Part three of our four-part roundtable compares buying groups to trade associations.

Do buying group members feel that their membership replaces benefits of membership in the overall trade association?

Yes and no. Buying groups and trade associations are not diametrically opposed to one another — we do different things. Trade associations for instance do not offer their members better negotiated pricing or rebate programs with manufacturers. Some distributors however, have chosen to attend DPA’s annual buying conference instead of the trade association show because they prefer our format. The DPA show allows them to meet with the suppliers they want to see without the presence of end users. With that said, DPA is a longtime member of the ISSA, and I believe it plays an incredibly important role in our industry, and we are proud to support it. That is why we invite the ISSA to attend our annual conference and DPA also exhibits at its trade show. — Zachary Haines, executive director, DPA Buying Group, Cincinnati

At SMA, we believe the scope and motives of trade associations prominent in their channels are most often complimentary with group membership. In fact, SMA is fortunate to have two of its owners serving in executive positions in two prominent trade organizations; president of the National Association of Wholesale Distributors and president pro-tem of the ISSA. Several other SMA owners serve on various committees within a variety of trade associations, as well. In the end, distributors focus their involvement in places where they find value. — Dick McGann, president and CEO, Strategic Market Alliance, Charlotte, North Carolina

In my view, groups and trade associations are seeking the same overarching goal — a healthy, viable base of distribution. Sharing data, resources, programs and services could only benefit the industry. To that end, I believe that more collaboration between these two entities would provide better opportunities for distributors to succeed in the marketplace. — Michael Wilson, vice president of marketing and communications, AFFLINK, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Trade associations and buying groups really supplement each other; one can’t replace the other. Trade associations like ISSA work to promote our industry, and buying groups have a completely different purpose. We never discourage members from participating in trade associations. — Bob Klief, vice president of marketing, The United Group, Monroe, Louisiana

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Why Join A Buying Group?
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Comparing Vendor Discounts And Rebates