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NAW Networking Is Invaluable

Chairman's Column - March 2008

Chip Hornsby, Wolseley PLC
2008 NAW Chairman of the Board

Whenever I’m asked what I find most valuable about Wolseley’s membership in NAW, I always say without hesitation that it’s the “superior networking opportunities” that NAW makes available for its members. I know that other NAW member companies say the same thing over and over again. And, that’s because it’s true. Networking is what makes NAW the most effective organization of its kind.

Because NAW is uniquely positioned across all lines of trade in wholesale distribution, it is able to successfully promote critical information exchange and targeted benchmarking among noncompeting companies — meaning companies that focus on distribution but with a different customer and/or product mix.

I particularly like the small and highly interactive groups that NAW convenes through its many Billion Dollar Company and Large Company events. These events are opportunities to discuss best practices with other leading CEOs in a noncompeting environment. Included are areas such as marketing, human resources, finance, operations, e-commerce, legal, and others.

In addition to the networking at these roundtables, NAW and its strategic partner Deloitte also frequently conduct benchmarking studies geared to a specific billion dollar or large company community. A recent report NAW and Deloitte completed was the Information Technology Cost Benchmark Results study, which NAW shared with participants of the NAW CIO Roundtable.

I also enjoy attending the Executive Summit, where I can meet and discuss industry issues with other distribution executives who are outside of my traditional industry segment but who have similar business interests. It’s the “sharing without competitors” aspect that makes NAW events very valuable to me. Through NAW, I’ve established many relationships across the industry with leaders from companies closer in size to my organization, such as Bob Reynolds of Graybar Electric and Grady Rosier of McLane Co. Together, we share ideas and talk about what we’re doing to perform better and to grow profitability. I’ve found these relationships to be most beneficial to me and to our business.

That’s why I want to encourage NAW member companies of all sizes and lines of trade to take advantage of everything that NAW has to offer. In fact, now is a perfect time to get involved. These events are coming up this spring and summer:

And it’s never too early to reserve your calendar for the next NAW Executive Summit, January 27-29, 2009, in Washington, DC.

Another great opportunity for you to network and benchmark with other distributor executives that doesn’t require face-to-face contact is “AskNAW”®. This is a Web-based tool that allows you to go out anonymously to your peers across the industry with questions and then get answers…in real time. It’s a valuable tool for getting comparison data beyond your traditional line of trade quickly and easily. And, because this information comes directly from distribution executives, it’s actionable.

I urge you to take full advantage of these opportunities by clicking on the links for full information.

Networking and benchmarking are why I value my NAW membership and why Wolseley will continue to keep NAW as a key strategic business partner. I hope your business will do the same.