When the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) opened its convention and trade show to building service contractors and other end users in 1999, it was a very big step. The group had been a supplier organization and not all members were prepared to discuss pricing with manufacturers while customers could be nearby.

But many more suppliers realized the value in bringing all players in the cleaning industry together to generate discussion, learn about the latest innovations and network. This year, in addition to a full-day of BSC seminars at the trade show, ISSA invited BSCs to its “Train the Trainer” seminar, which was a rousing success this summer. There, contractors, in-house managers, distributors and manufacturers came together to learn how to manage workers.

We at Contracting Profits see this commitment to partnering with different players in the industry not just in the actions of ISSA, but also in many of the stories we hear of individual distributor relationships. There are suppliers out there who truly partner with their BSC customers to provide what is necessary to offer quality cleaning service.

Since some of these companies have served BSCs for decades, we decided to talk with them to find out what does and doesn’t work in supply relationships. You’ll find some valuable advice in this month’s cover story, that will be quite useful in your own supply relationships.

And speaking of advice, we regret to inform you that one of our valued columnists, Joe Fairley, has ended his tenure with Contracting Profits. We hope you were paying close attention to his advice, seeing as his operations have grown so large and successful that he no longer has time to write.

We appreciate the time and effort Joe put into his column the last three years, and hope you did as well. If you see him around the industry, please thank him for his willingness to share ideas with you.