Seiche Sanders' portraitMy days as a Girl Scout taught me the value of the scouting motto: “Be Prepared.” I now realize that, like many “rules to live by” espoused by youth groups, the motto can be carried over easily to adulthood, as well as business.

It’s a motto with merit, yes, but some events are more difficult to anticipate. Anecdotes for inflation, the rising cost of fuel, and astronomical health care costs are difficult to factor into annual business plans, for example. (Read about rising trucking costs in our Newsworthy coverage.)

Contingencies for other nascent jan/san trends can also be put into place. Take the “green” movement. While some distributors remain unaffected by growing customer demand for green products, now’s the time to study the topic. Some distributors are taking a leadership role: ISSA’s May 25 workshop, “Pursuing the Green Cleaning Market,” in Arlington, Va., was sold out.

A distributor’s ability to offer green insight will go a long way when curious customers inquire about how these types of systems can be implemented into their facilities. In the article, “Green Sprawl,” we talk to end-user organizations about their own migration to green products and processes. I think you’ll be surprised at the rate at which information is being shared among your customers. End users are hungry for information on green; they want to know how a green plan could improve — and impact — their maintenance operations. When a customer measures your green aptitude, will you pass or fail?

This month’s coverage also includes SM’s annual examination of the wholesaler/distributor working relationship. These pipeline partnerships are more dynamic than ever, and are critical to getting products into the hands of end-users. Wholesalers share their opinions on why these relationships can be mutually beneficial. Distribution experts weigh in, too.