ASA Insights
July 22, 2010

ASA Distributor Members Report First Positive Quarter Since 2008
American Supply Association
ASA's Monthly Sales Report for June is now available. Distributor members reported a 2.3 percent improvement in revenues during the second quarter 2010 as compared to the same quarter in 2009, although year to date the plumbing, heating, cooling and industrial and mechanical pipe, valve and fitting distributors are still behind last year by 1.4 percent and behind by 15.2 percent as compared to 2008. For the month of June, the wholesalers reported only the third improved month in the last 18 months during the same periods of the previous year with a 2.8 percent improvement even though the month remained 14.1 percent behind 2008.More

AASHTO Study: US Transportation System is Facing a Crisis
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials isn't mincing words. In its new report "Unlocking Freight," AASHTO says that the US freight transportation system is facing a crisis, and that the nation's highways, railroads, ports, waterways and airports require investments well beyond current levels to maintain — much less improve — their performance. Despite the fact that an increasing amount of freight is being moved by intermodal rail, the report estimates that trucks still carry 74 percent of the long-distance freight load.More

Webcast on Automating Sales Compensation from Management's Perspective
American Supply Association
ASA's recently completed compensation report is a tool many companies turn to for information on issues affecting compensation and gauging where other companies stand in the process. The Sales Management Association is offering a webcast July 28 that offers additional insight into this important subject. Automating Sales Compensation: Sales Management's Perspective will explore current sales compensation trends as well as the advantages that accrue to sales management when sales compensation is automated. Sales management brings a distinct perspective to the sales compensation automation discussion, a discussion too often dominated by finance, human resources and accounting.More

Bruce Carbonari to Address Plumbing Industry at NetworkASA 2010: THRIVE
American Supply Association
All NetworkASA 2010 attendees are invited to join their colleagues for breakfast and a presentation on the plumbing industry from Bruce A. Carbonari, chairman and CEO of Fortune Brands Inc., the $7 billion consumer products company. In addition to industry knowledge gathered through his years leading Moen and now Fortune Brands, Carbonari currently serves as chair of the Policy Advisory Board at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, which analyzes the dynamic relationships between housing markets and economic, demographic and social trends. Carbonari's considerable insight will assist NetworkASA 2010 attendees in developing effective strategies to thrive in current and future market conditions.More

Rana Foroohar: How to Build Again
Ever since the financial crisis hit, policymakers around the world have been talking about how to "rebalance" their national economies. In rich nations, this mostly entails reducing debt. But it also involves reassessing the mix between the service sector, which represents about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, for example, and manufacturing, which makes up just 11 percent. In the U.S. and the U.K. in particular, there's a sense that over-reliance on dodgy financial services is no way to create decent jobs for the masses or to build a more stable economy.More

ASA Government Affairs Committee Seeks Full-Time Solution in Washington
American Supply Association
It seems that every day we read about new legislative initiatives and regulations that target our businesses. None of these issues have made it easier to run a profitable business. Too often it's assumed that someone will step up and promote the best interests of our industry and fight on our behalf. Events in Washington during the past year have made it painfully clear that the industry must unify its voice to fight the daily attacks that begin in Washington, D.C., and end on the doorstep of industry businesses. To that end, the ASA Government Affairs Committee has presented a case to the ASA Executive Committee and argued that our association needs to expand its part-time, limited role in Washington to a full-time, robust effort to fight for our industry.More

Manufacturing Survey Shows Better Times Ahead
The recovery in the U.S. manufacturing sector is holding steady, as orders pile up, inventories decline and companies fire up more plants, according to a newly released industry study. In fact, the most recent quarterly Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI business outlook survey shows that its June 2010 composite index never has been higher, reaching 81 percent from 78 percent in the first quarter of the year.More

Make the Most of your NetworkASA 2010 Experience with Vendor Add-On Events
American Supply Association
Making their debut last year during NetworkASA, the Wholesaler & Vendor Conference Appointments were a great success in making one-on-one connections to talk business and create strategies to succeed. This year, ASA again is offering this valuable Vendor Add-On Event during NetworkASA 2010: THRIVE in Chicago. Designed to provide a venue and a block of time where vendors schedule meetings with distributors to meet as long as needed, the conference appointments provide focused time for companies to develop their books of business. The event brings together current customers and provides the opportunity for vendor companies to reach out and connect with all distributors attending NetworkASA.More

Ten Employee Training Tips
American Supply Association
D&B Small Business Solutions recently ran an article that supports what the ASA Education Foundation has been stressing to the industry for many years: "Well-trained employees are the key to your small business success. Studies have shown that the most successful, productive employees are those who have received extensive training. They're the cream of the crop, often having the strongest stake in the company's future. ... Not only does instruction arm your employees with needed professional or technical skills, but it also shows that you are invested in them and interested in bringing them with you into the company's future. This helps keep workers motivated and involved." Read the tips in the article and then contact the ASA Education Foundation to start your training program today.More