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NLBMDA raises voice on E-fairness

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association is calling on pro dealers to tell Congress that the industry needs "E-fairness."

In an NLBMDA alert, the association raised the volume on its call for the approval of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which is making the rounds in the House of Representatives. The legislation would level the playing field between local retailers like lumberyards and out-of-state Internet retailers. 

"Online-only retailers are exploiting a massive loophole by not collecting sales tax at the point of purchase despite the fact that the tax is still due," the alert reads. "The Marketplace Fairness Act helps fix this antiquated system and makes it fairer so the same rules that apply to local retailers apply online."

The NLBMDA encouraged dealers to contact their representatives on the measure. For more information, visit dealer.org.

The Marketplace Fairness Act has already passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. Last spring, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill by a vote of 69 to 27.

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Five ways to engage employees in change

BY HBSDEALER Staff

When organizations undergo change initiatives, leaders tend to focus on laying out the procedural steps they must take, but they often ignore the human component of change.

Whether your organization is embarking on a merger or acquisition, adjusting its operations or marketing new services, the course shift will require employees to think, act and behave differently to align to the new direction. It’s important to remember that employees are only human. It’s only natural for them to feel frustrated and to demonstrate some level of resistance. A good leader can effectively address employees’ concerns by giving them a degree of control over the change.

To guide your team through a successful transformation, consider these actions:

•    Start with a vision.

Prioritize setting this vision ahead of all other tasks. Your team members must remain focused on and aligned with this vision.

•    Develop a strategy.

Engage your team members about how to get there. Stakeholders need to understand their roles in implementing a strategy that will fulfill the vision.

•    Be a champion of change.

Employees need to know that their leader is personally committed to the success of the change.

•    Communicate early and often.

Middle and front-line leaders are the primary communicators to employees. Communication from them should be frequent and consistent. Everyone affected by the change needs to know what it entails, why and how it is happening, and what’s in it for them.

•    Get in front of problems.

Keep in mind that what you think is a small issue may be a large concern for the person affected.

Organizational change is a complex process that requires time, patience and dedication. If you lead and engage employees through the change, you are more likely to achieve sustainable success.

Rachel Bangasser holds a doctorate in organization development.

Have HR-related questions and concerns? Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

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NRF steps up fight against patent trolls

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Retail Federation doubled down recently on one if its long-standing initiatives: getting patent troll legislation pushed through Congress.

NRF SVP David French submitted a statement to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee, which is currently investigating the trolls’ use of vague demand letters to sue businesses for using what are often ubiquitous technologies.

“Trolls’ claims not only affect e-commerce applications and the everyday use of technology, but also … the storefront operations of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers,” wrote French. “Some real-world examples … cover point of sale and inventory-control equipment, including scanning barcodes, printing receipts, the sale of gift cards and the connection of … a computer or printer to an Ethernet network.”

“Trolls target retailers because … they are more numerous than manufacturers and suppliers, and therefore are more profitable to the trolls,” he continued. “Trolls also know that retailers have less technological expertise to defend the allegedly infringing products [and] operate on thin profit margins and do not have the resources to fight back.”

Charged with developing and implementing advocacy strategy for the organization, French is the NRF’s chief lobbyist.

He is credited with influencing several key legislative battles for businesses, including the passage of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and repeal of OSHA ergonomics regulations. He has also co-chaired the lobbying committee of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace.

Steph Koyfman

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