2014 WIT conference

Modern Supply President and COO Dottie Ramsey tapes a video centering on WIT’s 40th anniversary during the buying group’s 2014 Distributor/Vendor Conference in Dallas. Photo by Bob Miodonski/Supply House Times.

Almost 700 attendees participated in 5,880 scheduled meetings April 1-3 during WIT & Co.’s 2014 Distributor/Vendor Conference in Dallas.

“To ensure that our distributors and vendors got a higher percentage of the meetings they requested over a shorter time frame, we essentially condensed the meeting,” WIT Executive Vice President and COO Charlie Moorhead told Supply House Times during the event’s second day. “We reduced the number of vendor-distributor meetings with the idea of making them more productive and more efficient from a scheduling standpoint. The best we can tell so far, it has been a success.”

Post-conference survey results show 95% positive reviews on the overall value received from the conference for those who attended. The event covered 2 1/2 days, down from what once was a 4 1/2-day meeting, Moorhead said.

Besides the individual meetings, the conference featured a panel discussion for purchasing agents and awards presentations for distributors and vendors. The panel of WIT vendor partners consisted of Don Waugaman (Charlotte Pipe & Foundry), Mark Whittington (Elkay Mfg.) and Dave Shingleton (White-Rodgers). Michael Workman of Workman and Associates facilitated the interactive discussion on “What distributors should be doing today to prepare for business over the next five years.”

Purchases by WIT distributors through their vendor partners grew 14.4% in 2013 from 2012, Moorhead said. WIT membership stands at 86 distribution companies, down three from last year due to acquisitions and attrition, he added. WIT gained one new member in that time.

“Probably 75% of our members grew their business by purchases through the group by some amount,” Moorhead said. “Last year, the traditionally new construction markets came back in Atlanta, Houston and Phoenix. We saw improvements in California. Some of the markets in the Midwest were growing 10% and 12%, but the growth last year was pretty much across the board.”

The top 20 distribution companies by purchasing volume were recognized during the general session April 1. The top volume distributor by purchasing volume in 2013 was Consolidated Supply of Portland, Ore. Also getting awards were distributors with the top purchasing growth by percentage. At 70.12%, the top growth company was Hydrologic Distribution Co. in Pinellas Park, Fla.


WIT’s 40th anniversary

WIT will celebrate its 40th anniversary at its fall meeting Sept. 2-4 in Portland, Ore. “We are going to let our hair down a little bit,” Moorhead said. “We’ll have our business meeting as we always do, but this year we’ll have more relaxation. It will be a little less formal than it has been in the past.”