STAFDA 2019: Are we in a distribution revolution?

Words by Hayley Everett, reporting from Nashville

Are we in a distribution revolution?

That was the question on the lips of STAFDA’s 2019 outgoing President Sean Baird at this year’s STAFDA (Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association) Conference and Trade Show as he addressed members during the General Session.

After thanking the outgoing STAFDA members and welcoming in those taking up the mantle for the next year, Baird turned to the audience to discuss a few key observations he had perceived during his time at the helm of the association.

He listed a number of concerns facing the industry, such as a shortage of skilled labour, manufacturers going straight to the end users and how the industry is now going through a ‘generational change’ as millennials and Gen Zs enter the workforce.

“We must act together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately,” Baird cited Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, emphasising that distributors need to pull together and work with each other to overcome the potential concerns facing the industry.

Baird was joined on the stage by CEO Georgia Foley, who praised the convention’s pre-registration numbers which stood at 4,590 at the time of the general session.

“STAFDA members set the barometer for other investors and investing companies, they want to know what you’re all thinking and that influences their decisions. You should all be proud of that,” Foley told the member audience.

She went on to discuss STAFDA’s upcoming partnership with 20 other distributor associations for a cross-industry survey to take place in 2020, specifically with distributors in mind. STAFDA will also be running workshops throughout next year around the country, as well as hosting healthcare webinars; a topic concerning the most frequently-answered question from STAFDA members.

Following two days of workshops and roundtables, the 2019 trade show element of STAFDA got underway after the ceremonial ribbon was cut by keynote speaker, former marine and endurance athlete David Goggins.

Stay tuned to for more from 2019's STAFDA show.