Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) has released the complete agenda and speaker lineup for the 2021 Annual Conference: “Motion: Find Your Direction." It takes place Dec. 4-7 in Palm Desert, California.

This year’s agenda focuses on three key themes: catalysts, friction and accelerants. Each day of conference presentations will focus on one of the three conference themes. Kicking off the conference is keynote speaker, Lisa Bodell, who will present “The Great Reset.” This session will explain why some of the best innovations come from times of change and resource constraint.

The 2021 closing keynote speaker is Alex Banayan. International best-selling author of “The Third Door,” Alex has met some of the world’s most successful people including: Warren Buffet, Lady Gaga and Bill Gates. Through these interviews, Alex found that all these individuals had one thing in common, they used the “third door approach” to find their way to the top.

“We’re seeing industry disruption at unparalleled rates,” says Emily Saving, HARDI’s Executive Vice President and curator of the Motion agenda. “With this conference, it is our intention to allow attendees to slow down and examine some of the major forces of change from multiple points of view. Are the forces impacting our environment positive, negative, or perhaps more nuanced? How will each member company respond? We feel our conference will give members the chance to examine the landscape of change and determine their best path forward.”  

In addition to keynote speakers, the agenda will feature several additional featured speakers and panel sessions that will cover issues impacting the industry including: industry mergers and acquisitions, government regulations, contractor needs, workforce shortage, supply chain disruptions, e-commerce, company culture and more. In addition, HARDI will feature multiple sessions that share 2021 State of the Channel findings. Key sessions for SNIPS' audience include:

Voice of Contractor with TJ O’Connor

9:45 – 10:45 am on Dec. 5

2019 and 2020 evolved in radically different ways, with the years sharing little in common aside from both having 365 days and marking another successful trip around the Sun. Yet despite the massive differences between these two years, HVAC/R contractors affirmed in both 2019 and 2020 that product availability and price are the most important variables they consider when evaluating the performance of a distributor. So how did wholesale distributors perform in these areas in 2021, and have contractor preferences started to evolve after a second full year of Covid-driven disruptions? For answers to these questions and more join us in our Voice of Contractor session, where Farmington Consulting’s TJ O’Connor will discuss the results of HARDI’s 3rd Annual Voice of Contractor survey.

 Voice of Technician with Scott Pierson

11:00 am – 11:45 pm on Dec. 5

There are countless factors influencing whether a business will find success, but in the long run what matters most is knowing what a customer wants. Learning what your customers want would seem to be a straightforward process, but only if you truly know who those customers are. In HVAC/R distribution, much attention is given to the contractor because we assume they make final purchase decisions. However, while the contractor pays the bills, the service tech regularly influences where those dollars go. So, how do the preferences of contractors and techs differ, and how can distributors optimize their sales strategies to meet the needs of both? In this session we’ll dive into the results of our Voice of Technician survey and highlight the differences (and similarities) between contractor and service technician preferences.

The Evolving Landscape of Contractor Consolidation with Mike Murphy of ACHR News Magazine

1:45 – 2:30 pm on Dec. 5

In this session, the ACHR NEWS’s Mike Murphy will moderate a panel comprised of players active in the consolidation of HVACR service companies. Learn what drives the consolidation, why the pace of activities is increasing, and how these new, larger companies are viewing purchasing and the role of the supplier.

Voice of Supplier

1:45 – 2:30 pm on Dec. 5

Satisfying customer demand in the Covid economy requires many things, but maintaining agile supply chains, efficient production practices, and inventory transparency rank near the top of this list. HVAC/R product manufacturers, in spite of the enormous challenges created by the Covid economy, have managed to produce equipment and components in record numbers in large part because of their ability to maintain production efficiencies and adapt to evolving supply constraints. But to what extent is inventory transparency helping manufacturers anticipate distributor demand, and should distributors consider closer ties with their most essential vendors in the future? Join us in our Voice of Supplier session as we discuss the ways in which manufacturers have adapted to the Covid-landscape, the future of distributor/supplier relations, and the key findings from our 3rd Annual Voice of Supplier survey.

The Perfect Storm: When Surging Demand Meets Scarce Labor and Inventory with Paul Giudice 

10:15 – 11:00 am on Dec. 6

Sales are up. Hiring is slow. And inventory can be hard to come by. How did the trifecta of these forces impact HARDI distributors? In this session, led by CoMetrics CEO Paul Giudice, we’ll take a dive into the latest metrics from HARDI’s TRENDS and DPD data to explore the impact of the “Perfect Storm.” We’ll also highlight the pulse of distributors and reveal forecast data for the coming year.

The State of HVACR E-Commerce with Jonathan Bein

10:15 – 11:00 am am on Dec.7

Currently more than 40% of HVACR distributors with at least $50M in revenue have transactional e-commerce sites. While this number is impressive, the total percentage of revenue going through e-commerce lags. Attend this session to gain:

  • A thorough understanding of the current state of HVACR distributor and manufacturer digital capabilities
  • How HVACR distributors and manufacturers are using marketplaces to sell product and what that means for HVACR distributors.
  • Best practices for building, launching, and marketing e-commerce
  • How to use your e-commerce site to drive revenue through the web, EDI, punchout, and email as well as offline channels