Winners Of 2008 Industry Achievement Awards Honored At NASGW’s Historic 35th Anniversary Expo

Winners Of 2008 Industry Achievement Awards Honored At NASGW’s Historic 35th Anniversary Expo

NASGW Annual Expo

NASGW Annual Expo –-( Perhaps more now than ever, manufacturers need to keep their fingers on the pulse of what is important to the industry to truly succeed in our present economy. Resting on even well deserved laurels simply isn’t enough to stay ahead of the pack, it seems. That’s why the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) was proud to honor excellence in the 2008 winners of its prestigious Industry Achievement Awards, at the associations’ recent Annual Expo in Atlanta’s famed Mart Facility.

This year’s NASGW Annual Expo was an exceptional one, commemorating the 35th Anniversary of its Annual Meeting and Events, wherein the association announced the winners of a new and enhanced awards program to honor its outstanding manufacturers. This annual awards program allows the industry’s leading distributors – NASGW wholesaler members – to select and honor the association’s top four manufacturers in several key categories from criteria including two-step distribution policy, partnership with distributors, marketing, promotions and sales, logistics and operations, and NASGW and industry support. The four award categories were: Chairman’s Award for Industry Leadership, Firearms Manufacturer of the Year, Ammunition Manufacturer of the Year and Accessory Manufacturer of the Year.

“It is wonderful to see so many companies striving to continue to set the bar ever higher for achievement. Each winner exemplifies the true meaning of excellence and sets the benchmark for innovation and collaboration between the wholesale members and the manufacturing element in our industry,” says Mike Brown, Chairman of the NASGW Board of Directors. “As always, there were so many exceptional nominees to consider, all of whom contribute profoundly to the future growth of our industry. Receiving a nomination in any one of these categories is a testament to a company’s strong reputation within the industry and among its peers.”

The NASGW Chairman’s Award for Industry Leadership honors went to Glock, a company that has been recognized by its colleagues and partners with this award in 2006 and the Firearms Manufacturer of the Year honors the previous year. Glock has been participating in the new ItemHQ program and has been a staunch supporter of the two-step distribution process for years, treating its wholesale teams as true partners. “Before we implement any new program, we talk to our major distributors to make sure they’re in line with what we’re planning,” says Craig Dutton, Director of Sales for Glock. “We don’t want to do anything to take money out of their pockets – we want to put money in! We want our distributors and our dealers to make as much profit as possible, so we keep a two way stream open line of communication with them, and make sure that we go to great lengths to enforce our MAP (Minimum Advertising Pricing) policies to ensure their profitability. This is an awesome award for us to receive, especially since it’s voted on by our customers. It truly makes it special.”

The Firearms Manufacturer of the Year award was presented to the innovators at Sturm Ruger, & Co., Inc. for the second consecutive year. Perhaps not surprisingly, as Ruger has long been a very visible and vocal proponent of the two-step distribution system. “We are profoundly honored to receive such a prestigious award from the industry two years in a row,” said Ruger CEO Mike Fifer. “Our company has an ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of our customers – our wholesale partners. We would like to thank the NASGW and its members who selected us for this recognition, and appreciate the affirmation of our hard work and innovation in the market.”

Winchester Ammunition, another company that epitomizes the synergy possible in the manufacturer/distributor partnership, was ranked the highest in every category overall and took the coveted Ammunition Manufacturer of the Year award, along with recognition from the NASGW for 35 years of consistent participation in the Expo. “It’s always a surprise and an honor to receive this kind of recognition from your valued customers,” said Brett Flaugher, Vice President Marketing and Sales for Winchester. “We find that there’s no better way to stay connected than through personal communication with our distributor partners, so we maintain close contact via one-on-one contact, through the web, email and other outlets – we stay highly involved in the process to keep lines of communication open both ways.”

Winchester, a company that has been an industry leader since 1866, takes its rightful place as one of the true pioneers in the market and is proud of its strong heritage in our country as a result, while still keeping a close eye on the future and opportunities to excel, such as being 100 percent compliant with NASGW’s new ItemHQ PIMS system. “Our groups of distributors have become very technologically advanced over the last few years, and we’ve embraced that new level of sophistication with them and changed our business model accordingly,” said Flaugher. “Our customers expect new innovations from us – it’s safe to say that new products control our destiny – so we’re constantly working to create products that our customers can sell, and introduce them early enough to facilitate effectively bringing them to market across the board.”

The award for Accessory Manufacturer of the Year went to Birchwood Casey, proudly celebrating its 60th year of doing business, and also recognized as one of the companies that has exhibited at the NASGW show consecutively for all 35 years. “We are very honored to receive this award,” said Michael Wenner, Vice President of the company. “And it’s important to note that this was achieved through the collaboration of our entire team, from the factory, shipping, invoicing and purchasing – they’re the ones that really make it happen.”

There’s a slogan on the wall at Birchwood Casey that sums up the collective attitude of the company: “You are only as good as your team.” According to Wenner, “We truly believe that our distributor partners are a big part of that team, and we try to be progressive, while sticking to the fundamentals: attention to detail, delivering good products at a reasonable price, and staying ahead of the curve.”

For more information about the NASGW, contact the association at PO Box 881525 Port St. Lucie, FL 34988   (772) 621-7162   Or visit the association’s website at . The winners of the 2008 Industry Achievement Awards of the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) were announced at the recent Annual Expo held in Atlanta’s Mart Facilities.

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