ASA concludes 2015 with a fourth consecutive year of net membership growth, a sustained industry “buzz,” broadened member benefits, as well as expanded educational opportunities and service offerings.

As ASA completes 2015 with its fourth consecutive year of net membership growth, members are enjoying a renewed sense of excitement, having seen a “buzz” build throughout the industry regarding association growth and activity.

Fresh from Network2015 in Chicago in October, comments that were shared via the post-event survey varied from, “I can’t think of anything that could have been done to make this more enjoyable” to “All speakers were top notch” to “Keep doing what you are doing – its working!” ASA has regained its leadership role within the industry and there most certainly has been much accomplished in the last few years with much more to come.

As reported to the membership at Network2015, the association is in great financial health, allowing the Executive Committee the freedom to reinvest in branding and marketing, as well as many of the association’s most important programs.

Speaking of important programs, ASA’s industry forecasting offering is very popular among the ASA membership. Economists Alan and Brian Beaulieu provide their well-attended Industry Forecast events at each Network meeting and supplement the program with the monthly ASA Advisor, ITR Economics’ monthly report that provides members with the latest trend information and updates that impact the information provided during their annual predictions. ASA Advisor continues to be supplemented by a spring webinar aimed at keeping members updated on the latest economic trends.

As you may have experienced personally and/or read in the pages of Supply House Times and ASA News, ASA University’s programs continue to flourish and gain traction with every satisfied customer. In addition to its many industry educational courses and training offerings, ASA University launched a promotional campaign earlier this year for its Master of Distribution Management (MDM) program, a 100% industry-focused comprehensive offering designed by experts and leaders in the wholesale distribution industry for employers, employees and mentors. 

A similar campaign was launched for ASA University’s Advisory Service. The service offers a consultative engagement model that fits any company’s leadership and management agenda. The first hour of the service is at no cost to ASA members. After initial connection, the ASA-U Advisor discusses specific company needs, builds a recommended process for the company leadership’s review and then prepares a scoping document which outlines parameters and costs involved. As mentioned in previous issues of ASA News throughout 2015, the Advisory Service has gained traction over the course of the last year or so and is currently being used by ASA members of all sizes. ASA University is also handling training for industry manufacturers and looks to expand those services as we move into 2016.

In July of this year, the ASA Education Foundation commissioned a national PHCP/PVF industry labor study as well. The study’s findings show the industry still is relatively robust with more than 205,000 people currently employed and building their careers. With that being said, the study shows less than 4% of the industry labor force is between 22-24 years of age, a number that is of concern to the ASA leadership. Also, an astounding 25% of our labor force is leaving in the next 10 years. Results of the study were reported by GMP Research at Network2015. More information can be obtained regarding the study by contacting ASA.

As mentioned in the November ASA News, ASA and its leadership team are investing resources to protect members as these eye-opening labor trends escalate. In addition to funding the labor study, ASA’s website now has critical information about career opportunities that are available in the PHCP/PVF industry, and is also becoming a portal that takes job seekers to ASA-member websites. ASA has also developed a comprehensive kit of PHCP/PVF career promotional materials that can be used at member locations. Members may contact schools in their local areas and use these materials (brochures, pop-up banners, stress balls, pens, etc.) and conduct their own “career days” to help advance the industry.

ASA’s advocacy efforts continue to be strengthened in Washington, D.C. In addition to holding a collaborative legislative fly-in with the WIT buying group, ASA will do the same in 2016 with Affiliated Distributors and into 2017 with other groups. Progress has also moved forward on the legislative side with the help of groups such as ASA and WIT. Legislative priorities continue to advance in the areas of labor, health care and tax reform where they otherwise never would have without ASA’s involvement.

In addition to bringing the industry a strong tradition of benchmarking reports such as the Operating Performance Report, the monthly Pulse Report, Materials Market Digest, IPD Commodity Report and Business Valuation Service, ASA continues its efforts in building the association brand to member customers through its PVF Outlook and PB Outlook publications. Both are delivered to more than 20,000 recipients in their respective markets. PB Outlook changed its format in 2015 to a monthly electronic Kiplinger-style report while PVF Outlook remains a quarterly printed publication. New for 2016 will be revisions to the ASA Compensation Report (last done in 2014), which will assist members in hiring and retaining the best available employees.

Please continue to watch and your mail for more ways to “Advance Your Future” in 2016 and beyond!