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> Reflecting on EDS 2018

by David Norris
Norris & Associates, Inc.
ERA President

As crazy as the week at EDS can be, and it’s as draining as a triathlon, it is an almost unique opportunity to “touch” most of your business partners.

As I write this, we are all recovering from EDS — arguably the most taxing and rewarding week in our annual business calendars. EDS brings all the stakeholders in our industry together in one of the tree major industry events of the year.

ERA and ECIA are the sponsoring organizations that own and manage the EDS Summit and as such, work together to insure that EDS continues to evolve in support of the ever-changing needs of our constituent member firms.

I can admit to recalling those earlier EDS shows when manufacturers would highlight new products with the expectations of booking special stocking packages from their distributors at the show. Back in the day, the reps role was more observational with plenty of emphasis on the “social” aspects of EDS week. Oh, the stories we all could tell! There was actually one year when EDS was moved to New Orleans; probably the only other city that could make Vegas seem tame!

EDS 2018 followed a structure that has morphed over the past number of years where the week has extended on both ends and now includes rep/manufacturers QBRs, sales meetings, industry overview breakfast sessions, golf events, and other on- and off-site gatherings, to take advantage of the fact that we are all together in one place at one time. As crazy as the week at EDS can be, and it’s as draining as a triathlon, it is an almost unique opportunity to “touch” most of your business partners.

The EDS Summit creates this opportunity through the support of the member firms of ERA and ECIA. Manufacturers, distributors and representatives invest time and resources through their team members who actively participate in the extensive planning and preparation required to make it all work. The day after EDS 2017 concluded, work began to put shape to EDS 2018.

Those many volunteers from the three constituents of our EDS community deserve our thanks for a job well done! By most reports, it was a pretty seamless EDS this year, which requires a great deal of behind the scenes efforts to make that so.

The Spark initiative brought together a few dozen participants representing the best and brightest from our member firms. As this program continues to grow, the Spark attendees and alumni are building their network which will, no doubt, be a foundation upon which the future of our industry builds.

This year there was an APAC session helping our attendees from Asia better understand our ecosystem and how to get the most from their investment at EDS. We hope to increase the attendance next year for what turned out to be a very worthwhile effort.

Each morning as I sat in one of the now traditional breakfast meetings, whether hosted by TTI, Digi-Key or ERA/ECIA, I was reminded how valuable having this time together can be. Beyond all the individual, supplier specific meetings, these “community gatherings,” thanks to our various host entities, bring us together to learn, exchanges ideas and prepare for the future.

Many thanks to those who support EDS each year by not only coming to Vegas, but by joining us at the EDS venue as on-site participants. Your continued commitment to EDS and the herculean effort to ensure its success allow us to deliver the value our attendees have come to expect.



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