“Is there any better gatheringthan one with those of similar interests and where the relationships we create and cultivate enhance our businesses and our lives?”

That was the initial response from Don McNeeley with Chicago Tube & Iron Co. when I asked him – and many others – to share some thoughts about what they find most valuable about the American Supply Association’s Industrial Piping Division. How do they, as IPD members, make the most participating? How has IPD membership helped them individually their businesses and our industry?

Don went on to share: “The plumbing industry is one of great importance – a significant contributor to our personal health and well-being and of great influence on economic activity. The industrial PVF industry, while related, is an entirely different animal altogether, and ASA has been wise to understand and embrace their differences as well as to support – even celebrate – the uniqueness of its IPD.”

Jay Bazemore, chairman from JABO Supply Corp. and the current IPD chairman, agrees with Don’s sentiments. “IPD has helped me to establish an identity in an inclusive and diversified community comprised of the very best and brightest people the PVF industry offers. The thought of going it alone or leaning exclusively on the peers in my buying group is short-sighted, especially today.”

“IPD provides us with a platform that helps to shed light on fresh and unique perspectives about the specific issues and opportunities PVF distributors and suppliers face, especially from outside the influence of our own local control,” said Ernie Coutermarsh with F. W. Webb Co.  “The fast pace of change, whether it be related to technology, customer needs, disintermediation, etc., means the old adage that ‘all politics is local’ no longer applies.”

Distributors and suppliers alike want to be increasingly valuable resources for their customers. The camaraderie that permeates throughout IPD lends itself to fostering a truly collaborative forum for the good of the industry and for all channel partners. Many IPD members expressed that their businesses and relationships with one another are more productive, increasingly relevant and propel growth and success as a result of their involvement and participation.

Manufacturers, master distributors, independent reps and a buying group shared a common sentiment that IPD membership enhances the image, brand and respect for their companies. They believe the distributors are often best-positioned to read the pulse on the latest trends and activities in the marketplace and gauge performance. IPD affords them access to an environment that allows suppliers and distributors to work collectively toward creating and supporting customer solutions.

The clearest examples are the IPD Commodity Reports, which summarize any pertinent information about the developments influencing pricing and availability. These quarterly reports are most definitely the result of a collaborative effort among distributors and suppliers. Member upon member shared they find these reports to be a tremendous value-add for their customers as well as invaluable for planning purchasing and inventory strategy to insure they remain competitive in their markets.

Perhaps founding father Benjamin Franklin said it best, “We must hang together, or we must assuredly hang separately.”

For more information on ASA’s Industrial Piping Division, please visit Membership and Divisions at www.asa.net.