AIS unites and celebrates a successful year of trade

AIS (Australian Industrial Supplies) held its national conference at the Royal International Convention Centre, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, from October 10-12, with shareholders coming together from around Australia to reunite and celebrate a successful year that was.

Delegates were initially welcomed with a cocktail reception, compliments of three supplier sponsors, Saint-Gobain, Makita and Austech. The first day of the conference saw a speed dating/networking session kick off proceedings, which gave suppliers a chance to catch up with shareholders they often only see at the yearly conference. The session was specifically designed to allow suppliers and shareholders to conduct business together, acquire new business leads, while also establishing new contacts.

The speed dating/networking session was also a time to focus on business matters, rather than on product talk, which usually takes place at the trade show, an AIS spokesperson said.

Annual General Meeting
‘Working with you, for you’, was the key message delivered by AIS throughout the conference, particularly during the AGM.

Key notes evident during the AGM indicated that the trading period for the FY18 was successful, and also saw the fourth consecutive increase in trading period sales for the AIS group, according to a company spokesperson.

“The FY18 not only saw market improvements, but also shareholders’ continued improvements of their own businesses, which helped drive the success in-store. There was also a greater discipline around retail displays at store level, which has led to improved trading and a greater ability to stock a wider range and greater depth of product,” AIS Group General Manager Stephen Wallace said.

“Shareholders’ investment in extra staff, to drive account business, has also led to improved results. There are exciting times ahead as a few of our shareholders embark on larger, new purpose built industrial specialist retail stores. This will only improve their trading in the future,” he said.

Mr Wallace, was also pleased to announce that shareholder satisfaction has now reached a high of 92 per cent (up two per cent on the previous year).

“This is a fantastic result and details the value our shareholders see in the AIS Group. There is still plenty of work to do, particularly as AIS looks to launch its new communications platform at the back end of 2018, and continues to push the boundaries around using BI (Business Intelligence) data to assist the group in moving forward,” Mr Wallace said.

Trade show
The trade show is no doubt the biggest event of the conference, for both suppliers and shareholders. Each year, for the last five years, AIS announced that it has improved on the previous year’s purchases, bringing the purchases to a record amount for 2018 to $3.4 million.

“The trade show ran really well, with both shareholders and suppliers giving feedback on how great the venue was and how well the show was organised,” the spokeperson said.

The last day of the conference saw the trade show run for the majority of the day before suppliers and shareholders packed up their displays, to prepare for the gala dinner, awards and charity auction.

Gala dinner
At the commencement of the gala dinner, MC, Donald Mackee, welcomed delegates and thanked supplier sponsors for their support, while also offering a special mention to Prime Mover Work Wear, who provided all the shareholders with embroidered shirts for this year’s event. Newly appointed AIS Chairman, Pat Lane, welcomed dinner guests to the gala event and also thanked outgoing Chairman, Dean Candy for his services and dedication to the group over the years.

It is an ongoing tradition for AIS that during every gala dinner, money is also raised for a designated charity. Suppliers donate auction items, which are then collated into packs and auctioned off throughout the night.

For the first time in AIS conference history, silent auction items were included in this year’s fundraiser, adding to the total amount of money raised.

In the past two years, AIS has focused on raising money for Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision (MRV), an organisation created to support the understanding of Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes, while also assisting those suffering from the disease, through research. The organisation also provides support into treatments and prevention, with an aim to finding a cure, the spokesperson said.

“Captain of the St Kilda AFL Football Club, Nick Riewoldt, lost his sister to Aplastic Anaemia in 2015, after fighting the disease for five years. It was Maddie’s wish to speak to those suffering with the disease, as well as the general public, to raise awareness of Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes,” Mr Lane said.

AIS was pleased to announce that this year they raised a further $18,400 to Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision.

MRV Chief Executive Officer, Nicky Long, also attended the gala dinner and spoke to attendees on the work that MRV is currently implementing, and also what it means to receive the funding from AIS.

Annual awards
The much-anticipated awards were then presented, with AIS Group General Manager, Stephen Wallace and Chairperson, Pat Lane, announcing the following awards to proud recipients.
20 Year Awards – Horsham Bearings and Duguid Industrial.

  • Supplier Engagement – Rocket Tools.
  • Retail Excellence – Prime Supplies.
  • Shareholder of the Year, Small Format – Tool City.
  • Shareholder of the Year, Medium Format – GRH Suppliers.
  • Shareholder of the Year, Large Format – Kalgoorlie Case & Drill.
  • Supplier Stand of the Year – Sutton Tools.
  • Supplier Stand of the Year, Runner Up – Excision.
  • Supplier of the Year, Tier 1 – Paramount Safety Products.
  • Supplier of the Year, Tier 2 – BAR Group.

The ‘Everyday Hero Award’ was also announced, with criteria for the prestigious award including significant contribution to the local community, as well as being an inspirational role model for the AIS Group.

The ‘Everyday Hero Award’, was presented to Ash and Louie Trow (brothers) from Kalgoorlie Case & Drill, for their ongoing services to the Variety Club. During the five years that they have been a part of Variety Club, Ash and Louie have raised a total value of $339,504.89

Thanks was also given to the Catalogue Committee, with recognition to Bevan Branson, Bruce Hall and Mick Cowie.

At the conclusion of the conference, AIS announced its 2019 conference would be held in Perth, in October.