ASA‘s cornerstone is to focus on providing tools that give members the ability to grow and prosper. Historically, the association has been very successful in providing opportunities for upper-level management, owners and upcoming leaders in the industry.
ASA also realizes that a company’s strength lies within its core. How do the individuals who are integral to your day-to-day operations network and gain information to help your company succeed? Great question. ASA’s challenge is how to bring networking and educational opportunities to ALL departments within a member’s business. The answer is through ASA’s networking councils.
ASA’s networking councils were developed a few years ago with the idea that all areas within a company have challenges and issues that can be addressed by networking with industry peers. The concept was quite simple: put employees in touch with others from around the country in the same job function who experience the same challenges and successes.
The result allows employees to create a peer network to use as a resource. Networking councils were formed according to the following responsibilities within a company: CEOs, CFOs, showroom managers, trainers, and warehouse and operations professionals.
Why are ASA’s networking councils important? They are peer-run and peer-driven from volunteer members in not only the wholesale-distribution classification, but also the manufacturing sector. The bottom line is the councils help the member and its bottom line. Allowing individuals to keep in touch with peers to assist in making daily operations successful and profitable is a win-win situation for any company.
Knowing each department requires a different set of tools to complete its goals and explore ways to help prosper, each networking council is designed to bring individuals together in numerous ways to achieve growth. From in-person seminars and events which showcase experts on specific topics to webinars focused on quick deliverables to roundtable discussions on the same, each networking council provides many opportunities to thrive.
Which council is right for your core employees?
CFO’s are responsible for maintaining the financial health of an organization as well as for managing people, systems and technology infrastructure. The CFO Networking Council conducts in-person meetings twice a year so that colleagues can sit down with each other and discuss mutual challenges as well as learn how others are dealing with similar situations. Those who attended the most recent CFO Networking Council event held in Chicago in April spent the majority of an afternoon discussing business metrics and internal controls. Steven Lewis, CFO with Puget Pipe and Sound in Seattle, was among the group of attendees. Lewis said, “I thought the meeting in Chicago was excellent. It will more than pay for itself just because of the tax credit for propane use I learned about.”
Showroom managers face many challenges. One of the biggest is how to use the most effective means of advertising (i.e., online, social media, print, etc.) to maximize profits and combat the never-ending cycle of “showrooming.” A webinar was held late last year covering showroom advertising, specifically on how to provide solid tools and takeaways to rejuvenate a showroom advertising campaign.
During KBIS this year in Las Vegas, the Showroom Managers Networking Council showcased a panel of industry experts to discuss the topic of “showrooming” and how to deal with the issue head on. “Showrooming is an issue that isn’t going to go away. Hearing firsthand from a panel of industry experts on their views provided different ways to look at and tackle the challenge,” said Kim Cavanaugh, showroom manager at Moore Supply Co. in Stafford, Texas.
The high-level industry leaders represented on the panel included: Kate Bailey, national showroom manager for Ferguson Enterprises; Michael E. Werner, president and CEO of Globe Union Group; Veronica Money, showroom manager for Welker-McKee, a Division of Hajoca; and Sal Cianciolo, business development manager at Kallista, a Kohler Co. These industry leaders brought a different perspective on methods embracing or stopping the “showrooming” phenomenon — leaving event attendees the ability to apply these methods to their own showrooms.
When it comes to employee training, many companies do not have a dedicated “trainer” on staff. Instead, they rely on others within the company to implement a training program. Sometimes those individuals have many crossover roles, including addressing HR issues such as recruitment, hiring and retention of employees. The Trainers Networking Council is designed for the multi-tasked employee who needs to stay up-to-date on these issues and also on educational needs.
“Training is very important to the success and health of a company, whether you provide an educational course to your employees or ‘train the trainer’ on best practices. It’s important to have a place to find this information and peer support. ASA hits the nail on the head in providing an all-encompassing forum,” said Dwight Newton, corporate employee development at Zoeller Co.
Brand-new and launched just this year is ASA’s CEO Growth Forum, designed exclusively for presidents and principals of wholesaler-distributors. Forum participants meet in small groups with their counterparts from non-competing firms to immerse themselves in discussions on building passionate customers, growing revenues and implementing a culture of success within their firms. The CEO Growth Forum includes two one-day forum sessions, two quarterly video conferences and on-demand access to the forum’s facilitator, Alex Goldfayn of the Evangelist Marketing Institute. Although the CEO Growth Forum is in its infancy, there is no all-inclusive program like it in the industry. ASA looks to see the program exponentially grow in the coming months.
For more information on ASA’s Networking Councils, including finding out more about the newly-revitalized Warehouse and Operations Council and to see what is planned for each group for the remainder of 2014, please visit www.asa.net/Networking/ or contact Ruth Mitchell for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630/467-0000, ext. 210.