Improving profitability for HVAC/R wholesalers was addressed by several speakers at this year's HARDI fall conference.

The fall conference drew about 900 attendees.

The average profits in the 9% range that HVAC/R wholesalers are currently achieving can be improved by increasing the size of individual customer orders and reducing the number of required employees, according to Dr. Al Bates, a workshop speaker at the HARDI fall conference.

Frans Geurts, director general of FEST, the European counterpart to HARDI, was also a speaker.

He noted that the least profitable 30% of every company’s customers (which could include multi-million-dollar accounts) consume most of the profits earned from the top 70%, so he recommended that distributors try to make changes for those 30% least profitable customers - either change the way they order or raise their margins to profitable levels, even if it forces them to leave.

This was just one of several workshops addressed to managers of supply houses and distributors on upcoming changes in the industry and the economy.

Outgoing HARDI President Mark Faessler of Progress Supply.

HARDI (Heating, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International) held its annual Fall Conference Oct. 6-9 at the new Marriott World Hotel in the Disney complex southwest of Orlando, FL. About 900 people attended the event.

Outgoing President Mark Faessler of Progress Supply Co., Cincinnati, said in his opening remarks that the association is continuing to see rapid growth in membership, conference attendance and exhibitor participation.

Adam J. Fein of Pembroke Consulting was the keynote speaker of Monday.

Frans Geurts, director general of FEST (Federation of the Sanitary and Heating (Wholesale) Trade - a European counterpart to HARDI), spoke of cooperative alliances with the North American organization.

Adam J. Fein, founder and president of Pembroke Consulting, spoke on macro trends (such as private label branding and better Internet communications) that wholesalers should consider in order to improve their profitability.

Incoming HARDI President Randy Boyd of A/C Supply, Fort Worth, TX.

An HVAC Systems Council meeting focused on “Green Building” construction. A two-man panel of experts from the EPA and the Florida Energy Star Center fielded questions on how to get involved in - and how to address problems with - “green” construction.

About 330 manufacturers and reps participated in the conference booth program.

For more information and details on upcoming events, visit