Stuck in the Middle with You
The party started early and it looks like everybody is going to stay late.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Distribution Center magazine, the official publication of Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI).
The party started in Maui in late October when this new magazine was rolled out during the HARDI 2011 Annual Conference. With much fanfare - photo shoots and video interviews - distributors and wholesalers from North America helped to roll out Distribution Center.
However, the meat and potatoes, or should we say the pig and poi (to use the Hawaiian vernacular) are what really count.
A LOOK AHEADYou don’t have to look too far for the broadest coverage of the distribution market. This month features ILLCO Inc., based in Aurora, Ill. The company has grown since 1929 to become one of the Chicago metro area’s largest distributors of commercial refrigeration, heating, air conditioning, PVF, plumbing, and hydronic supplies.
And, in the category of really big news: In the May issue you can look forward to a first-time-ever listing of the Top 50 HVACR Distribution companies. Yes, lots ahead in 2012.
Having recently attended the annual HARDI conference in Maui, Distribution Center reporters had the opportunity to visit with key leaders from the distribution and wholesaler community. Throughout the year you will find out what these people think of the current business economy, what they are doing to be successful, and specifically, what comprises some of their best practices in their respective distributor/wholesaler businesses.
PIG AND POIAn old story about the breakfast contribution required of a chicken versus that of a pig is a fitting comparison regarding the position that professional distributors/wholesalers assume in today’s marketplace. Those that are simply going through the motions and waiting to see who stops by the counter on any given day are like the chicken at breakfast - offering up an occasional egg, but little else. The chicken is involved, but there is no commitment.
On the other hand, distribution companies that are committed to the industry and to their customers spend a great amount of time determining how to excel in customer service while providing superb training, results-oriented marketing support, and state-of-the-art inventory management. Being committed to the success of an HVACR contractor customer requires creating an environment that provides opportunities for mutual profitability.
Now, there are some people who might suggest that I just referred to wholesalers as pigs. Not necessarily, but if the spirit moves you, wear the moniker proudly. Think about the noble pig’s contribution to a breakfast - bacon is not just a symbol of involvement for a pig it is literally a life-changing commitment!
Distribution companies that are committed to providing leading customer service during challenging times will certainly outpace those that never had a clue about customer service to begin with or those that have decided to pull back on the level of support provided to customers.
Professional distributors and wholesalers are the people who are serving up the meat and potatoes for this industry - the people who provide the most important features of the HVACR supply chain. Through distribution networks, manufacturing companies reach contractors, who reach consumers. The greatest products and technology can figuratively fall on deaf ears, never getting to the end user if not for the important connection sometimes referred to as the middleman.
In some circles it is said that being stuck in the middle is often the worst place someone can ever be. In the coming election year, national politicians will artfully try to ride that fence; however, many will find themselves stuck at some point.
Fortunately, being in the middle of the HVACR industry is a wonderful place to be.
Distribution Center magazine takes great pleasure in being stuck in the middle with you in the coming years. Stealers Wheel could not have sung it better: “Trying to makes some sense of it all, …” You’re your new magazine, and you can count on interacting with every facet of the HVACR distribution market. We hope you will think of this communication package of magazine, website, and eNewsletter as the center - the distribution center – of the HVACR industry.
Distribution Center magazine is the exclusive and official publication of Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). In addition to the nearly 450-member companies with thousands of branches that fall under the HARDI umbrella there are about 300 manufacturing associates and nearly 140 manufacturer representatives. It is estimated that HARDI members represent 80 percent of the dollar value of the HVACR products sold through distribution.
Published: January 2012