IBC’s Annual Conference Features Networking, Continuing Education, and Best Practices

With a brand-new venue and a full agenda of member-driven content, IBC’s annual conference is laser-focused on helping members and suppliers work together to strengthen market positioning and gain market share.

With the goal of bringing together its top-notch group of Independent Distributors and Preferred Suppliers for three days of networking, educational sessions, relationship-building, and sharing best practices, IBC hosted its annual National Conference on Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL.

This year’s conference took place at a brand-new venue in the Sunshine State and featured rich, member-driven content. The overall theme for the annual gathering was “The Future is Bright,” highlighting IBC’s new focus on member-driven committees, enhanced network groups, and the sharing of cutting-edge best practices. 

In his keynote speech, Ron Nuñez, IBC’s President & COO encouraged members to join forces with other distributors and suppliers to strengthen market positioning and gain market share—at a time when both goals are getting more difficult for individual companies to attain. “Our success as a buying group and National Contract Provider requires each of us to paddle together as a team; our strokes must be synchronized,” Nuñez told attendees.

During the two day conference, attendees also explored new business opportunities in 15-minute, one-on-one “Round Robin” meetings with senior-level decision makers. Arranged in advance, these short meetings gave distributors and preferred suppliers valuable face time that’s not always possible in today’s hectic business world.

At the 2018 National Conference, IBC shared the progress of new member-driven committees: The Industrial Product Committee, which was developed to help significantly increase purchases with strategically-aligned preferred suppliers and to identify potential new IBC preferred suppliers. The National Conference Committee, a team of distributor members who worked alongside IBC operations and marketing departments to make significant changes to the IBC National Conference, including a day dedicated to continuing education for distributor members.

As part of the new programming format, IBC invited staff from Texas A&M’s Industrial Distribution Program to present on Optimizing Distributor Profitability & Distributor Growth and Sales & Marketing Optimization. The session presented IBC members with key findings from the University’s ongoing research consortia. The half-day presentation also provided an integrated framework for generating, managing, and sustaining profitable growth, complete with real-world case studies and a focus on customer profitability analytics. IBC members and vendors also participated in an impactful panel discussion, “Best Practices in Vending: What Industrial Distributors Should Know." Real Results Marketing wapped up the day with strategies for creating a high-performing e-commerce channel.

“Every year a portion of our National Conference is dedicated to sharing best practices among members,” said Nuñez.” As a result of the positive feedback received from these sessions, IBC also announced a new plan for increasing member communication through expanded networking programs. Formalized networking groups are another member benefit in a growing list of programs like the award-winning National Contract Program, IBC

University, the IBC Marketing Resource Center, and IBC Central Billing. IBC also announced a new partnership with savings4members, a program that offers members deep discounts on products and services commonly purchased by independent businesses. “This progress is all in the spirit of coming together as a group to make us stronger,” Nuñez added.

At the annual Awards & Recognition Luncheon, IBC recognized distributors and suppliers who represented outstanding growth and engagement within the group. These distributors and suppliers were honored at this year’s event:

2018 IBC Distributor of the Year

  • Christensen Machinery Supply Company

2018 IBC Supplier of the Year

  • Boss Manufacturing

Sales Excellence Awards

  • YG-1
  • Proto Industrial
  • Brighton-Best International

Purchase Power Awards

  • Tech Service Products
  • Lindco Springfield
  • The Tool Crib

Pedal to the Metal Award

  • Allied Tools, Inc.

Knowledge is Power Award

  • Teri Cincebox, Carbide Cutting Tools, Abrasives, Inc.

Knowledge is Power Award

  • Christensen Machinery Supply Company


  • OTP Industrial Solutions

Calling this year’s national meeting a major success, Nuñez says IBC and its members and suppliers are well positioned to tackle the challenges placed in front of them in 2019 and beyond. “When I looked around at the conference attendees, I saw a buying group that shares and learns from one another,” he said. “We know that we are all in this together and if one of us succeeds, we all succeed.”