Members of the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute got a chance to discuss technology changes and other issues at its Information Technology (IT) Forum in August. Speakers discussed current Web trends and changes in the way the industry does business.

Present at the forum were PMI president Linda Mayer and moderator Joseph Ursitti, of Business News Publishing Co., who kicked off the event by reminding the nearly 80 audience members that the Internet will continue to affect and benefit PMI members.

Presenters David Berman and Don Auer of showed how to gain "Incremental Sales Opportunities on the Internet without Channel Conflict." The 6-year-old company - almost a grandparent in the Internet world - offers its own premium specialty products and stores online, and attracts clients through "showroom quality" service and a user-friendly site.

Berman stated that Internet users are looking for a site that will deliver. "There's an expectation on the Web that things are going to be done faster. Users are there for a quick release of information, and they expect it to be delivered fast."

He also encouraged PMI members to "close the loop of a sale to create a complete online experience." Other tips included converting online leads into sales, cross-marketing products and setting an online linking policy to provide complete site reporting.

The duo also suggested expanding a marketing vision.

"I don't care if you have 3,000 points of distribution," Berman said. "There are still markets you're not reaching."

Kevin Price of ASA Center for Advancing Technology gave listeners a quick update in the latest business technology and trends.

Price emphasized originality and exclusiveness through product descriptions, catalogs and pricing online. Though in the past e-commerce and the wholesaler community "sounded like a bad salad dressing - they just didn't mix," Price said the "heart of a successful e-commerce initiative is the online content."

In the afternoon, PM editor Jim Olsztynski participated in a panel discussion on "The Dot-Com Phenomenom," along with BidBuyBuild Inc.'s Bob Weis,'s Matt Gahgen and TradePower's Mark Wagner. The forum was capped off with the chance for PMI members to share their views in several breakout sessions, with the focus being "Impact of E-Commerce on Manufacturers and the Plumbing Industry."

For Information on future PMI events, call 847/884-9PMI.