During last month's ASA Industry Summit, facilitator Mike Marks warned wholesalers of the futility of data-free discussions in which platitudes are exchanged free from the concrete productivity of hard numbers. Wholesalers who train their employees in the "Essentials of Profitable PHCP Distribution" have taken an important first step in building smart business capable of making more money for the company. The logical follow up to basic business literacy comes in holding data-rich discussions that use a company's critical numbers in comparison with industry averages to improve performance and put employees on a continuous learning track.

ASA's Operating Performance Report (OPR) is a superb tool for ongoing critical number education and performance improvement. The OPR provides a complete, easy-to-use study of comparative performance results for wholesale distributors in the PHCP and industrial PVF industries. Compiled annually by Industry Insights, Inc., this report is based upon a confidential survey of ASA members and represents a thorough and accurate financial analysis of the PHCP and PVF wholesale distribution industry. The OPR includes financial ratios and statistics grouped by product category, sales volume and high-profit firms to help you and your team pinpoint operational strengths and weaknesses. It's a valuable resource for any wholesaler. Since many ASA member firms already participate in the survey, using this tool is a logical and inexpensive strategy in building business competency. For descriptive and ordering information, go to http://www.asaef.org/tools.asp#OPR-02.

If you are not a participant in the OPR program and would like to participate in 2004, please contact bburdiak@asa.net.