TEDA growth hits 10 percent

The Tool & Equipment Distributors Association 2008 annual meeting on June 10-11 in Annapolis, Md., again put manufacturers, warehouse distributors and trade press together in one place for networking, golf, and new products and procedures.

Glenn Pratt, TEDA president, took time before the exhibit floor opened on June 11 to give attendees a breakdown of TEDA’s progress and needs, and also to recognize several vendors key to TEDA’s mission within the distribution process.

Pratt’s overview on TEDA business was certainly positive. While the group’s average increase from 2002-’06 was 5 percent per year, 2006 to 2007 saw a 10 percent increase in group volume performance. That 10 percent included a 17 percent spike in the first half of the year tempered by a slower second half.

“The TEDA meetings, as always, are very informative as to the direction of the group, its members and the state of the automotive market in their view,” said Eric Mills, Streamlight director of sales.

Pratt’s overview also showed that more than half of TEDA’s volume is driven by just three market segments: specialty tools, 24 percent; hand tools, 19 percent; and electronic test equipment, 10 percent.

In addition, many segments showed significant growth in 2007 vs. 2006. Leading the way was electronic test equipment at 23-percent growth, followed by battery service products (up 20 percent), power tools (up 19 percent), shop lighting (up 14 percent), lubrication equipment (up 13 percent) and hand tools (up 10 percent).

Posting positive numbers leads to positive meetings, too.

“I and the TEDA membership felt the 2008 Vendor Advisory meetings were the most productive of any of the previous 13 sessions,” Pratt said. “The large turnout and positive attitudes were the most gratifying to me, contrary to the ‘gloom and doom’ that the mainstream media attempts to feed us every night.”

Vendors agree that the meetings are good for business.

“The positives that come out of the TEDA conference are the casual interactions between the vendors, TEDA members and the constructive discussions that occur due to this relaxed atmosphere,” Mills said of the meeting structure. “We were able to, in one day, introduce our new C4 LED line of flashlights and discuss future products with all of the TEDA members.

“Overall it’s a good forum for us to meet with customers from across the country to personally discuss new products, promotions and more.”

Pratt took the opportunity at the 2007 meeting to recognize the association’s 20-year vendors. They are: American Power Pull, Associated Equipment, Clore Automotive (Solar), Crushproof Tubing, Danaher Tool Group (K-D), Irwin Industrial (Vise Grip), Ken Tool, Laitner Brush, Lincoln Lubrication, Milton Industries, Plews Division, S&G Tool Aid, S-K Hand Tools, SPX Corp. (OTC), Sunex Tools and WMH Tool Group (Wilton).

The TEDA members also recognized the following vendors for their marketing and growth achievements over the past year: A&E Hand Tools, Calvan Tools, Danaher Tool Group, Equus Products, Irwin Industrial, Lincoln Industrial, Motor Guard, Precision Instruments and Star Asia/USA Titan.

For next year, Pratt promises more of the same in meetings, networking and recognition for vendors — with one small change.

“We have worked the past 14 years in tweaking the meeting so it runs smooth for our vendor guests,” he said. “The only change for 2009 will be moving back to the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Maryland. There will be no travel from the hotel to the golf course as the Turf Valley has 36 holes on its property.”

“I like the fact that they are going back to Turf Valley,” Mills said.

As TEDA is “dedicated to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the distribution system” as a link between manufacturers and end users, Turf Valley will be the place to be in June 2009.