By: Dan Judge, Chairman

During this time of year, we are busy meeting with staff and doing long range planning; customer and supplier analysis, personnel evaluations, financial and cash flow analysis, and all of the other significant matters that must be weighed as you look at next year and beyond.

In the meantime, I encourage you to take the short term view for the next couple of weeks to finish the year strong. If you are like me when I was running Ward-Beals 20+ years ago, you will scour your order system to bill every possibly order that you can, including a few right at the end that you hope will be shipped! Here are a few more short term activities that you can do to finish the year strong:

  • Check with your best customers that have departmental expense budgets. Work with them to find ways you can help them spend what they have left before the year ends.
  • In line with that, check on your customers that have extended holiday shutdowns. Probably during this time, they will be doing periodic maintenance and even some remodeling. This could be a great opportunity to not only sell MRO supplies but possibly some shelving or other material handling equipment for that reorganization project.
  • Take advantage of supplier year-end buys to add some inventory at a significant discount that will help you improve your gross margin next year.
  • As you know, NetPlus has growth rebate programs with most of our suppliers. These programs help our members earn additional rebates when the group exceeds its sales goals established by our suppliers. Check your email for a growth update next week, and login to the NetPlus Member Portal to view our supplier programs and the group and individual growth rebate offering.
  • As you look for new NetPlus suppliers check out the Rebate Index: the platinum and gold programs offer the highest return back to you and are your best bet for a high ROI for new inventory.

Thank you for your support: our group is having a great year! Through the end of the third quarter, distributor member purchases are up 13% YTD. My stretch goal for NetPlus in 2016 is to grow by 15%, and is a combination of core growth and adding new suppliers and new distributor members.

Industry economist Dr. Alan Beaulieu spoke recently at the STAFDA Convention. The theme of his presentation was “Good Days Ahead.” His proprietary leading indicator shows accelerating growth in 2016 and he projects the US Industrial Production Index Growth Rate to be up 3.2% for 2016.

So it’s looking like 2016 is going to be a good year. Take advantage of the opportunities that NetPlus offers to you, and work with your supplier partners to finish the year strong!