The Northamerican Heating, Refrigeration and Airconditioning Wholesalers Association addressed the problem of conflicting standards and protocols for emerging electronic commerce technology at the group's midyear business conference June 24-25 in Victoria, British Columbia.

The organization's Distribution Logistics Committee, chaired by former President Russ Broeckelmann, recommended adoption of the EDI Pro standard that has already been adopted by large segments of the electrical industry. A meeting in Atlanta is planned in September to further investigate the proposal, prior to a final recommendation to the NHRAW board at the December convention.

The group also reviewed progress of the new Profit Improvement Profile, successor to the previous PAR reports, which compares and contrasts individual company performance for participating firms on a wide range of ratios and statistical performance measures. A series of seminars featuring Al Bates of the Profit Planning Group (administrator of the program) was held in four locations around the country to help member companies and managers use the Profit Improvement techniques in their daily business operations and planning.

NHRAW provides an accredited home-study program, which is widely used in the HVACR industry. The Education Committee announced the availability of a newly designed and updated air conditioning fundamentals course titled "An Introduction to Comfort Cooling." A similar redesign of the "Fundamentals of Heating" course is just being unveiled. A new course, "Commercial Refrigeration," is nearing completion and will soon be available.

The association continues its growth with new wholesaler, manufacturer, manufacturers rep and service vendor applications for membership being approved. The recent annual survey of wholesaler members indicated combined total sales of $13.1 billion in 1998, representing a 5.7% increase over 1997 sales.

NHRAW President Leo Walsh said: "As the economy and the industry continues to expand, we are proud that HVACR wholesale distribution continues to be a leader and one of the prime contributors of that growth. While there are obviously many factors involved, we believe it is the loyalty of a strong customer base that is our major reason for success."

Next summer's midyear business meeting will be held June 22-23 at the Wyndham Myrtle Beach Resort in South Carolina.