It might've been Valentine's Day, but that didn't stop the dedicated group of volunteers who make up ASA's Vendor Member Division Executive Council, from coming to Chicago to an all-day planning meeting February 14th.

The Council (see list below) meets twice a year and provides leadership for the 170+ manufacturer and manufacturers rep members of ASA. In the past, this group has generated such high-profile and respected projects as “Action Plan 2003” and the study entitled “High Performance Partnering” that focused on profitable supply chain partnerships between wholesalers and manufacturers.

It's to this group that ASA's Board of Directors turns when it needs input from manufacturers and reps in key areas of ASA's activities, such as the ISH North America trade show. In spite of the fact that ASA's Board of Directors currently has 7 of its 25 members from the VMD (6 manufacturers and 1 rep), the full VMD Board is often consulted when new ideas are being presented. The VMD Council members, for example, were involved as a focus group to help make the current “Network '05” schedule more accommodating to the industry's needs. (subhead) New VMD Program Slated for “Network '05” In order to continue to grow the value of membership in VMD, the Council members are designing a new program that will debut in Orlando on September 8th. Similar to the wholesaler-oriented “Meet the Pros” concept that has been popular in past conventions, VMD members will set up volunteer Discussion Leaders, who will host informal discussions on key topics of interest to manufacturers and their sales reps.

This roundtable format will be carefully designed to encourage networking among manufacturers, and potential competitive issues will be strictly avoided. Nevertheless, there is much to be gained, according to the VMD Council members, from having non-competitors talk to one another about issues such as warranties, torts and liability, forecasting, warehousing and operations, and much more.

Stay “tuned” for additional details.