ASA Insights
May. 9, 2013

Internet Sales Tax Bill Passes Senate; Waits on House
American Supply Association
After more than a dozen years of working to level the playing field, brick-and-mortar businesses, including ASA member companies, are a step closer to seeing an Internet sales tax become a reality. One thing cannot be overemphasized; a large number of House members consider this legislation a tax increase, and therefore do not support it. This is why we need to speak as one voice and inform our elected officials why passing of this legislation is of utmost importance to our industry.More

PWC Report Offers Differing View on Online Marketplace and its Impact on Brick-and-Mortars
PriceWaterhouse Coopers
A recent report released by PriceWaterhouse Coopers explores the changing trends in the online marketplace and whether or not brick-and-mortars are at risk. While no one has a crystal ball, their survey research has shown some conventional wisdom to be at odds with how online shoppers are actually behaving and what they value in the multichannel experience.More

Busy Season Begins
American Supply Association
Five of the American Supply Association's independent regional affiliates will host annual conventions and conferences over the course of the next several weeks. These industry programs represent outstanding educational and networking opportunities for local wholesalers, manufacturers, service vendors and independent manufacturer reps. Here is a look at the schedule:

Please feel free to visit the online ASA Industry Calendar for more information or click the links above for specific meeting details.More

Beschloss: Oil/Natural Gas Bonanza Looking Unstoppable Despite Continued Environmental Opposition
The Desert Sun
Based on reliable reports from knowledgeable observers, the oil/natural gas boom has continued to expand and will not be severely inhibited in the indeterminate future. This conclusion is based on the Obama administration's realization that expanding energy development now holds the key to rationally confronting the runaway debt ceiling in the upcoming 2014 fiscal year. On Monday, President Barack Obama stunned the nation by announcing that America's liquid natural gas will be exported worldwide. Can approval of the XL oil pipeline be far behind?More

Construction Unemployment Rate in April Lowest in Five Years
Modern Distribution Management
The unemployment rate for construction workers fell to the lowest April level in five years as contractors added more than 150,000 employees in the past year, despite a dip in employment last month, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that, despite the monthly drop, the industry is likely to continue adding jobs for much of 2013.More

Eight Ideas to Inspire Your Distribution Business
Industrial Distribution
What will your company do differently this year? In recent discussions with innovators in the wholesale distribution industry, several forward-looking themes emerged. It's important to make a distinction between true transformations versus incremental change. You may ask, why is it so important that you reinvent your business now? We are living in an "Age of Disruption."More

Why You Should Focus on Reverse Logistics
By Archita Datta Majumdar
Though it's not a new concept, the importance of reverse logistics is being more keenly felt in the last decade. Fluctuating economies and stiff global competition have made profit margins change while demanding more of service and quality than ever before. In such situations, dealing with returned, recycled and damaged goods is an entire area of business by itself. It can no longer be dealt as an afterthought by the sales, merchandising or procurement teams to match their monthly figures.More

A Journey Toward World-Class Manufacturing
Material Handling & Logistics
John M. Hall remembers the CNH Wichita Product Center of six or so years ago. The facility was "dark and dingy," with large amounts of material and inventory everywhere, describes the manager of the Product Customer Service Center and a 19-year veteran of the Wichita site. Today such disorder is hard to imagine at this site, the sole manufacturing location for the Case and New Holland brands of skid steer loaders and compact tract loaders. It is well-lit, with wide, clean aisles and no signs of inventory creep, courtesy of managers who recognized that the status quo had to go.More

Survey on Business Outlook
The Composite Business Outlook Index was 56 in March, up from 55 in December. This quarter's increase, while small, is the first increase since June 2010, when the index reached a record high of 81. The investment indexes and the Profit Margin Index also increased. Most of the other indexes, however, fell. Nonetheless, the small rise in the composite index, coupled with the improvement in both investment indexes and the fact that the Annual Orders Index remains at a fairly high level, indicates that the sharp slowdown of manufacturing activity that began in March 2012 has bottomed out. More