Gregory N. Manns 0000-00-00 00:00:00
A 2009 Summary of ASA’s Industry Intelligence Report: A Market Analysis for the Industry Executive As members of ASA, you have at your disposal a “toolbox,” if you will , of tools that can assist you in improving your company’s operations. I like to think I can fix anything around the house as long as I have my tools. Of course my wife will tell you otherwise, but that’s another story. Just as each tool in my toolbox serves a purpose, I feel each one of these “tools” ASA provides serves a purpose as well. In particular, ASA’s Industry Intelligence Report: A Market Analysis for the Industry Executive provides participants with a tool to monitor month-to-month their performance vs. the industry. In addition, the report provides key economic indicators that can help participants identify market trends. ASA’s Industry Intelligence Report is available FREE and EXCLUSIVELY to all participating ASA wholesaler members. The report provides performance figures for: sales inventory days sales outstanding gross margins profit before taxes number of employees The results are aggregated by: all responding firms primary business emphasis ASA regions states (as the sample size permits) On average, respondents have identified their primary business emphasis as follows: 57% as Plumbing, Heating and Cooling (PHCP), 27% as PHCP and PVF 16% as Industrial PVF Since its launch in January 2009, the report on average has had 67 firms participating each month representing an average of over 890 locations. The report has a fairly representative mix of participants in terms of size of companies and regions of the country. Although 2009 was a year worth forgetting, with most wholesalers reporting double digit declines in year-over-year sales each month, the median December 2009 vs. 2008 decrease was the lowest for the year. Additionally, the decreases for each of the last six months of 2009 were progressively smaller, which is hopefully an indicator of an improving 2010. In addition, the most recently released U.S. Department of Commerce Monthly Wholesale Trade Report for November showed a modest increase of 0.6% vs. November 2008. Inventory levels have experienced double digit decreases for most of 2009. After rising for the fi rst part of 2009, days sales outstanding is returning to early 2009 levels. The majority of participating wholesalers has experienced decreased gross margin percentages and profi t before taxes for most of 2009. Additionally, most participants had fewer employees than the prior year. At press time, the U.S. economy has shown some glimmer of hope recently. The “Real” GDP figure for the 3rd Quarter grew 2.2%. The fact that this is an increase technically indicates an end to a recession. Additionally, some of the other indicators are continuing to hint that the downturn is starting to bottom out. For instance, manufacturers’ new orders and housing statistics are holding steady, and the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) remained over 50 for the fi fth month in a row. A reading of 50 or higher generally indicates that the industry is expanding. The unemployment rate, which is a lagging indicator, remained at 10.0% and the average weekly initial claims declined for the fifth consecutive month. If you have been participating in this valuable ASA service, we hope you have found the reports insightful and will continue. If you have not yet taken part, please consider participating in this valuable service to see what you have been missing. The Industry Intelligence Report is a free tool that should be in any ASA member’s business toolbox. ASA Appeals to Washington, D.C. Leadership for Job Creation W. A.T.E.R. Act Coalition Meets at the White House In December, a letter signed by ASA and 15 other corporations, associations and coalitions with active participation in the EPA’s WaterSense program was sent to President Obama urging him to “propose to Congress the inclusion of plumbing and irrigation efficiency retrofits in legislation to create green jobs and boost the economy.” As a direct result of this appeal, on January 5, 2010, ASA Chairman Joe Poehling of First Supply in LaCrosse, WI and other members of the ASA-led W.A.T.E.R. Act Coalition met at the White House with Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, President Obama’s “Climate Czar” at the White House. The meeting included representatives from Kohler, Moen, Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, PHCC National Association, American Rivers and the Alliance for Water Efficiency. At the request of the White House, on January 15, the Coalition submitted a legislative proposal to Carol Browner recommending a $500 million rebate program for the purchase and installation of plumbing fi xtures certifi ed by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency that carry the WaterSense label. ASA and its partners estimate that the proposed rebate program has the potential to boost employment by 9,000 jobs. “The work done by the W.A.T.E.R. Act Coalition to create a concept to present to President Obama and the resulting invitation to the White House to speak directly with this administration’s ‘Climate Czar’ is an excellent example of ASA’s increased activity and visibility in promoting legislation that will have a positive impact on the PHCP/PVF industry,” said Mike Adelizzi, ASA’s executive vice president. “The proposal included in the letter to President Obama was also sent in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This issue is of vital interest to ASA members and our industry’s immediate future and we will pursue it intensely until it comes to fruition.” The letter emphasizes that not only will water- efficient retrofits create near-term jobs in the plumbing industry, but installation of WaterSense products will save consumers money, save billions of gallons of water, reduce energy consumption, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal calls for any jobs bill to include federal procurement of Indispensable to achieving prosperity in our industry...business success...educated industry...unified voice...social responsibility...capacity to serve... ASA NEWS WaterSense products for new buildings and major renovations. Other important facts about the WaterSense program and the W.A.T.E.R. Act: Incentives for WaterSense Create Jobs: WaterSense incentives will spur hiring by manufacturers that produce the products, wholesalers and retailers who sell the products and the local contractors and construction workers who install these plumbing and irrigation products. The jobs potential for investment in replacing plumbing fixtures is on the order of 18 jobs per million dollars of direct investment. For example, a $500 million investment in WaterSense incentives has the potential to boost employment by 9,000 jobs with commensurate growth in US GDP. Employment in construction-related jobs, including plumbing, fell to 7 2 million in 2008 from 8 million in 2006, and the trend has not improved. WaterSense incentives will help reverse this trend. In just the wholesale-distribution sector of the plumbing industry, WaterSense incentives will create or retain 1,250 jobs for every $500 million invested. The supply chain in the plumbing industry is poised to respond almost immediately to the increased consumer demand for WaterSense products. WaterSense Saves Water and Energy and Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions: In 2008, WaterSense demonstrated that it saves water and energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Path to Safety – Step Eight Housekeeping Housekeeping is something all of us are familiar with since it is fundamental in our personal lives. It is important to note that there are variations in personal housekeeping with the range going from the “neat freaks” to the “casual” housekeeper or even those who feel that “Mom will take care of it.” While that range may be fine in our personal lives, it doesn’t work so well in the work setting. The workplace is a busy environment with moving machinery, many people and a great deal of activity. Failure to maintain high housekeeping standards in such an environment may result in injury or illness, lost productivity and a negative impact to the bottom line. Housekeeping is a critical step on the path to safety. Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, often referred to as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Section 1910.22(a)(1) states “All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.” Taken together, these two regulations require that employers regularly inspect the workplace for hazards, correct hazards in a timely manner and institute a housekeeping program to mitigate hazards. This housekeeping program must include training in the essential aspects of the program, supply of the necessary items to implement the program and supervision to ensure compliance. It is the responsibility of all employees within the organization to ensure that housekeeping standards are implemented by incorporating them as a part of their daily routine. What are some of the basic areas that workplace housekeeping rules should address? Unsafe conditions must be corrected immediately or the area should be barricaded so others are protected until the condition can be corrected. Employees should report housekeeping problems to supervisors so corrective actions can be taken. Supervisors need to inspect the identified problem and formulate with both the employee and management a method of addressing the issues. Flooring and floor coverings need to be in good condition and flat. If an area rug is wrinkled, straighten it. If flooring is damaged, report it. Walkways must be kept clear of obstructions and protrusions. This includes on the floor and at body height. Boxes, briefcases, tools, trash, electrical cords, cabinet drawers and other similar items must be kept out of walkways to prevent slips, trips, falls and bumps. Floors must be clean and dry. Liquid spills or grease on the fl oor either require immediate clean up or the area barricaded until a clean up can be completed. During inclement weather, put absorbent mats on fl ooring that is slippery when wet. Icy sidewalks, steps and parking lots should be salted or sanded. Tools and other work items that are not being used should be placed in designated storage areas. Lighting must be sufficient in the work area. If a light bulb burns out, either replace it or report it so it can be replaced. Food should be stored, consumed and remnants disposed of in a manner to prevent rodent or bug infestations. All trash needs to be placed in containers that are regularly emptied. If the trash is wet garbage, then the trash receptacle must be equipped with a cover. Oily rags must be stored in UL approved containers. Flammable or hazardous wastes must be stored in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations or disposed of in an approved manner. Sharp items must be properly disposed of. Broken glass or other sharps should be placed in a sealed box and marked as containing broken glass or sharps. If nails are protruding from boards, remove the nails or bend them down. In order for the housekeeping program to be effective, management must commit to it, budget for all components, and require compliance from employees. Budgeting should include such line items as supplies and tools for cleaning, janitorial services for maintaining and supplying common areas, sufficient trash and storage receptacles, trash removal, routine and corrective maintenance and time for training of employees. A Tool Box Talk to use with employees can be found at www.asa.net. This eighth step on the path to an effective safety program can positively impact your productivity, the health and well-being of your employees, and a better bottom line.
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