Executive Director Kevin Gammonley Discusses NBMDA’s History of Facilitating Growth Within Distributors

Kevin Gammonley, executive vice president of the NBMDA (the North American Building Material Distribution Association), has worked closely with many distribution executives from some of the industry’s leading distribution and manufacturing companies during his 25-plus years as an association management professional.

NBMDA’s mission is to develop and promote the effectiveness of distribution processes to improve member profitability and growth. The association represents the premier wholesale distributors of wood panels, surfacing materials, cabinet hardware, finishes and related woodworking products. Membership comprises distributors and manufacturers that serve independent building material and kitchen/bath dealers, as well as production companies involved in cabinetry, architectural woodwork, stock woodwork, store fixtures, solid surface fabricating and plastics fabricating. Distributor members operate more than 900 distribution centers throughout the U.S. and Canada and have a collective purchasing power of more than $15 billion.

“Our ultimate goal is to help distributors grow,” Gammonley said. “This growth comes in many ways. It may be bottom-line growth or sales growth. For some companies, it is growth of their people, and for most members, it is highlighted through growth in leadership of its senior executives.

“We do this in a variety of ways: through education and training; dissemination of benchmarking data; introduction to new supply chain technologies; facilitating the sharing of best practices, and exposing member companies to new ideas and upcoming channel trends,” Gammonley said.

Every distributor has its own unique competitive edge and has decided on its own how to position itself in the marketplace. NBMDA provides these distributors with a constantly evolving menu of programs, products and services that they may pick and choose from to strengthen their unique brand and approach to customer service.

NBMDA is known for its long history of providing highly relevant and cost-effective education and training for distribution managers and senior executives, as well as their sales forces. Education covers all topics related to distribution management and general business while being delivered via multiple mediums, including online education, webinars and in-person conferences. In 2018, NBMDA delivered an eight-part distribution sales webinar and podcast series presented by a leading authority and trainer on distribution sales.

Industry research, benchmarking data and trend reports have been a major area of focus for NBMDA over the past several years. This industry intelligence helps distribution executives compare themselves to other leading distributors, as well as providing channel-specific trend data from which to make decisions. This year, NBMDA introduced its 2018 Financial Benchmarking Report, which aggregates member financial data and delivers confidential, company-specific reports that highlight where a company is strong as well as areas that need attention. The industry report showcases key industry ratios and averages while highlighting how high-profit distributorships operate.

 “Our value proposition is built around enhancing the wholesale distribution process,” Gammonley said. “As distributors help to pull products through the supply chain, NBMDA addresses trends and best practices related to their relationships upstream with manufacturers and also downstream with customers and purchase influencers, such as architects and designers who spec, develop and stimulate demand.”

One of the organization’s strengths is that it attracts the most successful and innovative distribution companies in the industry. This network truly represents the “movers and shakers” of the distribution community. It is a group of peers and competitors who enjoy connecting with each other to learn from one another and from topical experts.

Gammonley praised the caliber of the organization’s volunteer leaders: “The members of NBMDA are leaders of their own companies and communities, as well as marketplace leaders. They are an impressive group of people—hard-working, forward-leaning—and they have a real service orientation. They want to make the channel stronger and give back to the industry. Many of our members represent family-owned companies that have achieved market leadership and success through vision and persistence. What has made them successful in their businesses is what makes the NBMDA strong.”

It’s an exciting time for the building material and woodworking distribution channels, Gammonley noted. The market is fairly strong, and the vast majority of member firms are experiencing growth.

 In November 2018, NBMDA will partner with the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) to host its eighth consecutive joint NBMDA + NAFCD Annual Convention & Tabletop Networking Forum in Dallas, Texas. At this unique event, the supply chain for cabinets, countertops and flooring surfacing come together for networking and education. Channel partner relationships are begun or strengthened at this event, and its 800 plus attendees return to their distribution companies energized and ready to implement their growth plans for the coming year. To learn more, visit www.distributorconvention.org.