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MHEDA’s Convention, Distributors Excel

By Richard Donnelly, 2012 MHEDA President, EVP of Gregory Poole Equipment Co.

I just returned from the MHEDA Convention and, based on attendee feedback, it was very successful. Nineteen speakers and 16 presentations supported the theme “Re Imagine Your Business,” including Walter Bond, who opened the convention with a presentation on accountability and how you can make your organization more productive. I was very interested in Institute for Trend Research economist Alan Beaulieu’s presentation. At the 2008 Convention, I had heard his brother’s presentation and, based on what he said, our company took some steps to prepare us for 2009. Alan was very optimistic about the future and gave some recommendations on what companies should be doing based on where the industry is in the economic recovery. David Arvin, The Visibility Coach, made recommendations on how to brand your company and gain top of mind awareness over your competitors. William Walker, president of The Walker Consulting Group, discussed the impact of team selling and a coordinated approach with a single message to customers.

The workshops and ignite sessions focused on a wide range of topics to assist a manager in positioning his or her company for the current business cycle. They included customer service automation; search engine, website and email marketing strategies; succession planning and the emerging generation; banking relationships; and service technician productivity. And finally, there was a presentation from the Currie Group on financial trends and how to improve the profit ability of your company. Bob Currie and Matt Hicks compared the financial and productivity performance of average and high profit industrial truck and storage and handling/ engineered systems distributors. Their information was based on the recently completed 2011 MHEDA’s Distribution Statistical Comparison Report (DiSC).

Which brings me to this point: What is the difference between average and high performance distributors? This issue recognizes many of those high performing distributors. They are the Dealers of Excellence, Dealers of Distinction, Pinnacle Award Winners top guns of their suppliers and manufacturers. Have you noticed that many times the same distributors are recognized each year? Why is that? And traditionally, about 80 percent of the award winners are members of MHEDA.

I believe these distributors have a culture to excel in there market and strive for excellence. Critical to their success is a strategic planning process and the execution of that plan. Does your company have a strategic planning process? Do you develop a plan each year? Are your key managers involved in developing that plan? Is the plan communicated throughout your organization so everyone knows what is critical to achieving the goals established for that year?

In addition to developing a strategic plan, the execution of the plan is the difference between being an average distributor and a high performance distributor. Many companies develop a plan and put it on the shelf until the following year. I believe you need to review your plan at least quarterly and make adjustments based on changes in the market, competition or changes within your company. The distributors who do the best in executing a well-developed strategic plan are the most successful and often recognized as Dealers of Excellence.

It’s no coincidence that 80 percent of the award winners are MHEDA members. They use the MHEDA resources as they are executing their strategic plan. Convention, DiSC and employee surveys, webinars and live training seminars from MHEDA University are all valuable resources available to members. If you are a MHEDA member, are you taking advantage of these resources?

If you are not a MHEDA member, maybe you should consider joining. By taking advantage, your company could be one of the top guns or Dealers of Excellence Award winners.

Richard Donnelly


Richard Donnelly
2012 MHEDA President
EVP of Gregory Poole Equipment Co.