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Distributor's Perspective: The competitive edge

by Joe Reddington

Here we are in 2010. We have gone from a survive-and-thrive mentality to a lean-and-mean frame of mind. While we hope the new decade keeps a steady uphill crawl, many of us have fewer resources to work with and seemingly less time to accomplish the tasks at hand.
At NAFCD we too have tightened our belts. However, we have grown as an association and, hopefully, increased our value to you by helping you manage and capitalize on your time.
The industry is certainly changing and NAFCD is prepared to meet those changes. The organization is adjusting its bylaws to keep up with the industry and keep our association’s four pillars of value—leadership, networking, education and trends—at the forefront. We’re doing this by including new membership types and clarifying current membership requirements. For example, we make sure members are conducting the majority of their business within the independent distribution channel and are adherent to current North American manufacturing standards, laws and regulations.
Academic membership
In concurrence with education— one of the most important pillars of the association’s values— NAFCD is welcoming academia into its family by adding a new membership type and the first with a focus on education.
Individuals who serve as educators for an accredited distribution-related program may now choose an academic membership to NAFCD. Students currently enrolled in an accredited distribution-related program may now choose a student membership to NAFCD. We believe this type of membership will bring young professionals and fresh ideas into the floor covering distribution industry. With these modifications we believe we have met the goals of the members and have opened up new avenues for membership recruitment.

Value added

In addition, we continue to add value by partnering with the North American Association of Building Materials Distributors (NBMDA). Combining both industries will leverage our resources to allow for networking between building material distributors as well as a more diverse cross section of comprehensive industry statistics and economic performance numbers. NAFCD and NBMDA are also developing a tool kit to make certain that you have the competitive edge and are prepared when the economic climate changes.
This partnership also includes a Institute for Trend Research Report (ITR report) by Alan Beaulieu, a quarterly economic outlook report by the international economic research firm that provides members with timely, concise and detailed economic data specifically geared to our industry and construction and building industries.
The partnership also includes a compensation survey to help our members navigate through and prepare for challenging times on the human resources front. Hiring and keeping good employees is essential to the profitability of your business, especially in today’s economy. The 2010 Employee Compensation Study will provide a detailed view of compensation and benefit programs based on approximately 2,000 distributors from over 30 distribution organizations. Results from this survey will be available in May.
All indications are that 2010 could be a good year; we hope we are delivering the edge you need.