Eight distributor organizations were singled out for their performance in 2009 based on several metrics including sales growth, market share, product mix, training efforts, and business plan execution. Customers were grouped into four different volume categories with the top-scoring customer in each of the four categories receiving the Platinum Premier Performer and the second highest score in each category earned Gold level recognition.
The Platinum Level award went to Tim Guilliams of Airco Supply, Lubbock, Texas; Rick Luke, Century A/C of Sugarland, Texas; Clay Blevins of Comfort Supply, Nashville, Tenn.; and Greg Ratti and Ken Connell of Gemaire Distributors of Virginia. Gold Level winners included Doug Rogers, Bruce Rogers Company, Ft. Smith, Ark; Don Maloney, Coburn Supply, Beaumont, Texas; Steve Kelly, Goodin Company, Minneapolis, Minn.; and Charles Herring, Wittichen Supply, Birmingham, Ala.
Bill Hanesworth, vice president and general manager of the Air Conditioning Division thanked the group for their contributions, and for playing a significant role in a major upturn in business for the Rheem and Ruud brands in 2010. He also gave the group an overview of plans that the division has put in place for continued growth in the year ahead. According to Hanesworth, the company has embarked on an 18 month program to provide the “right products, right place, right time, and right values” with a focus on quality, shortened lead times and a stronger supply chain.
Ken Rothgeb, newly appointed vice president, sales and marketing for the Air Conditioning Division introduced himself to the group and shared his background in the wholesale business with Thermal Supply, an HVAC distributor in Seattle, and his most recent position as general manager of Heatcraft, a division of Lennox International.
Rothgeb stated the Rheem and Ruud brands were “well positioned to grow significantly by executing on multiple initiatives that will enhance the value of the products and brands to our customers.”
Sidebar: Positive Market ForecastBill Hanesworth, vice president and general manager of the Rheem Air Conditioning Division toldThe NEWSthat the Rheem and Ruud brands were having a “heck of a year” with a significant upturn in sales and gains in market share of unitary products. He also stated that the industry as a whole was performing ahead of expectations. The industry had predicted a flat year in 2010, but recent forecast revisions show an increase of nearly 10 percent according to Hanesworth.
Why is the industry up, when most of the economy is still struggling? He gave two reasons: inventories and necessity.
DISTRIBUTOR INVENTORIES CHANGING
When the recession hit in 2008, distributors took their inventories way down and maintained that position for almost 18 months. With the slight upturn in the economy earlier this year, the psyche of the wholesalers changed, and they began to rebuild inventory levels.
MORE ARE REPLACING VERSUS REPAIRING
During 2009, homeowners overwhelmingly chose to repair their a/c and heating systems rather than replace them with more efficient systems. In 2010, however, consumers have more job security and feel that they can invest in new systems. Hanesworth also gave credit to the government tax incentives and utility rebates which helped push consumers into the replace-versus repair category.
The growth of the Rheem and Ruud business was additionally aided by a continuous effort to upgrade its network of distributors. According to Hanesworth, almost 50 percent of the business growth has come from new distribution that was not in place four years ago. He also cited a recent national sales agreement with Home Depot as a contributor to the division’s positive sales growth. Rheem Air Conditioning and Heating products are now available in every Home Depot store.