Mike Miazga 2015-01-12 00:36:20
HARDI members must prepare for growing economy Even though 70% of Americans think the country still is suffering through a recession, the U.S. economy is in good shape and will improve in 2015, HARDI’s chief economist Alan Beaulieu told HARDI members Dec. 7 during their 2014 Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. “I’m optimistic about 2015; I want you to have confidence going forward,” he said during his keynote address. “The economy will continue to grow. Make sure you’re ready for it. You have to invest in yourself. It’s time to move forward.” Beaulieu cautioned the rate of growth this year will scale back but that slow growth does not equal a decline. Leading economic indicators continue to point up: Employment is rising; banks are lending and will lend more in 2015; nonresidential construction is improving; retail sales are rising; and the world is relatively calm, despite hot spots in the Mideast and Eastern Europe. That’s not to say, however, that distributors of HVACR equipment will not face challenges in operating their companies this year. “We will all face a margin squeeze because we will need to pay good people more to keep them,” Beaulieu said. “The ‘quit rate’ is up, which means people are getting more money someplace else. You will need to put together a package that will attract good people and keep them.” Ongoing concerns about the economy also may make an impact on business, he said. These include: China’s debt problems; decelerating corporate profits; and the slowdown in some European economies. ITR Economics, Beaulieu’s firm, identified a particular soft spot in the improving U.S. economy in home improvement construction spending, which suffered its steepest third-quarter decline since 1976 in 2014. His forecast calls for another 1% drop in 2015, and he speculated that consumers are spending money instead on other big-ticket items such as trucks and cars. On a more positive note, ITR’s forecast shows a growth rate of 9.5% in commercial building construction in 2015 and 10.6% growth in office building construction. “Where is the economy taking your company?” he asked HARDI members. A growing economy also figured into the presentation by Michael Marks of Indian River Consulting Group, who discussed findings in his research project, “Distributors’ Role in Demand Creation.” Among the findings, the research shows that demand creation was all about distributors helping customers choose their distributor. Further, customers consistently and strongly chose the distributor before the brand. Describing the HVACR industry as a poster child for being a channel-led market, Marks said a customer chooses the distributor first based on the bundle of products and services provided, with service being paramount. The research shows that customers buy from a limited number of distributors 89% of the time with only 9% changing due to a failure of the distributor to provide a service or product and only 2% based on another distributor offering a better solution. “There appears to be a fundamental disconnect between the activities of manufacturers and distributors with respect to how contractor and end user customers choose to buy,” Marks said. “Manufacturers primarily speak with distributors about selling more products to more customers. But distributor behavior is actually about protecting, not selling.” HARDI will publish a book this year based on the research, which was commissioned in 2013 by the HARDI Foundation. HARDI’s 2015Annual Conference will take place Dec. 5-8 in Orlando, Fla. Ferguson acquires HP Products Corp. Ferguson Enterprises recently acquired Indianapolis-based HP Products Corporation. HP Products distributes products in eight categories, including janitorial, packaging, safety, laundry and dietary, lighting, equipment, food and beverage, and textiles. The company now operates as HP Products, a Ferguson enterprise, and management and all employees have remained with the company. “There is tremendous opportunity for both companies with this integration,” Ferguson COO Kevin Murphy said. “HP Products will take advantage of our distribution network and economies of scale, and our customers will benefit from an even larger depth and breadth of product inventory for everyday items.” In other company news, Ferguson recently won the top B2B email marketing campaign award in the 10th annual MarketingSherpa competition. Ferguson will be honored Feb. 23-26 at the ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Ferguson was recognized for its B2B email marketing program that moved from a manually-driven email database to an automated email intake process, allowing for tailored content based on the customer type and segment. By digitizing its onsite registration process at trade shows, Ferguson generated millions in online revenue by enriching the customer experience. MOVERS AND SHAKERS Slant/Fin’s James Thompson is the recipient of the 2014 Shining Star Award by Buche & Associates, the company’s manufacturers representative covering Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. The award recognizes Thompson as a sales manager that is “head and shoulders above the rest,” Buche’s Peter Buche said. Anaco-Husky announced the addition of Angie Halverson as inside sales manager. LG appointed industry veteran Dale Fields to the newly created position of director of distribution sales for its Air- Conditioning Systems business. Siegenthaler and Bean to teach online courses Hydronics experts John Siegenthaler and Robert Bean each will present an online educational course starting in March in conjunction with BNP Media’s CE Campus and HeatSpring. Each course will run for 10 weeks and is approved by the American Institute of Architects for learning units. Bean’s “Integrated HVAC Engineering” will begin March 2. This integrated design course goes beyond ASHRAE and LEED standards to the heart of HVAC engineering. Students will study the complex interaction of room air temperature, humidity, mean radiant temperature, ventilation rate, lighting, sound and even odors that determine the true quality of an interior environment. Numerous calculation and modeling exercises will allow students to immediately apply what they have learned. Siegenthaler’s “Mastering Hydronic System Design” will start March 23. The course will provide a detailed discussion of the design elements underlying modern hydronic heating systems. It will present both design concepts and tools for optimizing hydronic heating systems in a variety of contemporary applications. It is not meant as an introduction course. Rather, it is structured to combine a student’s existing knowledge with new approaches and analytical methods that are focused on the cutting edge of hydronic heating. The goal is to equip students to design state-of-the-art systems for residential and light commercial buildings that deliver unsurpassed comfort, efficiency and reliability. Seating is limited to 50 students for each course. Visit www.heatspring.com/courses for more details and tuition information. Carr Supply opens Michigan location Carr Supply, part of Dayton, Ohiobased WinWholesale, opened a new branch in Taylo r, Mich., providing plumbing, HVAC and water-service supplies and equipment to contractors in downriver Michigan. The Taylor branch is the 19th Carr Supply location and fourth in Michigan. “Our team at the new Taylor branch has highly experienced HVAC wholesale distributors,” Carr Supply President Greg Essig said. “Our manager Matthew Hemp and staff have 20 years of experience serving customers.” WinWholesale President Jack Johnston added: “Carr Supply is delivering solid growth in the Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky markets they serve. Their success is fueled by their focus on their customers, a trait that reflects the WinWholesale vision.” COMPANY NEWS URELL is the new manufacturers representative for Mestek’s commercial boiler product lines covering the New England region, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Navien’s new website address is www.navien.com and no longer www.navienamerica.com. PRIER Products recently received the 2014 Affiliated Distributors Conversion Award alongside Rochester, N.Y.-based VP Supply. The award is in recognition of the most significant product line conversion within the AD Plumbing Division. HOLDRITE’s new website at www.holdrite.com features a fresh new look and offers greater flexibility across platforms — browser, mobile, desktop and laptop — and a more intuitive design, making for a smooth user experience. Rinnai has been selected as the preferred tankless water heater provider for CBUSA, a purchasing organization for custom and independent builders. NetPlus Alliance, a buying and marketing group for industrial and contractor supplies distributors, recently welcomed Gamco Services and SteelCore Industrial as new distributor members. Nu Flow recently relocated its Houston, Texas regional office to a more central location closer to downtown. The regional office now is located at 499 West 38th St., in Houston. SWA to hold profit enhancement seminar Southern Wholesalers Association’s Profit Enhancement Institute: Tools & Techniques for High Performance Management takes place March 25-26 at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center/Emory Area. The two-day seminar is designed for owners, principals, branch managers, and mid- and upper-level managers in the wholesale/distribution industry. Some of the topics to be covered include: team-building techniques for the total sales force; performance measurement and compensation systems; profit-based planning; and cash-flow planning. Keynote speakers include global distribution consultant Dr. Michael Workman and Dr. Albert Bates of corporate financial planner Profit Planning Group. The registration deadline is March 3. For more information, visit www.southernwholesalers.org. Taco names new president and COO Taco President and CEO John Hazen White Jr. Recently named Wil VandeWiel as the company’s new president and COO. VandeWiel will oversee daily operations of the company and will report directly to White Jr. White Jr., the third generation of White family to lead Taco, will remain as company CEO, but will refocus his responsibilities on building new partnerships and strategic acquisitions worldwide in pursuit of company growth and diversification. VandeWiel, a native of the Netherlands who is also a U.S. citizen, is an experienced executive with a track record of building collaborative teams and achieving sustainable growth with a number of top-tier international companies. He served as president/CEO of DORMA GmbH, a global access control company located in Pennsylvania, as well as managing director for U.S.-based Robert Bosch’s Security Systems division. Seattle distributor earns national woman-owned certification The Part Works, a Seattle-based woman-owned wholesale commercial plumbing specialties distributor serving facilities maintenance, received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the ASTRA Women’s Business Alliance, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by ASTRA Women’s Business Alliance is a meticulous process that includes an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women. In memorium W. L. Smith, who owned and operated W.L. Smith Supply Co., a plumbing supply business based in Fayetteville, N.C., and six other North Carolina cities plus one in South Carolina, died recently at the age of 87. Smith, a United States Marine Corps. Veteran, retired from the company after 35 years, but became restless and reopened and ran another plumbing supply business in Nashville for 10 years. Smith is survived by his wife of 68 years, Margaret Tuttle Smith, three children, eight grandchildren and one sister. “As you can imagine, there are numerous Plumbing Supply past employees currently in the business today that had their start at W.L. Smith Supply Co. I am one of them, having been a plumbing rep in North Carolina and South Carolina for 32 years,” Smith’s son, Jeff, said. Sloan names Peters new vice president Sloan recently announcedBernard Peters has joined the organization as vice president, global finance and chief financial officer. Peters has more than 20 years of accounting, finance and general management experience across multiple industries in four continents. “Bernard brings a strong background in manufacturing and operations to Sloan,” Sloan President and CEO Jim Allen said. “I have confidence his leadership and international experience will improve our entire operation and help us better serve our customers worldwide.”
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