Manufacturers and HVAC distributors have a failure to communicate.

That was the opinion of the expert who spoke at a channel compensation workshop July 31-Aug. 1 in Chicago sponsored by the Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International Foundation.

Barry Lawrence, Ph.D., director of the industrial distribution program at Texas A&M University, said margin pressures distributor service expansion have become critical issues.

Lawrence recently completed an 18-month study on creating fair compensation for those involved in wholesaling.

“The dialogue between the manufacturer and distributor has been in decline for many years.  Distributors must revise this process,” Lawrence said. “This issue will determine the survival of firms.”

Richard Cook, president of Johnson Supply in Houston and chairman of the HARDI Foundation, agreed with the study.

“I cannot think of another area that has more contention today in our industry than the respective understanding, communication and value perception between manufacturers and distributors,” he said.

Emily Saving, HARDI’s director of education, said she hopes members receive a lot of value from events such as the workshop hosted by Lawrence.

“The Texas A&M study and resulting workshop is one exciting project that the foundation has been involved with recently,” Saving said. “We believe this project, along with our work on distributor demand quantification (with Indian River Consulting Group), is truly helping to evolve the channel and positively impact the key players in the HVACR wholesale industry.”