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Top 20 Stories of 2013: #7 NAW speaker predicts strong economy, inflation in copper prices for 2013

Every weekday in December, tED magazine is counting down the Top 20 Stories of 2013. Below, the #7 story of 2013, originally posted on January 30, 2013.

By Jack Keough

The U.S. economy is strong and expanding and, as a result, 2013 will be a solid year for distributors, Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics, told attendees at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors annual meeting today in Washington, D.C.

NAW Day 2: CRM is ‘hot’ in distribution according to NAW speaker 

Beaulieu, whose economic firm has an excellent record for forecasting, added there will be a slight cooling off in business during the latter part of the year.

Alan Beaulieu speaks to attendees at NAW annual meeting. Photo credit: Kaveh Sardari/NAW

Beaulieu told attendees they should be aggressive in investing in their businesses, noting that interest rates will continue to be low. While he is optimistic about 2013, he predicted a mild recession next year but nothing of the magnitude we experienced in 2009.

“Our economy right now is in great shape,” he said. Beaulieu pointed to a number of economic indicators signaling strength in the economy. Specifically, he pointed to exports being up, increased employment and the fact that banks are lending again as leading economic signs.

“Nothing worries me about 2013,” Beaulieu added.

Although his company normally does not forecast the stock market, Beaulieu said he believes there will be a market correction in June of this year.

He also warned that inflation is coming and that copper prices will be increasing due to heavy demand from China.

In another presentation, Patrick Houlahan of Afterburner, a former U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot, described the link between focused military discipline and the achievement of business objectives.

He identified the four critical areas in flying fighter planes and completing those business goals. “You have to plan, brief your staff, execute and then conduct a debriefing,” he said.

Houlahan said the key to establishing these goals is through a thorough understanding of the Flawless Execution System pyramid used by fighter pilots.

Graybar is one distributor that has made those objectives attainable. John Mansfield, vice president of business development for the St. Louis-based distributor told NAW members of the success his company has enjoyed as a result of using the Afterburner system.

Graybar’s John Mansfield speaks to attendees at NAW annual meeting. Photo credit: Kaveh Sardari/NAW

Mansfield said several improvements that have resulted, particularly in assisting employees in their presentation skills to customers.

Previously, he said, salespeople would be working on their presentations for customers at the last minute with little time to critique. Now, long before the presentation is to be made, the salesperson makes the presentation to the “Red Team” consisting of three to five people. The team makes suggestions and recommendations.

“The quality of presentations went up markedly,” Mansfield said. “The presenters said it was harder to present to the Red Team than the customer.”

tEDmag.com will have more updates from NAW’s annual meeting throughout the course of the event.



Read the rest of the Top 20 list here:

#20 Crescent Electric Acquires Lake Electric Supply – March 5, 2013
#19 Reports: Copper Delivery Prices Soar – May 31, 2013
#18 Blog: WESCO Outlook – August 13, 2013
#17 Graybar achieves near-record profitability in 2012 – March 15, 2013
#16 Blog: Wesco’s Strategies For Growth – November 13, 2013
#15 Blog: Siemens shareholders approve Osram spin off – January 25, 2013
#14 Blog: Acquisitions fueled distributors’ growth in 2012 – March 4, 2013
#13 Southwire Introduces Electrician’s Tools – July 18, 2013
#12 Southwire Announces Organizational Changes – January 22, 2013
#11 2013 tED Magazine Best Of The Best Awards – August 7, 2013
#10 Blog: Amazon, Google Supply Update – August 30, 2013
#9  WSJ: Copper supply concerns – April 15, 2013
#8  Huge copper theft bust in Arizona valued at $10 million – May 6, 2013
#7  NAW speaker predicts strong economy, copper inflation for 2013 – January 30, 2013
#6  Leff Electric Acquired by AMP Electric  – October 2, 2013
#5  Southwire to roll out new cable pull technology  – March 12, 2013
#4  Super Bowl blackout traced to preventive equipment  – February 8, 2013
#3  tED magazine 2013 30 Under 35 List  – June 4, 2013
#2  Eaton executive outlines company’s future with Cooper  – January 8, 2013


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