Dear Industry Colleagues,
my January letter, I indicated that ASA has taken great strides in improving
upon all four of its key strategic initiatives (Benchmarking, Networking,
Advocacy and Education) during these past few years of tremendous growth. With
that in mind, Benchmarking is the key initiative that we would like to see ASA
expand upon most in the new year, with a keen interest specifically in the area
of forecasting. Our leadership specifically visualizes developing ASA’s
benchmarking tools into a forward-looking forecasting model in 2012.
Most of us know that ASA does a great job of providing information on what is currently
happening in our industry. Those members who participate in and
take advantage of ASA’s valuable Benchmarking tools such as the Monthly
Sales Report, Operating Performance Report, IPD Commodity Report,
Materials Market Digest and others can attest to that statement.
Because of the positive feedback that we have received as a result of offering
these tools, a strong Forecasting Task Force has been
put into place to give us the opportunity to provide knowledge on what is about
Forecasting has always been an important part of any business model. Traditionally,
the concept has been based on face-to-face meetings and common-sense thinking
coupled with analysis of trends within an industry. In recent years, however,
the concept has developed into a much more scientific endeavor, with a host of
methods and techniques designed specifically for forecasting certain types of
data. With the development of information technology and the Internet, many
companies have invested an abundance of time and money in adopting
sophisticated software and technologies into their own forecasting models, many
times, at the end of the day with the question, “Will this
One of the driving purposes of our newly formed Forecasting Task
Force is to allow you and your company to avoid the headache,
expense and uncertainty of having to do all of this work yourself. With the
pool of resources that ASA has available, it only makes sense that we provide
regular industry forecasting reports just as we have done with the Benchmarking
reports. How do we do this? The system is already in place and working
Our first task force meeting took place in the fall at NetworkASA 2011.
Specifically, we have set out to parse data by industry segment including PVF,
Plumbing, Hydronics, etc. The next step will be to create a prediction model,
as mentioned above, that will allow ASA to become the
industry forecasting expert. We can do this by collaborating with each other,
sharing information and exhausting all of the resources that we have available.
Moving forward, this will involve: a.) generating
interest and participation; b.) making our reporting
customizable; and c.) ultimately, making the reports
accurate and indispensable.
We know that our Forecasting Task Force has set
ambitious goals. We also know that this is an ambitious time for ASA and our
industry, so the timing is perfect. What better time to reemerge as
indispensable? Let’s get to work and keep the ball rolling!
APR Supply Co.
Letter From The ASA President - The value of forecasting
February 1, 2012