AD North American meeting highlights buying group's commitment to the future
Affiliated Distributors is embracing change.
This year has been a busy one for the AD buying group.
In addition to its new “Together, we win” branding and marketing campaign, AD earlier this year announced a merger with Canadian buying group Canaplus Limited Partnership and followed that up with the rollout of its AD eContent Service program that was explained in full detail at the PHCP North American meeting held in early October at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
AD Chairman and CEO Bill Weisberg diverted from his traditional luncheon speech to membership to fully delve into the Web-based program (with the help of AD Consulting Advisor Bob Lewis from B2X Partners) that features a comprehensive content-management solution, which includes a shared master eCatalog and Web portal, along with member-specific sub-catalog and storefront options.
The eventual result will be all seven AD divisions able to leverage the group’s multidivisional economies of scale and share ongoing production costs and content. “The e-content market and online ordering is a growing market,” AD PHCP President Jeffrey Beall told Supply House Times in a video interview available at
www.supplyht.com/videos. “We feel by utilizing our leverage we can help members be competitive in that space. It’s a unique project and a unique opportunity for members to participate across a multi-division strategy. SKUs are built out regardless of division. Our members can have access to product across all divisions.”
Weisberg told the lunch group: “The whole purpose of the program is to drive local business to the local AD member. We want to drive traffic to your parking lot. We have the scale and resources to go toe to toe with anyone.”
Beall also stressed the Canaplus merger that will lead to the opening of the AD Canada Plumbing and Heating Division on Jan. 1 is another major step forward for the group. “It gives us the ability to attract best-in-class distributors and best-in-class suppliers,” he said. “It also expands the AD footprint, which is key. Suppliers want to see growth and we continue to show that.”
Beall attributed the group’s continued rise in sales (total group sales were up 4% in Q2, while plumbing was up 5%) to resiliency among members. “Our members are facing headwinds like everyone else with the reduction of oil and gas expansion and the fluctuating price of copper,” he said. “Our members are resilient and focused on their people, acquisitions and making sure they are partnering with suppliers to identify priorities within the suppliers’ product space to help them grow.”
As custom, AD announced its 2015 Spirit of Independence award winners during its dinner gala. Winners include: Locke Supply and Arkema (Conversion of the Year), Traeger Brothers and Associates (Best AD Field Marketing Summit), Texas Plumbing Supply (Plumbing Member of the Year), Elkay (Plumbing Supplier of the Year), Central States Group (PVF Member of the Year), Anvil International (PVF Supplier of the Year), AC Pro (HVAC Member of the Year) and DiversiTech (HVAC Supplier of the Year).
Dallas-based Standard Supply Vice President of Operations Allie Lehman is the 2015 AD MVP, while Kenny Pipe and Supply is the winner of the AD Giving Back Award. The 2016 North American meeting returns to the Gaylord Texan in suburban Dallas Sept. 12-15.
This article was originally titled “Embracing change” in the November 2015 print edition of Supply House Times.