“There's no shortage of ideas,” opined Mark Faessler as he listened to the last of the committee/council reports during the Mid-Year Business Conference. Faessler is president-elect of HARDI and chaired the Events committee interchange with HARDI chairpersons during the Lake Geneva regional meeting in early June. (HARDI's Mid-Year Business Conference and important committee and council meetings have been scheduled in conjunction with a select regional meeting since 2005.)
Here's a quick rundown on the committee work during the business conference and plans for the future:
The Refrigeration Systems council is working with industry partners and the EPA to improve the recycle/reclaim of R-22. Chairman Frank Meier expects EPA representatives to participate in a critically important roundtable discussion in Palm Desert during the annual HARDI conference.
Greg Trimbach, who chairs the HVAC Systems and Equipment council, reports that steel costs and shortages continue to plague the industry. There are concerns that TXV valves and products using 410A may be in short supply. Looking to the November conference, Trimbach indicates his group will offer more on 13 SEER match-ups and legal issues involving mismatched installations, how to handle the transition to 410A equipment and where product efficiency is going next.
Building on the success of the Plan & Spec session during the AHR EXPO in Chicago, Chairman Kevin Mahoney indicates his Engineered Products group will offer another program at the 2007 show in Dallas that will appeal to plan and spec companies. He also sees the development of closer ties between HARDI and the National Air Filter Association (NAFA) to educate members on advanced filtration systems.
Management Methods intends to continue to gather unitary sales numbers (in percent change), but now as a supplement to monthly Sales Trends and on a quarterly basis. David McIlwaine and his co-chairs, Dan Miller and Ken Abbot, spent considerable time on the importance of LIFO to more accurately reflect company profitability. Attendees considered reports that the federal government might do away with LIFO calculations. They also raised a concern because even if a wholesaler doesn't use LIFO, their suppliers might. The committee is also exploring customer profitability software that Dr. Al Bates might develop for HVACR distributors.
Benchmarking measurements also extend to topics for the Distribution/Logistics committee where Greg Trimbach (substituting for ailing David Boggs) reviewed a warehousing benchmark survey conducted by WERC. Among the most popular measures used as listed by WERC included: on-time shipments, percent overtime hours, percent orders shipped complete, fill rate line and/or order. The committee will be sorting through the survey to uncover what HARDI members are measuring in their HVACR warehouses.
HARDI's Foundation president Doug Young did not report during the Events exchange session, but foundation trustees did meet for a brief meeting to review legal opinion on a number of financial and tax issues. The trustees also approved one David M. Lawson Memorial Scholarship and the new listings of students seeking summer or full-time jobs with member firms. (Visit the HARDI website for posted names.) Committees and councils are encouraged to submit ideas for future foundation projects. One idea under consideration is a graduate student “case study” on organizing and managing in-house training and development programs.
Outgoing chair of the Education committee, Dan Hinchman, reported on the progress of the Counter Recognition Program and the committee's intention to present a “how to participate” session at the annual conference. Taking over for Dan will be Tom Hinsch.
The Executive Development committee, which addresses issues of the younger/newer managers of HARDI companies, is considering a new series of non-conference “schools” focusing on sales-related management issues. The last of the current series of branch manager schools will take place this December in Phoenix. Chairman Russ Geary indicates the successful winter retreat will continue and committee members will undertake a review of how to promote the University of Industrial Distribution program. Most major wholesale trade associations support the multitrack sessions held in Indianapolis.
The Supply Chain Technologies committee is under the direction of Brian Cobble. He noted the committee was intending to conduct “a major launch” of the new HARDITek program and identified the three inaugural service provider partners offering EDI, catalog and pricing services.
John Lawler, chair of the Supplier Members committee, also noted the advent of the new HARDITek activity as he reported suppliers had reviewed the planned booth program in Palm Desert in November and continued to support the opening reception.
In continued efforts to provide donated HVAC products to needy homeowners, the Habitat for Humanity committee considered various opportunities in need of help. Habitat for Humanity International is working toward the goal of building 1,000 houses in areas ravished by hurricanes last fall. HARDI's Habitat committee will be requesting assistance and product donations from the membership. The committee also decided to participate once again in the Jimmy Carter Work Project, which will return to the United States in Los Angeles, CA, in 2007.
Every association has an array of “committees” and “councils,” but HARDI's are different — they're for you! Business-related committees and product-related councils meet in person twice annually and by conference call throughout the year.
HARDI's committees and councils are the lifeblood of the association. We invite you to actively participate in these sessions.
Initiatives for almost all HARDI activities occur at these interactive meetings, followed by the implementation and supervision of the goals.
Visit the conference pages of HARDI's website for posted committee and council agendas of upcoming discussions for the Palm Desert Fall Conference.