CLEAR VISION ASA Education Foundation Sets Its Sights Big in 2011 Visionary. That’s a word often used to describe people or companies with unusually keen foresight. Being a visionary is often linked to achieving success in unconventional and progressive ways.When asked, many companies consider training their people to be a fundamental building block of success, not something unconventional or progressive.Yet, few actually follow through on developing and implementing a training program. For the majority of companies in this industry, it is the first line item to be cut during tenuous times, or for some, it’s not even in their scope of vision. When asked why, the replies vary from not interested to too busy to no budget. Yet, countless studies have shown that untrained employees can cost a company customers, can cause losses and can greatly affect profits. Having a working and consistent training program should not be considered visionary. A goal of the ASA Education Foundation is to move that perception of training from being an “extra” to what it truly is - a fundamental element of a highly profitable company. LOOKING BACK For years, the ASA Education Foundation has been recognized as a valuable provider of industry education and training. EF-developed courses on product knowledge, business basics, customer service and sales training have been the cornerstone of industry training. With these programs now delivered in an interactive and online format within ASAU Online, the Education Foundation is positioned to further help the industry train its workforce.Yet with all these strengths, the EF has been ill-equipped to help the industry develop and maintain company training programs. That’s about to change. IN PLAIN SIGHT In November of 2009, the ASA Education Foundation Board of Trustees, the governing group for the Foundation who determines the goals and the direction of the EF, created ASA University in direct response to the void seen in accessible assistance in starting, developing and maintaining company training programs. ASA University encompasses all that the ASAEF has to offer: the workshops, the product training, the business training, self-study, online training. “ASA’s stated goal is to help members’ employees become the best trained, best educated and most professional in the industry. The Foundation has developed some really good stuff to meet that goal, but many members are so busy they can’t devote the time to determining what materials to use or how best to launch a training program,” shares Mark Hanley, president of the ASA Education Foundation Board of Trustees. “ASA University is designed to fill that void -- to provide a comprehensive curriculum in sales, leadership, warehouse management, finance and purchasing, utilizing the best training materials available.Much of the Foundation’s material that will be a part of the curriculum is already online and interactive, meeting the needs of the up-and-coming generation.” SEEING THE FUTURE The true strength of ASA University will unveil itself within the established five colleges of industry training. Industry distributors and manufacturers are working together to identify the core competencies critical to success in each concentration found in the colleges. Once these competencies are identified, the volunteers prioritize the multiple key behaviors associated with each one. For example, the College of Sales/Sales Management has listed “Outside Sales” as a major job function within the college. Core competencies include: Sales Ability/Persuasiveness, Customer Focus, Contributing to Team Success, just to name a few. Each competency has multiple key behaviors associated with it, such as “demonstrates ability to integrate channel partners into sales opportunities” and “learns and demonstrates understanding of basic business analytic skills and their application to customers’ businesses.” Each of these key behaviors is then mapped to an objective and matched with an opportunity for training. If there is no acceptable training to educate on a key behavior, that will become the focus of EF development going forward. The final result will be clear training tracks for virtually every job function within the PHCP/Industrial PVF distribution industry and ultimately, certification programs, such as Branch Management Certification. Recommended training will include vetted third-party resources as well as EF-developed training and checklists, mentor programs and other elements of a comprehensive approach to training. The Competency Models and Curricula Tracks will be available as early as Fall of 2011 for Sales and Leadership Colleges from the ASA Education Foundation website and within ASAU Online. Companies will be able to find training either through job position, competency/key behavior needed, College of interest and more. “The strategies and tactics that led to success ten years ago are less and less effective today. The market now requires different skill sets to maintain and improve efficiency and profitability. Through ASA University, companies soon will have the ability to address those needs in a turn-key and cost effective manner.” For more information on the ASA Education Foundation, visit the Education section of www.asa.net. ASA SUPPLIER PARTNERSHIPS The Return on Investment is the Growth of an Industry The motivations for a company to join ASA’s Supplier Partnership Program are much like the program itself – there’s more than meets the eye. One factor is that the sponsorship program provides promotion to over 25,000 industry professionals on a monthly basis. Some Partners received this benefit 12 times a year, others six and some three times in a year.But is getting the company’s name in front of customers and end users the most significant reason? The answer is no – it is to help distributors grow the bottom line. INVESTING IN THE INDUSTRY’S FUTURE ASA Supplier Partnerships support ASA through dollars above and beyond dues, which assist in funding all ASA-produced events, activities and studies.In supporting the association’s endeavors, the ASA Supplier Partner is underwriting ASA’s activities to provide the tools needed to help distributors prosper and strengthen the industry. “HOW DO YOU GET TO CARNEGIE HALL?” ….practice, practice, practice. The same goes for how do companies prosper, by having all the information needed to make wise decisions and investments during challenging and prosperous times. The tools provided by ASA to members of the PHCP and PVF industry are many. ASA’s Monthly Intelligence Report is a good example of studies undertaken to provide data to see where one company stands amongst others. ASA’s Operating Performance Report is used to evaluate a company’s operating results in order to pinpoint strengths, weaknesses and improvement opportunities. The Materials Market Digest keeps readers informed of important trends and changes in many different segments of the industry. Not to be left out is the ASA Insights e-newsletter distributed to over 4,000 individuals weekly, which contains information and snapshots of the PHCP and PVF industry to keep readers current on all trends. In addition to written studies, ASA Supplier Partnership support helps to underwrite NetworkASA by providing powerful speakers to spotlight current trends and provide information that can impact a company’s bottom line. In recent years, seminars by George Will, David Kohler, Karl Rove, and Mike Ditka have been possible thanks to Supplier Partnerships. MAKING A DIFFERENCE ASA Supplier Partners make a significant investment in ASA in order to make a significant impact on the industry. “It’s important to recognize that the tools and resources ASA provides to help its members achieve prosperity are a direct result of the foresight and generosity of these companies,” states Mike Adelizzi, ASA’s executive vice president.“We encourage all companies to recognize that when a Supplier Partner’s branding appears on an ASA event, it goes far beyond just to keep the name of their company on the tip of your tongue. It’s to relay that these companies are committed to strengthening the channel of distribution. By acting in partnership with ASA, ASA Supplier Partners dedicate themselves to making a company grow and benefit for not only you, but the next generation.” SAFETY RESOURCES in the PHCP & PVF industry Toolbox Talks Path to Safety: Electrical Safety and OSHA Standards and Changes Last month we discussed safely working with electricity. This month we are going to look at where to find electrical standards, how they have been developed and what recent changes have been implemented. OSHA has put into practice the standards of the two primary standards groups recognized within the United States—the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The standards and references that OSHA uses are found in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart S Appendix A. Also keep in mind that anything not covered in the standard or Consensus standards can be cited by OSHA under the General Duty Clause: “Each employer shall 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.” In addition to the primary electrical standards, there are also a number of other standards that relate to electrical safety. Visit the Safety Resources section of www.asa.net to read these other standards and for information on how to ensure your company is in compliance with OSHA. Also found there is a PowerPoint presentation on arc fl ash safety and a Toolbox Talk for use in educating your employees on this important safety topic. Materials Market Digest Update Since ASA introduced Materials Market Digest in early 2005, this monthly report has provided timely information about important trends in a variety of different materials sectors.As a result, it has become one of the most valuable and sought-after benefits that ASA offers. In September 2010, the author, Ed Scott, shared with the ASA staff that he would no longer be able to author the Materials Market Digest due to personal reasons. The good news is that his circumstances have since improved, yet his decision to no longer author the extensive monthly report remains permanent. ASA fully expects that the interruption in publishing the Materials Market Digest is temporary and staff and volunteers are working together to make this valuable member service available in 1Q11. Suggestions and inquiries are always appreciated. Please contact Chris Murin,ASA’s executive director, at email@example.com or 312.464.0090 ext. 204.
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