Dear Industry Colleagues,

Last year, ASA’s Board of Directors redid ASA’s long-range strategic plan from scratch. I have the privilege of being president in the first full year of employing the goals and strategies of this plan. A lot of hard work produced five vital goals, with specific strategies with a five-year planning horizon on how to achieve them. All of which carry a common intent - make ASA members strong in a successful and powerful industry no matter what the environment in which they have to navigate.

The five goals are:

  • Business Success.
  • An Educated Industry.
  • A Unified Voice.
  • Social Responsibility.
  • A Capacity To Serve.

    In the upcoming months I will be reviewing all of the goals, where we currently stand on each, how  you can help our industry remain strong, and what each of us can do to help our industry achieve these goals.

    This month I will review a Capacity to Serve goal in which ASA membership will include all supply chain partners.

    Today’s consumer has many options in how they would like to acquire the products and services they want in their lives. To ensure we deliver the best channel of distribution it only makes sense everyone in the channel come together to address how we can improve our industry, which today stands at 75,000 professionals and $69 billion in revenues.

    Today, ASA includes very vibrant manufacturing (VMD) and wholesaler divisions. We are also working very closely with AIM/R to make sure the manufacturers representatives have an increasingly strong role within the industry. This year we have reached out to buying groups through cooperative agreements where we share each of our unique strengths for the benefit of all of our members. 

    This greater understanding between all of these entities that make up our supply chain will ultimately lead to a stronger and more profitable channel for everyone involved. There are high-priority objectives that go along with this goal and ASA has parlayed the power of our existing and newly developed relationships into pro-active strategies to achieve them. 

    One is increased recognition and desirability of ASA’s products and services. In ASA News, the Education Foundation reports that sales have increased in the past 30 days. Hits on the ASA Web site have grown every month for the last 12 months. Participation in ASA’s benchmarking reports has reached an all-time high. ASA members are more aware than ever before of the products and services that ASA has to help our members succeed.

    Another objective set by the Board is to provide networking opportunities for supply chain partners. ASA’s Professional Peer Networking Councils provide a venue where people in the same job functions at distributors, manufacturers and rep agencies can come together to discuss challenges and share strategies. Also, ASA News shares highlights of the 2009 Spring Forum and discusses how the Young Executives Division plans to increase networking opportunities throughout the year. And, of course, there is NetworkASA 2009, which contains two new events providing vendors and distributors new ways to network.

    Finally, ASA continues to advocate on issues important to supply chain partners through the annual Legislative Fly-In, coalitions and the Capitol Hill Visits for all NetworkASA 2009 attendees.

    It has been my privilege to serve as president during this exciting time. I love it when a plan comes together.

    Joe Poehling