Nicholson spoke about events of the year: a downturn in the economy and the tragedy of September 11. But he reported that NHRAW had overcome these setbacks and showed good revenue totals for the year.
“We have been resolute to return to business as usual,” he added. “In spite of an uncertain business climate, we have tracked close to the same attendance [figures] as in recent years.
“We should see sales at or slightly above last year’s levels — despite the fact that many other industries are down.”
Nicholson conceded that the U.S. economy is in a recession, but he sees a light at the end of a short tunnel. “We will make this recession short-lived,” he said. “And we will experience positive growth by the second half of next year.”
STILL CHALLENGES AHEADNicholson talked about the many challenges NHRAW faces in 2002 and acknowledges that there is a lot of work to be done.
“We continue to struggle with accepting technologies which make our jobs easier,” he said. “These include eliminating redundancies [paperwork] and accepting ‘new’ methods such as bar coding.
“In the hvacr industry, discrepancies in computer data files are a drawback to accurate pricing data. One manufacturer [told me] that his company was receiving 200 telephone calls a day to resolve pricing and data discrepancies.”
Nicholson also commented on the exploratory talks of a merger between the NHRAW and the Air Conditioning Refrigeration Wholesalers International (ARWI). (See related article on page 16.)
MANY SOLUTIONSNicholson is a strong advocate of using the Internet to transact business, and he wants his fellow members to embrace the Web for what it is: a business tool.
“The answers are right in front of us,” he said. “It’s called e-business, or data warehousing. Think of e-business as business transactions performed electronically — and not just a way of getting contractors to buy from you.”
Nicholson announced that NHRAW’s officers and trustees will now have a special “technology liaison” who will report to the board, keeping members abreast of new developments in e-business and in communication technologies. Based on new technology, Nicholson envisions a business model where “actual customer demand pushes the products, rather than a manufacturer’s production schedule.”
He concluded his remarks with a simple yet cheerful statement. “I am extremely optimistic about the future.”
Publication date: 12/24/2001