By the time you read this, ASA’s annual convention, NetworkASA 2011, will have been completed and plans will already be in the works for next year’s event, to be held October 17-20, 2012, at Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando.

Dear Industry Colleagues,

By the time you read this, ASA’s annual convention,NetworkASA 2011, will have been completed and plans will already be in the works for next year’s event, to be held October 17-20, 2012, at Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando. For all those who were able to attend NetworkASA 2011, I’d like to begin this month’s letter by personally thanking you for your participation. I trust you were able to come away from the event with many valuable resources, a renewed and refreshed industry outlook and abundant opportunities to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. 

Speaking of resources, throughout my time as ASA President I have continually stressed the importance of decision-making as it relates to the successful operation of our businesses. In order to make many of those important decisions, we first need to analyze data and assess risk. How can this be done, specifically in our industry, on a consistent basis? One answer is quite simple. By utilizing ASA’sIndustry Intelligence Report. Since January 2009, ASA has produced this monthly sales report that documents trends in sales, inventory and employment in the PHCP and PVF wholesale distribution industry on a national level. This is the only report of its kind. If you participate in the report by sharing your data and using the information that is produced as a result, you are well-prepared to make those difficult decisions. If you do not participate, you are not as prepared as you could be.

Regardless of business flow, the economy or any other factors that dictate how we run our businesses, the best benchmark currently available to you is ASA’s monthly sales report.

Each month, ASA invites all of its member wholesaler-distributors to participate in this report by completing a confidential survey on sales (both month-to-month and calendar year-to-date), inventory levels, three months average DSOs, and year-to-date profit before taxes. Typically, the participation deadline is the eighth business day of the month and the report is available within four business days. The report provides a breakdown of the data across different sales volumes, industry segments, regions and specific state/metropolitan market areas.

I would like to encourage your involvement by requesting that every company currently not submitting their data for theIndustry Intelligence Reportconsider doing so for the rest of 2011 and into 2012. It costs absolutely nothing to participate - it is a member benefit provided to ASA members through their dues. The resulting report is availablefreeto all ASA members who submit their data. With a 15-minute investment each month, you can compare how your company “stacks up” to others on key items such as sales, gross margin, inventory and headcount.

As it stands now, the currentIndustry Intelligence Reportis excellent. The fact is that it could become even better with more participation. The quality of the information can improve for everyone if we all participate. Not only does this contribute to making the industry stronger, but it also makes you proactive in your everyday decision making! Taking risks and making decisions based on limited information might work for some, but there is absolutely no reason to do so when such a valuable resource is openly available. To achieve business success in today’s up-and-down world, make sure you have the appropriate data to help you prosper. Contact Chris Murin at ASA at (312) 464-0090, x204 or atcmurin@asa.netfor more information on theIndustry Intelligence Reportand any of the other ASA benchmarking reports. Tell him I sent you!

Billy Kenny
Kenny Pipe & Supply