COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) Education & Research Foundation announced the kick off of a major research project to study and define a distributor’s role in the demand creation process.

Michael Marks, managing partner of Indian River Consulting Group, and his team have joined the HARDI Foundation to lead the research effort. The results of the project are scheduled to be presented at HARDI’s annual conference, Dec. 7-10 in Phoenix.

The research will directly address longstanding questions for distributors and manufacturers on making new markets and the demand-creation role of the distributor.

“If you want to make a market, what impact does that have on both cost and margin,” said Marks. “It’s about the economics.”

Marks and Indian River Consulting Group will conduct primary and secondary research, and develop an analytical framework for evaluating channel performance and effectiveness.

“Market share gains are essential to manufacturers, so what exactly does it take for distributors to satisfy those needs? That is the core question this research project will tackle,” said Emily Saving, HARDI’s director of education and research foundation.

The HARDI Foundation and its governing trustees are enthusiastically supporting the effort, including raising the funds to cover the cost of the research.

“We’re ready to make an impact on the industry,” said Bill Shaw, CEO of Standard Supply and HARDI Foundation chairman. “We are very excited about the possibility of what we will find.”

Shaw indicated that the project is about 75 percent funded, and fully expects to fund the rest of the research. Nordyne, a HARDI supplier member and manufacturer of indoor comfort systems, was one of the companies who signed on right away to participate in the research as a manufacturer project team member.

“Independent distribution has long been the lifeblood of our industry and participating in the HARDI Distributor Demand Creation project was too good of an opportunity for Nordyne to pass up,” said Philip Windham, vice president of sales for Nordyne. “Working hand in hand with HARDI, HARDI members, and Michael Marks will most certainly deliver substantial results that will benefit all facets of the HVAC channel. Spending time drilling down into the value of distribution and quantifying the significance of resources, relationships, and results made the decision to participate one of the easier ones we will make this year.”

The project is kicking off with a slate of distributor and manufacturer companies who have agreed to let the Indian River research team do a deep dive into their company’s data as a starting point for the research.

Distributor participants include: Johnson Supply, Houston; Standard Supply & Distributing Co. Inc., Dallas; Meier Supply Co. Inc., Conklin, N.Y.; GW Berkheimer Co. Inc., Portage, Ind.; Gustave A. Larson Co., Peewaukee, Wis., and Mingledorff’s Inc., Norcross, Ga. Manufacturer Project team members include Honeywell, Nordyne, Duro Dyne, Allied Air Enterprises, Heatcraft, and M&M Mfg.

Publication date: 8/19/2013 

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