COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) added its first Integrated Wholesaler members to its current membership of over 450 HVACR distributor companies. Johnson Control’s York Unitary Products Group, a long-time manufacturer member of HARDI, became the industry’s first equipment manufacturer to formally recognize its factory branch operations as legitimate wholesale distributor businesses by making them HARDI’s first Integrated Wholesaler members. The Integrated Wholesaler membership category was created by HARDI over two years ago as a means to include the industry’s factory-owned distribution operations in the distributor community with access to distribution’s best practices, education, benchmarking data, and idea exchange.
York factory branches have existed for decades and have evolved into multiline, full-service distributor operations faced with the same tight margins, personnel and logistics challenges, and channel relation dynamics as the traditional HARDI independent distributor member. However, unlike many HARDI members, York branch managers and branch personnel often come from manufacturing backgrounds rather than having grown up in the family’s wholesale distribution business, so the Unitary Products Group has reached out to HARDI to tap into decades of distribution experience.
The increased contributions to HARDI’s already extensive trends and benchmarking data from the new Integrated Wholesalers will now take into account a segment of the wholesale industry that has existed for some time but has never been formally included in any of the industry’s wholesale association reporting. “This has been a long time coming, and I couldn’t be happier for the industry, the science of wholesale distribution, or York to see this groundbreaking commitment to distribution by an equipment manufacturer” added Donald Frendberg, HARDI executive vice president and COO.