person breaks $50 toilet $1,666.50

Delivery callback at $60 $1,999.80

Sexual harassment settlement of $10,000 $333,000.00

Turnover caused by poor supervisor of an experienced $500,000.00

$30,000 employee (1/2 annual salary)

ASA Education Foundation

The Foundation provides several product knowledge programs to help employees become more effective partners in controlling costs and avoiding product errors. Video programs are also available for inside sales, sales management and customer service personnel.

The Foundation is currently developing an introductory program that explains the business of distribution for new employees. It will help them understand the procedures and numbers that drive your business and their power as individuals to help control costs.

Our most popular and profit enhancing program for early and middle managers, the Institute for Distribution Management, is now open for registration.

Institute for Distribution Management 2002

The Institute of Distribution Management 2002 is ready to go for March 24-27, in Indianapolis. This three-day, 12-workshop institute will improve critical technical and management skills for sales reps and sales managers, warehouse managers, purchasing managers, operations and branch managers. While there are many individual seminars and generic distribution institutes available, IDM2002 is the only PHCP/Industrial Distribution Specific Institute.

This is your best opportunity to provide your managers and manager candidates with 3 days of access to our industry's top trainers, an award winning industry chief executive and solution-sharing opportunities with over 80 colleagues with a total of over 1000 years of industry experience.

Some of this year's workshops and leaders include:

  • Dave Gleason: Building the Ideal Sales Team

  • John Carroll:Winning with Open Book Management

  • Scott Stratman: Inventory Management and Branch Management

  • Dr. Kathy Newton: Personnel Productivity and New Strategies for Marketing

  • Jeff Blackman: Opportunity Selling and Results: The Name of the Game

  • Joel Becker: Improving Profits, Productivity and Customer Satisfaction

Discounts for multiple registrants from the same company as well as donors to the Education Foundation Endowment Fund can significantly reduce your costs and improve the value of the institute for your company.

For a program description and registration form you can fax to ASA, or go to If you need help selecting the courses/workshops, please call us at 312-464-0090 and we will be happy to help.

Tell Us What You Need

Within the next several weeks, ASA members will receive a questionnaire from the Education Foundation concerning their training practices and needs. We will use this research to focus your Foundation's programs on the business results and issues that will help you control costs and address other pressing needs.

While the research will help with some program and strategic direction, we would be pleased to hear any suggestions or receive feedback on any of our programs at any time.


A group of volunteers is expected to meet in January to create a detailed plan for developing our industry's standard numbering database. ASA has assembled a group of about 15 technology experts representing distribution firms, manufacturers and software vendors. It'll be their job to determine how the database will be constructed, what fields it will contain, how it will be accessed by distributors, and what is the most appropriate and efficient way to get manufacturers to submit information on a timely/regular basis. A partial list of those invited to participate includes:

Scott Ellenson, NxTrend

David Hillebrand, Kohler Co.

Kevin Hoyle, Shannon Systems

Diane Krill, Nibco, Inc.

Doug Levin, Prophet 21

Kevin McBride, Anvil International

Larry Mohr, F.W. Webb Co.

Jean Preston, Noland Company

Scott Raderstorf, Eclipse, Inc.

Rick Schwartz, Winnelson

Robert Stichweh, Consultant

Tony Watson, Ferguson Enterprises


Eclipse enterprise software, a well-known solutions provider in the PHCP distribution industry, has made the generous offer to ASA of supplying needed hardware and software to support the association's initiative to build an industry standard product database. Eclipse's PDW or Product Data Warehouse will form the foundation for the data and content repository.

Within this framework, the Database Task Force and ASA's Center for Advancing Technology will work with manufacturers to acquire, index, and store mission-critical product information which will be made available to subscribing distributors on a 7/24 basis. Distributors will be able to download, via the Internet, product information such as UPC codes, pricing, packaging details, as well as rich content such as catalog sheets and images.


Seventeen new manufacturers were added to Source ASA+ in 2001. In addition, 15 more are expected to be added over the next 3 months, bringing to 86 the total number of vendors whose catalog pages and information are included in the program.

There are 7,708 pages now available in the on-line/CD catalog, which includes 120,949 SKUs within Source and 230,986 on the Data Tab feature of the program.

Contact the Center for Advancing Technology for more information at 800-608-7308 or email


We've added some new reports and other resources to the ASA website! Visit, and download interesting and valuable content. For example:

"Supplier Excellence Criteria - Supply chain performance benchmarks in the PHCP industry," the result of a study done this year by ASA's Associate Membership and Industrial Piping Divisions.

"Supply Chain Case Studies" - The "perfect" order, EDI cost savings, VMI and supply chain collaboration explained by those who successfully implemented these strategies.

"Winning Strategies in a Consolidating PHCP Industry" - A customized report prepared for wholesalers and manufacturers in this industry by Adam Fein, Ph.D. of Pembroke Consulting, author of NAW DREF's "Facing the Forces of Change" in 2001.

And, for a comprehensive recap of what ASA offered to its members in 2001, download "Your Association in 2001." More valuable reports and other tools will continue to be added to benefit ASA members.