Since 1999, the Association of Independent Welding Distributors (AIWD) has grown from 50 to >135 members. These members cover thirty-nine states, Puerto Rico and Canada and in 2015 grew purchases >5% from 95 vendors producing a record annual rebate amount. In addition, there are approximately 500 independently-owned industrial gas/welding supply distributors and CO2 beverage carbonation service companies that do not belong to a buying group. The combination of the AIWD firm foundation and significant potential member companies provides opportunity for the AIWD to significantly grow membership and group purchases and rebates, while continuing to do business with a select group of vendors.
History & Description Of The Buying Group
The Association of Independent Welding Distributors (AIWD) is a buying group that began in 1999 when the Western Distributors Association (WDA) and the Independent Distributors Cooperative (IDC) merged to form a group of fifty members. Six-years later the buying group incorporated as the AIWD, Inc., establishing By Laws and an operating structure. Since 2005, the AIWD has grown to >135 members in thirty-seven states, Puerto Rico and Canada, and 95 vendors.
The AIWD is led by an Executive Committee that is comprised of three board members and the executive director. The board members are elected by popular vote and serve in three-year cycles. The executive director is selected by the board. The AIWD also has a director of events & marketing selected by the Executive Committee .
Vendors are selected by popular vote, after presenting their company and program to the membership at the annual convention. Approved Vendors have unique programs for AIWD members. Preferred Vendors have special programs for AIWD members, and members commit to buy ≥70% of their total category requirement from ≥70% of the Primary Vendors.
As in the beginning, the focus of the buying group is to deliver maximum value to members by combining and leveraging the purchasing power of core products from select vendors, and gaining favorable pricing and terms, and patronage rebates.
AIWD members and potential members are independently-owned industrial gas/welding supply distributors and CO2 beverage carbonation service companies, ranging is size from one to eight locations. These businesses are generally family-owned, and operate in the $13b US packaged gas and welding hardgoods market; approximately 45% of which is served by about 900 small-large independents.