Amy Black 2017-05-04 08:36:56
THE BEST IS YET TO COME ASA Education Prepares for the Future. KNOWING THERE WILL BE CHALLENGES ahead is a given. Actually knowing what those challenges look like and being prepared to meet them is the key to success. Last month, the ASA Education Foundation Board of Trustees met to take on the challenges ahead for our industry and build a plan for success. The journey included a look back at how far the foundation's value has progressed, consideration of where we are today, and a serious look at where we need to go as an organization to fully support the membership and the industry to meet our goal - ASA members will attract, develop, and retain a labor force that will become the best-educated, best-trained and most professional in the industry. Dirk Beveridge, innovator and distribution specialist, encouraged the trustees (see sidebar) to think big and challenge the status quo. The group first celebrated its more recent achievements-industry-specific training, ASA University, ASA-U Advisory Service, Master of Distribution Management Program, additional resources and templates for talent management . And then dug in deeper when it came time to peer into the future. The mega trends, market dynamics, and disruptors that ultimately affect industry needs and training such as technology trends, political and environmental situations, as well as economic and social environments were considered and discussed. The need for efficient, on-demand, and effective training, customizable solutions and "cultures of learning" were identified. Work-life balance for the employees, attracting talent from outside the industry and the anticipated career pathways for those entering the workforce were grappled with. The result – a plan for the future that supports a change of culture within our industry, prepares the ASA membership for dramatic shifts in the workplace, and ultimately attracts and retains new employees. In order for our industry to successfully appeal to the best employees, it is critical that the membership be prepared to meet the demands of new employees. Throughout the discussions, it was also apparent that it is not only the requirements from the new, younger generation entering the workforce that need to be considered, but also those of the aging workforce who will choose to remain. Talent management, or processes designed to attract, develop, motivate and retain productive, engaged employees will be a key focus of the Education Foundation’s efforts going forward. Additional priorities include: Establishing ASA University as the standard by which employees are measured by ensuring that a member’s workforce has the skills and knowledge to effectively perform their roles. Expanding ASA University to become the resource for learning-management solutions with high-quality, proprietary content delivered in innovative and effective ways. Championing the industry as an “industry of choice” by providing workforce planning, increased employee engagement and recognition, and overall change-management support. A profound metric was shared during the course of the trustees meeting - a report by IBM finds 84% of employees in best performing organizations receive the training they need, compared to 16% in the worst-performing companies. Be the Best. ASA University is here to help. Call (630) 467-0000 or email email@example.com. All the work of the Education Foundation is made possible by the support of the Karl E. Neupert Endowment Fund and members of this industry who have committed to provide a sustainable trajectory for themselves, their companies and the industry. ASA University Recognizes Master of Distribution Management Graduate LARRY DAVIS is a unique individual with an interesting story. He owned his own company for more than 30 years and then decided it was time to sell. He was concerned for his employees and their families who have been loyal and trustworthy for many years, so he made a deal with Hirsch Pipe & Supply to retain all his employees while he stays on to manage the San Juan Capistrano, Calif., branch for a few years. When asked about his experience with the MDM program, Larry said, “As an industry veteran I know how important it is to never stop learning. The MDM program provided me with the opportunity to continue to grow as an individual. I was able to utilize a lot of the information that I received taking the ASA University MDM classes. I have found the information useful in many aspects of my work life.” Larry completed the MDM Fast Track which is an option meant for people with greater experience within the distribution industry looking to further their Leadership Skills. When Anton Williams, Davis’ mentor for the program, was asked about how he felt about Davis’ MDM Capstone Project, he replied, “Larry’s hard work, dedication and business experience led to him streamlining our order entry process and saving Hirsch Pipe & Supply more than $40,000 during the first year of implementation of the new procedures. The new process will not only save us money but will increase our customer-service levels.” The MDM Graduate Review Committee is responsible for granting the MDM Certificate to the candidate through formal analysis. Davis presented his final Capstone Project to the GRC and it had some great things to say about the first MDM Fast Track graduate: George Yezbak, retired industry veteran, said, “I liked the fact that he was humble enough to participate in the program at all, given the fact that he has so much experience in the industry. Overall, he did an excellent job of meeting the requirements for the MDM program. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for his dedication, and commitment to the training and education he received.” Coley Herrin, Plumbing Distributors, Inc. in Lawrenceville, Ga., said, “Larry’s project was well-planned and documented and it represented what ASA intended the MDM program to be. He is a remarkable individual whose experience in the industry provides a unique perspective on the program, and his desire and message to continue learning and never stop is both admirable and inspirational.” Davis’ MDM Fast Track experience and successful completion of the program further demonstrate the benefits of participating in this one-of-a-kind program. ASA University looks forward to sharing the success stories of MDM graduates throughout this year and the years to come. Congratulations Larry Davis from all of us at ASA-U! ASA PAC Heats Up WITH A RECALCITRANT CONGRESS muddling its way toward reforming health care and our uncompetitive tax code, members of ASA recognized the need to use their collective voice and have stepped up and given big(ly) to boost ASA’s voice in Washington, ASA PAC. After nearly a decade of promises and living in the political wilderness, Republicans are in charge in Washington, but they failed at their first attempt to finally bring the relief from the burdens and costs of the Affordable Care Act that small businesses have asked for. Even though there aren’t any major elections this year, businesses cannot afford to take the year off. Building on the progress we have made means continuing to press ahead in identifying and supporting candidates and decision-makers who are starting up their campaigns. With your participation, you are ensuring ASA PAC has a strong, united voice in the political sphere. As we start a new cycle, the PAC is supporting candidates who meet our key criteria. Contributions to candidates now allows us to build on our relationships. With so much at stake, we must continue to engage in the process that shapes the climate in which we do business. While contributing to ASA is critical to our success, it doesn’t stop there. There are a number of additional ways that you can help to accomplish the mission of educating current members of Congress and candidates about the things that matter to us and ensure a political environment that provides a positive business climate for your company. Here are a few things your company can do to help advance the PHCP-PVF industry in the public policy arena. Host a PAC fundraiser at your facility. You host counter days, why not explore hosting a fundraiser for your local member of Congress? Serve as an ambassador and voice for the PAC. Members recruit members! Host a legislative update or PAC information session. Think of how a debate would be in your warehouse. Suggest a candidate to be supported by ASA PAC. This is your money, tell us how you’d like it distributed! Campaigns cost money, we all know that. By being under the tent and at the table, we’re one step closer to ensuring that the decisions they make help our companies, not harm them. Visit asa.net/PAC to learn how you can help your industry. INNOVATION CORNER MAY, 2017 Beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied Dirk Beveridge, UnleashWD AMAZON’S JEFF BEZOS RELEASED his annual letter to shareholders recently. Each year this manifesto contains innovation insight and leadership lessons from one of the greatest business leaders, disrupter and innovator of our time. And this year is no exception. I absolutely love Bezos’ eloquence when he reminds us that “customer are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.” In a recent workshop, I reminded a group of manufacturers, distributors and rep agency firms that success is not dependent upon differentiation. Differentiation places the focus on ourselves and our competitors. The customer is completely excluded from the differentiation equation. Those businesses that create relevance do so by being closer to the customer than anyone else. They build in the discipline of learning and observing the jobs the customer needs done, the pains they need eliminated and the gains they seek. Because, as Bezos reminds us, … our customers are, at this very moment, beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied. It’s time to innovate! Learn more: www.dirkbeveridge.com 847.381.7797 “We’ve always supported ASA. We’d be crazy not to…” SO BEGAN OUR CONVERSATION when we sat down with Mark Whittington, executive vice president at Elkay Manufacturing to better understand why Elkay is so bullish on the American Supply Association. Family-owned since 1920, Elkay has been making innovative plumbing products for nearly 100 years. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., today Elkay delivers world-class sinks, faucets, foodservice fixtures, water coolers, drinking fountains and award-winning rapid bottlefilling stations, offering most of these products through ASA wholesalers. Best known for its classic stainless steel sinks that have been widely recognized as the "professional's choice" for decades, the company has become the leading sink provider in the U.S. "The way I see it, Elkay owes our longevity and success to keeping pace with changing times," Whittington says. "Be it new materials, channels or customers - you have to keep up with the changes that are taking place in the world. ASA is one way that we have been able to achieve this." Elkay participates in ASA and has supported the organization with funding and talent for many years. Company employees are actively involved in programs such as the plumbing and vendor committees, and on the association's board of directors. Supporting the organization on so many levels is one way of giving back to ASA for the many membership benefits that Elkay has enjoyed over the years. "ASA supports the industry in so many ways - and Elkay has benefited from the services it provides," Whittington says. "Their education programs help industry newbies understand what it takes to thrive, and helps even the most seasoned professional keep abreast of changes in codes and standards, and the legislative and regulatory requirements that continue to reshape the plumbing, heating, cooling and industrial piping (PHCP) industries." Industry professionals also benefit from the national ASA event each year. That's partly why at any given time, you'll find Elkay employees from across the company actively engaged and participating in ASA programs. According to Whittington, they are not only learning and growing professionally through this engagement and gaining the critical business insights the company needs to succeed, but they are forging close professional relationships with customers and peers that will last throughout their careers. ASA provides a forum for industry leaders from both the supplier and wholesale sides of the industry to collaborate to identify solutions to emerging marketplace issues, dealing with topics as diverse as best practices in inventory management, how to address lead in plumbing and how to maximize product recyclability. "Working through ASA, industry partners such as Elkay can provide meaningful leadership... proactively working to shape the issues that impact our industry - and impact the environment and the people in the communities where we live and work," Whittington says. "I would be remiss not to mention the important role that ASA plays in influencing the public policies that affect our industry and protect our communities at the national level," he adds. ASA serves as the industry's voice in Washington, advocating for legislative and regulatory policies that serve the public's best interests, informed by the know-how, wisdom, and experience of long-standing association members. "ASA has been a part of my career for many years," Whittington continues. "Another reason that I feel so positive about the organization is how they give back - not only to our professionals here at Elkay but the community as a whole. Whether it is Operation Rise and Conquer which supports our nation's wounded veterans or ASA's support for organizations such as Hiring our Heroes, WorldVision or Dress for Success, ASA and its member companies show a real passion for making a positive impact on the world. Elkay has a long-standing commitment to giving back to our communities, so this aspect of ASA represents a real cultural fit for us." Good industry groups can be hard to find," Whittington said in closing. "Many provide good networking and connections. And don't get me wrong, those are important. But you know you've found an exceptional organization when they help you and your company stay ahead of the winds of change that continually drive your business. The plumbing industry is lucky to have ASA in our corner." I AM ASA "ASA’s education and training provide a huge platform for our company and helps us track the advancement of our employees. Supporting the advocacy efforts in Washington, and giving back to the industry will, in turn, strengthen our company and the industry altogether." – Stan Allen MORSCO Fort Worth, Texas Learn more: www.asa.net/Join-ASA | firstname.lastname@example.org | 630.467.0000, press 5
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