As the resort town of Newport, R.I., enjoyed its last major summer fling Sept. 14, The Newport International Boat Show, HARDI members began trekking in to attend the Purchasing Optimization Conference.

This event, the final one of a foursome sponsored by HARDI, drew from a range of top experts.

A brief recap of their central message includes:


Real World Negotiating

Negotiating expert Joe Rice isn’t about all those “general” rules and negotiation that we read about in the consumer press. His seminar, Real World Negotiating, focused on situations that arise in the purchasing world of the wholesaler business. Rice stressed the Laws of Negotiating a blueprint for a successful negotiation. A partial list of the laws includes: 

  • Law 1: Know your leverage – when and how to use it.
  • Law 2: The opening minutes are critical, so watch your words carefully.
  • Law 3: Retarget the negotiation on your agenda.
  • Law 4: Aim high.
  • Law 5: Get the supplier’s entire shopping list before trading anything.

For more information, contact Rice at


Inspire Your suppliers: Developing Supplier Scorecards that Bring Out Their Best

Developing a scoring system with your suppliers is critical to the success of every distributorship, according to Karl Manrodt, Ph.D., Georgia Southern University. An important part of creating a scorecard that will shift a supplier to understanding your goals is to focus your firm on the initial preparation phase. According to Manrodt, you can accomplish this by:

  • Prepare your firm by developing a Validated Value Added statement (VVA).
  • A good VVA® will follow guidelines that include:
    • Establishing department metrics that support the overall corporate objectives.
    • Linking accountability for the goals to where the work gets done.
    • Creating an environment where employees use their metrics to drive positive change in the business.

For a fuller explanation of the process, contact Manrodt at


Driving Procurement Success through Procurement Metrics

You’ve heard it dozens of times: Measure your efforts. Yet with some predictability, we either fail to follow this solid advice or do so inadequately.  During the session by Soheila R. Lunney, Ph.D., president, Lunney Advisory Group, she covered the breadth of metrics including performance perspectives from an internal, supplier and financial vantage point. She also covered measuring and reporting cost savings.

Her “Cliffs Notes” to achieving metrics success include:

  • Focus on a longer-term strategy, not short-term gains.
  • Have a holistic approach; suboptimization equals failure.
  • Keep it simple and take baby steps.
  • Metrics need to be aligned with organizational goals.
  • Secure top-level management support and buy-in.
  • Focus on progression and not perfection.

For more information, contact Lunney at


Finding the Balance: Inventory Turns and Customer Service

Well-known consultant and dynamic speaker Jason Bader, principal, the Distribution Team, explained to attendees how to analyze their customers needs while continuing to make investments in their inventory. Bader shared his keys to success by noting:

  • Be sure to measure both turns and customer service.
  • Purify the turns number.
  • Run a monthly obituary for your dead and slow [stock].
  • Consider a dead stock coordinator.
  • Establish dead stock goals.
  • Develop a customer-centric view of inventory.
  • Review the safety stock settings in your system.

For a fuller explanation, contact Bader at


How to Survive Washington

HARDI’s legislative guru, Jon Melchi, director of government affairs, provided an overview of legislative and regulatory issues that will or could affect our industry. In trying to add clarity to complex political issues and questions, Melchi covered the spectrum of topics ranging from What’s Next from the EPA to political races this fall, including HARDI-endorsed candidates in the House and Senate.

If you need direction on a political or legislative issue, contact Melchi at  


Is attending a Focus Forum Worth it? Here’s the view of one attendee.

“I attended the HARDI Focus Conference on Purchasing Optimization because I want to understand the challenges my customers face every day,” says Peter Gould, president, The Gould Co.  “As the manufacturers’ representative, I need to know what works from both the factory’s and the distributor’s perspective [when it comes to moving product].”