2013 ISA Convention Wrap-Up

I just got back from San Diego and the ISA convention. For those not familiar ISA is an association that consists of both manufacturers and distributors that sell into the industrial markets. That market has has some tough times of recent years but they seem to be bouncing back. Both attendenace and attitudes were up.read more >

ISA 2013 Convention – San Diego

For those of you that are going to San Diego in June for the ISA Show, Sonnhalter has put together an Insider’s Guide to San Diego by asking friends and business associates about gems in the city that you might not be aware of. It includes Restaurants, Nightlife, Events and more. It’s available here read more >

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Trade Association Meetings?

Most associations are stuck doing things the way they have for years. I wonder if it's because they're afraid of change or don't know how or why to try something different. Two models that I think work well are the National Association of Electrical Distributors(NAED) and the Industrial Supply Association (ISA). They both have tried different things that seem to be working. read more >

AmazonSupply – How Has it Affected Your Business in the Industrial, Construction Markets?

With an 800 lb. gorilla like Amazon, once they come into your playground, things will certainly have to change. Big online giants are not new to this market. We're used to the Grainger, McMaster Carr and MSC's of the world. The difference in my mind is that while price is important to them, they are selling more of a convenience. The Amazon model is a bit different and price points are more critical. AmazonSupply has been up and running for about a year now. I wrote a post last summer and asked how they might be influencing your business. Back then it might have been too early to tell. (I sure would like your input now.) I assume many manufacturers are using them as another outlet for their products. The trends are indicating that the traditional distribution models are declining. I recently read an article by Scott Benfield in Industrial Supply, Trials and Tribulations of Sales Growth in an AmazonSupply World that outlined the difference and suggested ways traditional distribution can effectively deal with them. According to Scott, it comes down to the way traditional distribution goes to market. He calls it the bundle approach (full service) as opposed to a transactional model with a much lower cost base. He also recommends strategies moving forward for the "new normal." In my mind, I'd hate to see the traditional distribution model go away. There's lots of value in their expertise, but if they are not willing to change, then the future might be dim for some of them. Manufacturers, what are your thoughts on the different distribution models and where is your sales staff spending their time and efforts? Better yet, what can Associations like ISA do to help their members?read more >

How Can We Get the Most Out of Trade Association Meetings?

I just got back last week from the ISA (Industrial Supply Association) Show in San Antonio, and I have to tell you, if I were a manufacturer, I'd have to think about what I was getting out of that show.read more >

Industrial Supply Association Show Roundup

I just got back from the ISA Show in Chicago. Most of the manufacturers that I talked to were pretty upbeat on business in general, but were somewhat disappointed with the turnout of distributors for the booth session.read more >