A Message from Paul Martin, Executive Vice President of the ASA Education Foundation

Over the past few months, I've enjoyed visiting with the Young Executives group and the members of MwDA to discuss the connection between training their employees and their company's profitability. We concluded that while training may be at the core of improved profitability, it is the complete set of services that ASA and its regions provide that enables training to make such a positive impact on profitability. Here is what we mean.

Tools: The Operating Performance Report provides about two dozen critical ratios that enable members to benchmark their companies against others in the industry, and to identify performance gaps at which training should be targeted. The Industry Data Base, Catalog Builder and other technology tools, when properly implemented through training, save dozens of hours of labor per month while improving marketing and customer service. Other tools provided by ASA's Vendor Members, like the Materials Market Digest, identify improved control and market opportunities.

Training helps make your people smarter about the products you sell, the business you are in and the customers you serve. The Education Foundation continues to increase the number of available programs and improve their quality. It increases the training delivery options by offering seminars, workshops, telephone seminars, CDs and online programming.

Executive Summits and Conventions provide your executive and management team with the latest competitive, marketing and economic intelligence so you do a better job of planning and strategy setting. The networking sessions provide an opportunity for gathering new ideas that can be incorporated into business and new product planning.


In addition to the menu of ASA and Education Foundation programs, other Human Performance Improvement activities are still needed to make training work. That's why, in the very near future, the ASA Education Foundation will introduce a brand-new, three-component Human Performance Improvement Tool Kit. It'll be divided into sections as follows:

  • The first component will provide templates for jobs in distribution, sample descriptions of jobs common to our industry and a matrix of training programs appropriate to those jobs.

  • The second component will provide a template for performance evaluations and a sample evaluation.

  • The third component will include guidelines for developing a new employee orientation program that includes a series of templates and checklists to develop, operate and continuously improve a program.

For more information about the Tool Kit, visit www.asaef.org or contact Paul Martin at 312-464-0090 or pfmartin@asa.net.