Recent Meeting Focused on Training from CEO Perspective 

Panelists Joe Poehling, Don Maloney, and Jeff New.

The ASA Training Council recently held it third successful two-day meeting.  Participants from around the nation gained insight into real world experiences at the hands of CEOs from some of the industry’s most progressive and accomplished wholesale distributors.  

The meeting brought owners face-to-face with trainers and HR managers, where they shared thoughts and strategic vision of training within their companies through a panel discussion and Q&A session with participants. The intimate setting provided the group of 24 individuals valuable information as presented by panelistsJoel Becker, President, Torrington Supply Company in Waterbury, Connecticut;Don Maloney, President, Coburn Supply Company in Beaumont, Texas;Jeff New, President of Mid-City Supply Co in Elkhart, Indiana; andJoe Poehling, President, First Supply in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

As part of the program, attendees break up into networking roundtables to discus topics and situations common to all, and map out ideas and solutions.

Posed with questions such as the challenges of training their workforce to measuring the ROI of training in their businesses, the panelists all agreed that in this challenging economy training not only is an investment in employees, but also in customers.  “Cutting price isn’t the answer to staying competitive.  The knowledge of our employees and the service we can provide that our competitor can’t is what gives us the advantage.  That comes from training – it makes our employees better and our customers more satisfied and likely to stay our customers,” shared one panelist.

In addition, the leaders expounded on the following:
  • Training sends a message of excellence to customers, and shows the company's commitment to employees. In addition, it shows employment candidates that the company is committed to a quality staff.

  • Training helps in error reduction, improves productivity and keeps the customer happy.

  • Training rounds out the entire scope of the company business – when an employee says "thank you - now it makes sense" - this improves the quality and efficiency of the workforce and a company’s ROI.

  • Training provides employee confidence, which translates into better customer service.  Profits follow.

Attendees from both manufacturing and wholesale companies participate in sharing their real life work experience with others from across the United States.

Day Two of the event was dedicated to participant-driven topics discussed in a roundtable setting.  This valuable information exchange allowed the attendees to learn how others in their position were able to confront challenges and implement change.

Comments from those in attendance highlight the value of the ASA Training Council program:

 "Oh wow - I am once again filled to the brim with training ideas, suggestions and take-a ways for my company.  This opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned is invaluable."

  "This is the first time real life examples were integrated into a program I attended."

  "It was an amazing experience to hear the top leaders of our industry share how important training is to the success of their companies.  The roundtables and networking discussions provided me with several ideas that I can implement immediately at my company."

The ASA Training Council is a professional peer networking group open to any individual involved with training at an ASA member wholesaler or manufacturer.  The next council meeting will be held in Louisville, Kentucky August 11 - 12, 2009 and will be devoted to topics relating to “training the trainer.”

For more information on this or any of ASA’s other Professional Peer Networking Councils (Showroom Managers, Warehouse & Operations, CFOs), please contact Ruth Mitchell, ASA at 312-464-0090 ext. 210