More than 350 distributors and manufacturers attended the annual Executive Planning Conference (EPC), hosted by Distribution America and PRO Group at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, Arizona, Nov. 14-16.
Attendees participated in more than 2,600 one-on-one sessions, allowing distributors and manufacturers to discuss many topics, ranging from new product and program launches, prior year fill-rates, order turnaround time, promotional effectiveness and new business opportunities.
“The EPC conference is a great opportunity to share insights with our vendor partners into each other’s business and to leverage that insight into plans that will ultimately drive additional sales through our retailers, says Steve Draeger, president and CEO at United Hardware. “The environment is truly conducive to developing quality partnerships that benefit all parties.”
In addition to the one-on-one sessions, the unique networking events offered an opportunity for distributor and vendor partners to discuss the coming year’s business in a more relaxed atmosphere.
“The EPC’s timing is well-aligned with manufacturer and distributor executives who want to finalize 2018 actions and lay the groundwork for 2019 initiatives,” Steve Synnott, president and CEO of PRO Group Inc. says. “Attendees truly value the event, the executive interaction it facilitates and the opportunities to socialize with peers in a resort setting.”
“The EPC meeting gave our company a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with the people driving change at some of our largest vendor partners,” said Alex Hodge, director of sales at Horizon Distribution. “In addition, the great show buys and networking among peers in the industry made this meeting well worth the investment of time and money.”
Additionally, Dave Christmas, president and CEO of Distribution America, emphasizes that in addition to one-on-one meetings, the event also highlights vendors who are excelling within their product category through the Vendor of the Year awards.
The three-day event also featured a scramble golf tournament and a football-themed reception sponsored by the National Hardware Show®. The popular feature item display area also returned this year. Distributor attendees selected the best new products and presented awards to the manufacturers in the major hardline categories. The New Product Winners included an overall award to RZ Mask for the Air Filtration Dust and Pollution Mask.
Best New Product Awards
- Hand & Power Tools – Stanley Black & Decker 20V Max Inflator
- Hardware – Screw-It-Again Wood Anchor
- Paint Sundries – Rustoleum High Output Spray Paint
- Plumbing – Magna Industries Quick-Fix Copper Pipe Repair
- Electrical – Leviton Manufacturing USB Combination Outlet
- Lawn & Garden/Pet – Swan Products Element Viper Hose
- Specialty – Camco Manufacturing Wine Tumbler Set
- Overall Winner – RZ Mask Air Filtration Dust and Pollution Mask
Distribution America Vendors of the Year
- Electrical: Gardner Bender
- Paint and Paint Sundries: Linzer
- Hardware: Midwest Fastener
- Hand and Power Tools: Century Drill
- Plumbing: Genova Products, Inc.
- Lawn and Garden: Woodstream
- 2018 Overall Vendor Partnership Award: Stanley Black & Decker
PRO Group, Inc. Key Suppliers of the Year
- Tools: Stanley Black & Decker
- Plumbing: Oatey SCS
- Hardware: Master Lock Co.
- Paint Sundries: DAP Products Inc.
- Electrical: World & Main
- Lawn and Garden: Swan Products
- Key Supplier of the Year: Chapin International