Mike Adelizzi 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Still here and looking forward Strong growth and re-emergence lead ASA into 2012 So, like any good organization, we have streamlined our operation by refocusing our resources away from non-traditional association roles and back to what is important to our core programming. During the height of America's economic collapse, we all searched for clarity about what was happening. The stock market was plummeting, orders were drying up, unemployment was moving north and America's confidence was eroding rapidly. We wondered how ASA and our members would ever survive the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Well, it's been roughly four years and we're all still here - leaner, smarter and hungrier…but where are we going? ASA has spent the past few years developing our strategic governance, annually engaging over 70 volunteer leaders in streamlining our strategic plan and focusing on the direction we want to take the industry all with an eye toward ASA remaining relevant well into the future. With this being said, no organization can move forward and achieve any degree of success without having its base secure. So, like any good organization, we have streamlined our operation by refocusing our resources away from nontraditional association roles and back to what is important to our core programming. First, we removed dependency on trade shows such as ISH. We have also restructured staff; allowing us to cut some non-essential positions while giving previously overlooked staff members the chance to help lead ASA. Also, through a lot of hard work on the part of our dedicated volunteers and staff, we have transitioned our headquarters from downtown Chicago to the city's western suburbs. This integral move will further cut our expenses and improve our ability to expand our programming to the membership. More importantly, we have been successful in changing the hearts and minds of industry wholesalers and manufacturers to better understand the great things that we are doing for them. 2011 also was an extraordinary year as member participation exceeded our highest expectations in every aspect of the association. This includes phenomenal attendance at events such as NetworkASA 2011 and our Young Executives Annual Spring Forum, which helped the association earn a strong profit last year. As they say, however, that is all in the past. What have you done for me lately? BOLDER NEW LOOK & EFFORT IN 2012 As we look to 2012 and beyond, it is shaping up to be the best year yet. ASA is projecting a second strong financial year in a row. In addition, because of the hard work that was committed to restructuring, ASA's Executive Committee has frozen dues for 2012. This has been done even while our service level has expanded yet again. Buoyed by a new bold vision and direction, the ASA Executive Committee has commissioned the development of a new brand that better reflects the vibrant new ASA that has emerged over the past few years. Over the next few months, the industry will experience a fresher and bolder look that better reflects our re-emergence as a leading association. It's not just a new look, but a whole new brand that will be rolled out in 2012. ADVOCACY Anyone that has only slightly paid attention to the news understands all too well the impact that an out-of-control Congress is having on our industry and customers. Gridlock and politics are running rampant in Washington, D.C. The notion of ASA sitting on the sidelines waiting for the dust to settle is no longer an option. This past year, thanks to the support of a few good members and chapters, ASA was able to get into the game full-time in Washington to represent your interests. And within just a few short months, ASA has weighed in on the debate over tax reform, out of control government spending and overregulation. Your interests have been expressed to Congress through your full-time Washington staff member Dan Hilton. In addition, we have been effective in gaining the attention of some very influential representatives who are beginning to understand the impact that they are having on your business. In 2012, we look to expand our Legislative Fly-In with an enhanced program to better educate members of Congress about the issues of greatest importance to our membership. In 2013, the ASA Executive Committee is seeking to have a mega-effort at lobbying our representatives by conducting NetworkASA in Washington, D.C., in October. With a new Congress and new administration being elected, it will be highly important for our industry to meet with our newly elected representatives to ensure our industry issues are heard. NetworkASA 2013 in Washington, D.C., will be that perfect vehicle. ASA UNIVERSITY Over the past decade, the ASA Education Foundation has developed the most comprehensive and unmatched library of industry training programs available anywhere. This past year, the ASAEF Trustees and staff have worked hard to deliver all of our knowledge through online training delivered right to the desks of your employees. However, they expressed concern that just delivering education doesn't mean that our members' employees will be the best trained and most professional in the industry. It would take a more proactive approach…so through our recently launched ASA University, our members can identify educational needs of their employees and deliver a comprehensive curriculum targeted by key employee function. The recently introduced ASA University unfolded with the launch of the College of Sales and Sales Management and the College of Leadership and Executive Management at NetworkASA 2011. Following in 2012 will be the launch of the College of Warehouse Management, College of Purchasing and Inventory Management and College of Business. Within each college you will find the most complete curriculum and training anywhere. And, after successfully testing our ability to work with individual members to customize their educational programs, the ASAEF will formally launch an aggressive effort to work with our members to start training programs in their operations. Few associations will be able to match the quality and depth of our educational programs…all under ASA University. BENCHMARKING Our benchmarking efforts will also radically expand in 2012 in an effort to expand our existing suite of quality benchmarking tools from our Monthly Sales Reports, our Operational Performance Report, our quarterly commodity reports and our reintroduced monthly Materials Market Digest. The ASA Executive Committee has approved the development of an ASA Industry Forecasting program to provide members with a glimpse into the future. This will be done through an integrated and multifaceted approach to determining what is going to happen to our markets in the year ahead. SUPPORTING INDUSTRY GROWTH Increasing the number of our industry's customers recognizing that ASA members enable them to prosper is a long-range goal that our strategic planning sessions have identified as vital to the long-term health of our industry and association. Over the next year, you will see ASA begin a promotional and educational campaign of providing information to the customers of our members. Through the wealth of our product education, economic forecasting and benchmarking data, we will begin developing close-working partnerships with industry customers by providing them access to this important information. It is through these developing relationships that we will be able to better leverage our members' ability to connect with their customers and beat their competition. Never before has our association thought so boldly about where we want ASA to lead. If we accomplish only a fraction of what we have set out to do this coming year, it will still be a remarkable 2012 for the American Supply Association. 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 is much more to it than meets the eye. Introduced in 2010 and enjoying tremendous growth each year, the program truly reflects a model of year-round support. One motivational factor is the fact that the program provides promotion to more than 25,000 industry professionals on a regular basis. Depending on support level, some partners receive this benefit monthly, others six times a year and others three times a year. Is getting the company's name in front of customers and end-users the most significant motivational factor? The answer is no - it is to help distributors grow their 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, studies and reports. 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. Information to Make Decisions ASA consistently provides information to members in order to help them make better business decisions. Some of these informational tools include the ASA Monthly Intelligence Report, which is a great 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 newly-reintroduced monthly 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 more than 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 these written materials, ASA Supplier Partnership support helps to underwrite the annual NetworkASA event by providing powerful speakers to spotlight current trends and provide information that can impact a company's bottom line. In recent years, ASA Supplier Partnership support has provided NetworkASA attendees the privilege of participating in seminars by George Will, David Kohler, Karl Rove, Mike Ditka and Gene Simmons just to name a few. Making a Difference ASA Supplier Partners make a significant investment in ASA in order to make a significant impact on the industry. "We encourage all companies to recognize that when a Supplier Partner's branding appears on an ASA event, it goes far beyond just company recognition. It is 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 not only for you, but for the next generation," states Mike Adelizzi, ASA executive vice president. For further information on the ASA Supplier Partnership Program, please contact Ruth Mitchell at ASA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hand Held Cell Phone Prohibition for Truck Drivers In an effort to end distracted driving, effective January 3, 2012 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) more than 10,000 GVW while operating their vehicles. This is a rule that prohibits the use of a hand-held phone in any manner while the truck is operating. As you already know, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) banned texting while driving for CMV operators in 2010. This next rule goes a step further to restrict other uses of hand-held cell phones, including dialing, while driving. "When drivers of large trucks, buses and hazardous materials take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, the outcome can be deadly," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "I hope that this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel." "This final rule represents a giant leap for safety," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "It's just too dangerous for drivers to use a hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers must keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and head in the game when operating on our roads. Lives are at stake." A full version of this article and a corresponding Toolbox Talk to use with your employees can be found in the "Safety Resources" section of www.asa.net.
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