ASA Insights
April 14, 2011

ASA Safety Committee Presents FREE Webinar on Machine Safeguarding
American Supply Association
ASA's Safety Committee presents a FREE webinar at 2 p.m. Central time Thursday, April 28, titled "Machine Safeguarding Basics." Injuries from employees coming in contact with operating machinery result in some of the most catastrophic and costly types of accidents. Additionally, machine guarding citations for unguarded machinery rank in OSHA's Top 10 year in and year out. This webinar will cover the basics of machine guarding and the regulatory requirements behind them. Dave Volker, senior safety consultant with Lovegreen Risk Management, will be conducting the presentation. Lovegreen is a machine safeguarding company whose customers include GE, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell and Emerson. Please click here for webinar registration details.More

House, Senate, White House Finalize Fiscal Year 2011 Budget
American Supply Association
As millions of Americans learned early Saturday morning, a government shutdown was not to be. What many did not know until later this week was what was included in the final agreement. As the documents below tell us, many programs received significant reductions over last year's funding levels. Some programs, such as the Department of Energy's office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency received a decrease. Others, such as defense, increased. The overall Energy and Water appropriations bill is cut 10 percent ($31.8 billion) from President Barack Obama's request. EERE received a reduction of $550 million from the president's request. Also of interest to ASA members is the General Services Administration's construction account, which was cut $594 million from the president's request and $812 million lower than year's levels. As the House was debating its own FY 2011 budget, ASA had written House and Senate leaders to request that GSA construction be fully funded. To see a detailed chart of cuts by agency, click here. To see a summary of the final agreement, click here.More

Milwaukee Valve, Delta Go Beyond Status Quo
American Supply Association

ASA is pleased to announce that Milwaukee Valve and Delta have joined the ASA Supplier Partnership program! Milwaukee Valve has joined as a Silver Level participant, and Delta has joined as a Bronze Level participant. Each supplier partnership opportunity provides ASA with income that funds a specific event, as well as many other areas that are crucial to successful programming throughout the year. We thank Milwaukee Valve and Delta for their investment in ASA. The ASA Supplier Partnership rewards support with year-round visibility and recognition. For more information, please contact Ruth Mitchell at 312-464-0090, ext. 210, or at

Last Chance to Register For 2011 Spring Forum
American Supply Association
April 19 is the registration and hotel reservation deadline for the 2011 Spring Forum presented by ASA's Young Executives Division. If you are rising manager or newly minted executive, this program is one of our industry's best opportunities to learn new concepts and skills, cultivate profitable relationships with channel partners from across the country, and enjoy tremendous camaraderie with your peers. The Spring Forum is scheduled for May 23-25 in Kohler, Wisc.; Herbert V. Kohler, chairman and CEO of Kohler Co., and Rick Johnson, CEO strategist, are the featured speakers.More

Better Managers = Greater Sales
American Supply Association
Very few sales managers ever have been educated in the best practices of their jobs. Equipping your sales managers with an effective management system is the quickest way to increase business. Send them to the Kahle Way® Sales Management System Seminar, May 19 and 20, in the Chicago area. Click here for more information, or call 800-331-1287.More

OPR Early-Response Deadline is April 30
American Supply Association
Can't find the elusive crystal ball? Instead, how about an early glimpse at your company's performance as compared to the overall industry? Complete the questionnaire for the 2011 Operating Performance Report by April 30, and you will receive an executive summary based on the information collected from all of the early respondents. For 29 years, ASA's OPR has provided the most comprehensive and up-to-date comparative financial performance available anywhere for the PHCP/PVF wholesaling industries. It is an easy-to-understand, actionable tool for evaluating your company's operating results, identifying profit leaks and measuring employees' productivity. Click here for the survey questionnaire.More

Budget Battles Continue; Debt Ceiling Vote Likely to be Next Clash
American Supply Association/POLITICO
As millions of Americans brace once again for a final resolution on our fiscal year 2011 budget, the thousands who are affected directly, and millions more who will be affected indirectly will be watching the next battlefront unfold, an unavoidable vote to increase America's debt ceiling. After a literal 11th-hour deal to postpone a government shutdown, negotiators April 8 bought themselves just one more week in hopes that their final agreement will be enough to garner the 218 votes (60 in the Senate) needed to finally fund government operations throughout the remainder of the fiscal year.More

7 Tips For Hiring Great Employees
HVACR Business
The HVACR industry, along with many others, will find itself on a hiring frenzy this decade as scores of skilled technicians reach retirement age. This makes it imperative that you revisit your hiring processes. Are they rigorous enough?More

Mexico to US Manufacturers: Come Back, All is Forgiven
One of the tropes of romantic comedy is the clueless protagonist who pines for a beauty from afar, unaware that his true soul mate is the "best friend" who was right in front of him the whole time. By the end of the movie, he's seen the light. Are American manufacturers about to shake off their decade-long obsession with China, and discover the charms of Mexico? They've been there before. Mexico's maquiladora program, offering low-cost labor and duty-free treatment of goods that are imported, then assembled or manufactured for re-export, is more than 40 years old. It received a shot in the arm in 1989, when the government streamlined permit and registration requirements. Maquila facilities really got going following enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.More

Roger Thompson: Why Manufacturing Matters
HBS Working Knowledge
After decades of destructive outsourcing, America's ability to innovate and create high-tech products essential for future prosperity is on the decline, argue professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih. They won the prestigious McKinsey Award for their July-August 2009 Harvard Business Review article, "Restoring American Competitiveness," which lays out their views in detail. Despite their dire analysis, Pisano and Shih remain cautiously optimistic that the United States can regain its competitive footing.More