In early June, the Marble Institute of America (MIA) began asking its U.S.-based, wholesale natural stone slab distributor members to participate in the industry’s first-ever, distributor-only benchmarking survey. This survey follows the successful fabricators’ survey conducted last year. The purpose of this survey is the same: to help the natural stone industry strengthen its financial position by establishing financial benchmarks and providing an analysis of the surveyed companies’ positions compared to other firms their size. “The era of easy, and even automatic profits has come to a sudden halt,” stated Gary Distelhorst, MIA Executive Vice President. “The natural stone distribution industry has moved from trying to keep up with demand to battling on sales, pricing, expense control and every other aspect of operations.” The survey will collect the usual information on gross margins and expense control. However, results will be arranged to provide direct comparisons between the participating firm and the aggregate information. The survey results will not be made available for sale to nonparticipating companies until 2009.

Participating companies receive: The Performance Analysis Report; a financial and operating profile of the entire industry; Profit Improvement Profile; an individual and confidential report comparing the participating firm with similar businesses; Profit Toolkit Online; and a Microsoft® Excel spreadsheet designed to assist financial planning. Access instructions are included with the Profit Improvement Profile.

The detailed industry benchmarking information in the Performance Analysis Report and in each personalized Profit Improvement Profile is available to participating MIA member distributors for $75. Non-member stone distributors wishing to participate will be charged $200.

Profit Planning Group, a well-regarded association profitability and compensation analysis firm, will manage the survey for the MIA. Members’ proprietary financial data is kept strictly confidential. Only the employees of Profit Planning Group ever see a company’s data.