Every association has its array of “committees and councils,” but HARDI's are different — for the good of the HVACR distribution industry.
The Committees and Councils of the Association usually initiate, guide and bring to fruition the programs and services of HARDI. What follows are highlights of the current issues and work projects as reported from each of HARDI's working Committees and Councils during 2005 Annual Fall Conference in Phoenix, AZ.
All HARDI members are encouraged to make known their suggestions for new or expanded projects — and to actively participate in discussions of the group(s) of their choice and interest.
(Note: Councils are product- and market-focused.)
CONTROLS — Terry Turner, Controlco, chair
The chair highlighted the following issues:
Reenergize interest in the Controls Council for all controls distributors and manufacturers.
Understand where controls distributors can provide value and influence.
Goal — Explore with manufacturers how to rebuild two-step distribution as the preferred channel.
Explore product segmentation into smaller focus groups.
Continue liaison committee work on specific distributor or supplier issues.
Increase membership by working with manufacturers to identify authorized distributors as well as suppliers who are not yet members.
HVAC SYSTEMS & EQUIPMENT — Greg Trimbach, 2-J Supply Co. Inc., chair
The new 13-SEER minimum efficiency standard was the focus of a panel featuring Steve Howard, Marc Delaurent (Nordyne) and Paul Selking (Regal Beloit). The discussion focused on the effect 13-SEER would have on logistics, the parts business and overall impact on replacement strategies. Consumer education is essential, and the Council has undertaken a first effort with the posting of the Department of Energy consumer Q&A Fact Sheet on the HARDI website.
PLAN & SPEC — Kevin Mahoney, Roberts-Gordon, chair
Guest speaker Steven Licscheidt covered increasing the rep's bottom line, how to gain a better understanding of the design engineer's wants and needs, and how to write a simple but proper product specification. Group also planned an open forum educational session as part of the AHR EXPO in Chicago.
REFRIGERATION — Frank Meier, Meier Supply Co. Inc., chair
Group sponsored panel session on new educational and training opportunities for refrigeration technicians. Future topics under consideration include energy conservation in supermarkets and carbon dioxide as a refrigerant. Steering committee proposes a refrigeration portal on the Web and Web/teleconferencing to update members on refrigeration issues.
DISTRIBUTION/LOGISTICS — David Boggs, Lyon, Conklin & Co. Inc., chair
The agenda included discussion on the steel business — price increases, short supply, order cycle time, etc. — which has been fluctuating dramatically the past year but now appears to be stabilizing with a great deal of foreign steel available. We invite members to participate in the regular teleconferences dealing with timely steel issues. Contact HARDI and add your name to the list. Disaster planning was a priority topic given the recent storms along the Gulf Coast. There is information on business interruption planning, and HARDI can direct members to resources. Fuel costs continue to pose an expense problem. There is also the issue of finding qualified CDL drivers. Warehouse productivity, while always important, became more so at this meeting as we contemplate the influx of new, larger 13-SEER condensing units. Stacking, handling and transporting will be concerns for both the distributor and contractor.
EDUCATION — Dan Hinchman, Aireco Supply Inc., chair
Report by Jim Trusdell, Brauer Supply Co.
The reaccreditation process for the Home Study Institute is complete. The Counter recognition program is gaining speed following ongoing refinements. Attendees heard how the community college is a local asset and about a new multiassociation effort to add distribution curriculum in schools, in which the Power Transmission Distributors Association is taking a lead role. A Spanish version of The Material Handling Workbook is available now. The quarterly Counterline newsletter now features technology subjects as well as selling tips. Lastly, a reminder that a series of “lessons” on dealer selling to the homeowner is available free for downloading on the association's website.
EXECUTIVE/DEVELOPMENT — Russ Geary, Geary Pacific Supply, chair
Meeting led off with a one-hour presentation on tax planning to make certain that your business and nonbusiness assets don't melt away during the transition to the next generation. The committee has developed and supported a number of important educational sessions, including branch manager training by Jim Ambrose — and we'll have at least one school in 2006. There is also our professional development retreat, this time featuring the ever-popular Michael Marks. Our mission is to reach out to all “up and comers,” so help us reach out to those in your company and let them know about our special programs.
FUTURE STUDIES, THE MORRIS GROUP — Arthur Franklin, S. Franklin & Sons Inc., chair
Consider checklist or seminar on disaster planning and emergency power; consider mutual support system for members; insurance committee should provide information on proper business interruption insurance. Need information on health savings accounts; allow HARDI to be your single large group Association Health Plan. HARDI should help members educate customers on their cost of product acquisition for a mutually more profitable relationship. Consider posting Future Studies handout materials on the Web. Consider remodeling CoolBlast into a format like NAW Smart Brief. Need more visibility for the Morris Group to secure input from member surveys from time to time on ideas and articles they have found interesting.
GOVERNMENT & TRADE RELATIONS — John Tice, APR Supply Co., chair
We reviewed the new energy bill and its potential effects on the HVACR business. Tax credits may prove to offer sales opportunities. The Unsolicited Fax Advertisement Bill passed, which means a wholesaler may send an unsolicited advertisement to an established customer but must include an opt-out notice. Much discussion centered on U.S. and China trade. Members should go to the ARI website to read “Cool Connections News” which is a legislative update service (www.ari.org). In the future, the committee plans to invite ARI, ACCA and NAW legislative persons to attend.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY — Royce Henderson, Charles D. Jones & Co., chair
Our 2005 build in Michigan was a great success. We are now gearing up for the 2007 Jimmy Carter project, and you'll be hearing from us with more details and our needs. We would like to encourage members who are working on projects to let us know about their efforts. They deserve recognition and serve as a shining example to others. ReStore is a Habitat retail operation in many local communities to which you can donate obsolete or damaged HVACR products. They sell these items to the public with proceeds going to fund local projects. We would like to consider a clearinghouse on the Web to list local Habitat HVAC project needs, which will allow other members to offer their services. Lastly, we are seeking additional leadership for this charitable committee. Please come and talk about how you might serve.
HARDI FOUNDATION — Doug Young, Behler-Young Co., president
Foundation Trustees met to review ongoing activities involving employee scholarships and grants. Trustees approved financial support of a series of Webinars on the impact of 13-SEER on the industry (aired in November/December). We presented a first edition of the Quick Guide to Market Resources for the HVACR Industry — the result of a grant to Eastern Michigan University. Members can download the report on the HARDI website. During the conference opening luncheon, Foundation President Douglas R. Young accepted a gift of $5,000 from Mueller Industries to support the work of the foundation. We acknowledge annual contributions from the HARDI regions and from many individuals.
INSURANCE & RISK MANAGEMENT — Jim Luce, Luce, Schwab & Kase Inc., chair
Report by Don Frendberg, HARDI
As a consequence of unusual disaster claims, we expect commercial insurance rates to increase, as will health insurance, but only in single digits. We do not expect the much-desired Association Health Plan legislation to pass this year. Behnke & Co. are important providers of insurance to the members, and you are invited to contact them for comparative rates. Call Jeff Hudgins at 312/822-9130 or visit their website at www.behnkeins.com.
MANAGEMENT METHODS — David McIlwaine, HVAC Distributors Inc., chair
Monthly Sales Trends participation holds at 25 percent, but we look to increase report filings. For 2006, rather than just noting the changes in sales by dollars, we will add a special category on A/C & HP unit sales to perhaps mitigate the expected bump in equipment prices because of 13-SEER mandate.
Upon joining, new members should receive an immediate introduction to the Profit Planner. We will add a summary sheet from the planner to include in new-member packets. As part of the profit planner program, Dr. Bates is offering a teleconference session for $25 to help include midlevel employees in the essentials of the annual report. We are also requesting that HARDI invites Dr. Bates to offer a conference seminar for wholesalers and again one on the Realities of Wholesaling for suppliers. We plan to add new job categories to the compensation studies — purchasing managers, regional managers and product line managers were among the new jobs to consider. We ask that HARDI promote the new ASA employment performance kit, and your committee will be addressing HR management best practices issues in the future.
MANUFACTURERS' REP — Mike Dungan, Sales Engineers Inc., chair
We reviewed last year's AHR EXPO rep educational session. We had more than 80 attendees. We continue to use our survey responses to the question: Identify the business changes over the past five years affecting your rep business. We would ask for an improved website presence for reps that listed our lines and territories. Lastly, we participated in discussions about the AIM/R rep organization and how joining might improve ourselves professionally. Mentioned too was the three-year (one week/year) program at Arizona State to become a certified professional manufacturer's representative.
MEMBERSHIP — Kerk Farrell, National Energy Control Corp., chair
The new member conference orientation session included a “How HARDI Works” handout, an explanation of the conference and the opportunity to ask questions. We reviewed member recruitment and retention numbers. Member referral and Web inquiries are the chief source of inquiries. We are seeking manufacturers and rep wholesaler lists for new prospects. Please contact staff if you can help. A newly designed AHR EXPO booth display is available to explain HARDI to show visitors. Lastly, we are working on a new printed promotion piece to explain the benefits of HARDI.
SUPPLIER MEMBERS — John Lawler, Nu-Calgon Wholesaler Inc., chair
Kerk Farrell of the Membership Committee reported to the suppliers on ideas to support membership recruitment — sharing lists of wholesalers and greater use of the HARDI logo. We accepted a reduction in booth size for next year in the face of limited physical space and the continued heavy demand for booths. The suppliers were not very supportive of dues to automatically include one conference registration but rather offer a discount at dues invoice time for early registration. Suppliers will begin development of an “ambassador” program to meet and greet new supplier members at HARDI meetings.
SUPPLY CHAIN TECHNOLOGIES — Brian Cobble, G.W. Berkheimer Co. Inc., chair
Our session was a panel entitled EDI for the Real World. A team from MISG including Earl Losey and Paul Newman joined David McIlwaine, myself and Kevin Price from HARDICAT in addressing the barriers and paybacks to embracing technology. We polled attendees for next steps, and there was an expressed need for more real-world success/failure stories to answer questions such as — How do you get started? Where can we go? What does it cost? What are the savings? We would like to consider scheduling the regular Committee meeting at a separate time from the round- table/panel discussion for next year.