COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) announced its speaker lineup for the Purchasing Focus Conference, taking place April 10-12 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The keynote speaker for this event is Chad Pilbeam, who may be familiar to HARDI members from his well-received session at the 2015 Annual Conference.

In addition to Pillbeam, the Purchasing Focus Conference boasts the following four speakers: Al Bates, Jason Bader, Jim Barnes, and Mary Redmond.

Pillbeam will present, "Beer Logic: Everything I ever needed to know about purchasing, I learned from beer." Beer Logic takes a cynical, sarcastic, and humorous approach to the adventures in purchasing, and while you’ll be entertained and drinking, by some miracle you leave having actually learned something. Learn (and laugh) at brewers’ attempts to persuade your purchasing decision from the shelf and on the tap. Mock the salesmen who attempt to blind you with features and benefits while drinking your way through the “unique selling proposition” and see just how much purchasing has in common with beer and brewing. Practical purchasing disciplines will be laced in beer drinking rhetoric, and you’ll never look at your profession the same again.  

Bates, founder of the benchmarking and executive education firm Profit Planning Group, will lead a session demonstrating how coordinated purchasing activities can improve distributor financial results – not just a little, but a lot. Bates, whose writing has been featured in the Harvard Business Review and other media, will give participants a road map and targets for every financial aspect of the business, including sales, gross margin, expenses and inventory. At the end of this highly interactive session, participants will know exactly where they fit in the overall profit picture of the distribution firm and where to focus their time and energy to dramatically improve results.

Bader, who doubles as HARDI’s coaching expert in the Branch Manager Certification Program, will present "Managing Expectations: Suppliers, Customers and the Bottom Line." The session highlights how HARDI distributors can effectively communicate their integral value to their partners up and down the supply chain. In a mature market, this added value is often overlooked and can be taken for granted. In this session, Bader will show attendees how to open up these lines of communication, evaluate performance on either side and drive net profit in the process. Participants will walk away with several time-tested tools designed to cement their relationship with all three.

Barnes, from the Institute for Supply Management, will lead a session discussing how to clearly convey the strategic value of procurement to internal stakeholders. Barnes, who has more than 25 years experience in both customer and supplier management across several industries and has pioneered leading practices throughout the supply chain, will share examples of how organizations are measuring and communicating the value of procurement to the C-Suite (and throughout the enterprise) and lead a hands-on exercise helping participants learn from each other’s ideas and experiences.

Lastly, Redmond, with more than 20 years negotiating experience in the financial world, will present, "Negotiate: Be H.E.A.R.D. The Negotiation process that works in all situations." As a purchasing agent, you are in a negotiation every day. How do you get more from every negotiation without damaging relationships? Successful negotiators know how to read the silent but observable messages sent in everyone’s body language, which open a new world with a wealth of information for the perceptive negotiator. For pros, you’ll brush up techniques you may have forgotten or seldom use. For rookies, you’ll become more confident in your ability to get more of what you want and need for your business.

HARDI members can register or get more information on this event at