Every distributor should try to attend the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors’ (NAW) annual meeting in Washington. Offering recognizeable, and often venerable presenters, as well as access to big-picture decision-makers (President Bush himself addressed the group), few other industry events can match what it offers.

After two-plus days at last month’s meeting, I left with a deeper understanding of distribution issues, plus a fresh cache of ideas (look for complete coverage in SM’s March issue). Speeches by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and FOX’s political pundit Tony Snow, plus candid discussions with distributors via networking events made this event invaluable.

Extensive thinking and planning undoubtedly contributed to the success of the event. Often, it seems that it’s what goes on behind the scenes that has the biggest impact on the finished product.

SM’s Buyer’s Guide comes together in the same way. Our staff spends an entire year collecting, inputting and updating the information that appears within these pages. This painstaking process culminates in one of the most comprehensive and useful guides to the industry’s manufacturers, products and brands available.

Also in this issue: our Newsworthy section reports vital information on pending tax law changes — a topic on the minds of distributors as well as those on Capitol Hill.