Recapping AD's Industrial & Safety-Canada Division Supplier Summit

Over Nov. 15-19, the division's second 2021 Supplier Summit virtually reunited over 700 participants from member and supplier organizations.

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Mike Hockett/Industrial Distribution

TORONTO — AD’s Industrial & Safety–Canada Division virtually reunited over 700 participants from member and supplier organizations during the division’s second Supplier Summit of 2021, facilitating over 2,400 face-to-face meetings throughout the event. The meeting took place Nov. 15-19 with the goal of fostering strategic discussions to devise new ways of outpacing the market.

Rob Dewar, president of AD Canada, spoke on the success the division has experienced throughout an unparalleled year and a half, while reflecting on the pertinence of this year’s meeting theme, True North.

“We are remarkably proud of the triumphs we have experienced within our astute alliance of members and suppliers throughout 2021”, emphasized Dewar. “With an impressive growth in member purchases with divisional AD suppliers in 2021, we continue to prove our guiding notion that we are stronger together. This year’s meeting theme, True North, further encapsulates this idea by calling upon all of us to contemplate both our personal and organizational ‘true norths’ during these ever-changing times. Entrenched in the belief that core values and strong conviction make AD’s independents resilient, we celebrate our member and supplier companies today and every day for their unending dedication to winning together.”

AD Industrial & Safety-Canada outgoing Chairperson Scott Simpson (upper left) presented alongside incoming Chairperson Guy Desroches (upper right), President Rob Dewar (middle left), Marketing Manager Darryl Lee, Vice President of Finance & Operations Brad Harper (bottom left) and Vice President of Supplier Relations John Morrison (bottom right).AD Industrial & Safety-Canada outgoing Chairperson Scott Simpson (upper left) presented alongside incoming Chairperson Guy Desroches (upper right), President Rob Dewar (middle left), Marketing Manager Darryl Lee, Vice President of Finance & Operations Brad Harper (bottom left) and Vice President of Supplier Relations John Morrison (bottom right).

Member governance at the forefront of division’s work

The event’s business update also saw the sign off-of the division’s longstanding Chairperson, Scott Simpson of S.B. Simpson Group. Simpson will remain on the division’s board.

“It was my great privilege to serve as the Industrial & Safety–Canada chairperson for this dynamic union over the past number of years”, recounted Simpson. “From the 2019 integrative merger that amplified our network, to the day-to-day actions of the AD team that serve our members, and the strong commitment from our partners, AD Canada is truly a special place. I have no doubt that my successor, Guy Desroches, will extend the efforts of our goals of continually fostering strong relationships and engagement levels between AD’s member and supplier partners.”

Incoming Chairperson Guy Desroches, president of PSB Chaleurs/CONFIAN, spoke on his pledge to AD’s members and suppliers.

“As we bid a heartfelt farewell to Scott as chairperson, it is my promise to our partners that in this new position, I will make it my priority to cultivate connections between AD’s member and supplier organizations, while honing in on opportunities to learn from one another — because there is truly so much knowledge and experience that we can leverage between us,” said Desroches. “Going back to the very tagline of AD — ‘Together, we win’ — it has never felt so relevant. After 20 long months of reinventing ourselves, it is time to get back together, more unified than ever. I eagerly anticipate seeing our members and suppliers in Vancouver in 2022 for our next supplier summit”.

The kickoff touched on a few previously launched undertakings that continue to provide value for AD’s partners. Among them, AD Industrial & Safety–Canada’s supplier webinar series connects AD’s members to its supplier community by providing informative webinars, opportunities for additional training and an open line of communication between organizations. The recently unveiled supplier star rating system provides an internal scale based on objectively measurable criteria that echo a supplier’s efforts in areas such as rebate programs, market planning, meeting participation and more.

The supplier summit’s virtual one-on-one booth meetings between members and suppliers offered a platform for companies to share best practices and strategize on breakthrough ways to expand the independent channel. A follow-up survey found that 97% of members and 98% of suppliers surveyed were pleased with the meetings, with the appointments offering a convenient way to connect with a myriad key decision makers over one week.

Among the participants that found the meetings valuable was Mark Levac, president of member company Levac Supply.

“The AD Supplier Summit was a huge success”, said Levac. “Nothing but good things to say about the engagement level of our supplier community throughout the four days of the summit. Despite significant disruption in the supply chain in recent months, the mood was upbeat and positive in all our meetings. We are well-poised for a successful 2022 with the support of our AD supplier partners. Kudos to the entire AD team for a job well done.”

Launch of new initiative helps break glass ceiling

The supplier summit also saw the formal launch of an important new initiative aimed at empowering women across AD Canada’s industries. The Women in Industry Network’s kickoff session during the event featured two panel discussions highlighting accomplished women from a variety of backgrounds in industries that are traditionally male dominated. Topics ranged from the importance of mentorship to how partner organizations are incorporating diversity and inclusion into their corporate initiatives in 2021 and beyond.

It’s being spearheaded by AD Canada’s Marketing Program Specialist Caroline Ebeid, who shared her excitement about plans for the future.

“We are ecstatic that the kickoff was such a great success,” says Ebeid. “With the support of both women and men across AD Canada, we keenly anticipate the ability to prompt meaningful change in our community. We look forward to bringing our network members additional events, workshops, resources and experiences, all with the dedicated goal of contributing positively to equaling the playing field.”

The kickoff session also left a lasting impact with attendees and panelists. Suzanne Jackson, key account manager of supplier partner 3M Canada participated on the session’s first panel. Jackson relayed the effect of both the supplier summit at large and the introductory Women in Industry Network session, specifically.

“AD Canada was able to produce another first-rate virtual summit in 2021,” said Jackson. “It enabled our teams to connect and discuss the ever-changing environment with our member partners and adjust our plans accordingly. The inaugural Women in Industry network session was motivating and inspiring! Well done, AD!”

Reuniting in person in 2022

The 2022 AD Industrial & Safety–Canada Supplier Summit is slated to be held May 30–June 2 at the JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver. The AD Canada team eagerly anticipates the opportunity to facilitate in-person connections between members and suppliers after a long-awaited two years.

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