June 2021 Newsletter

A Word from our President

President

by – Jonathan Brown-Kruse Corp.

Summer is officially here! Hallellujer!

Warm weather and warm wallets. Thank you all for your continued support as I transition out of KCCA as president, and we welcome in our new leadership in July. We also want to Thank Stoney Nethercot with MABCD for his code presentation last month, and we are definitely looking forward to next year’s update.

Please make an effort to attend our June general meeting on 6/17. Our speaker will be Tom Roberts. He will host his annual presentation on standards and changes in our industry, as well as a lot of insight on future possibilities, specifically post covid. Do not forget to bring your business cards for the $100.00 cash drawing.

Please feel free to email or call Jonathan at (316) 633-1235 or Jbrown@krusecorp.comwith any concerns or questions.


Education

KCCA plans to put on at least 5 more

classes starting in the Fall. 

Be on the lookout for the upcoming classes to be

announced in late July or early August


Congratulations to Lawrence Pham, he was the latest winner of the $500 scholarship that KCCA gives away to techs.  Lawrence works at All Seasons Heating & Cooling and has been there since January 2020.  Lawrence graduated from WSU Tech June of 2020.  Congratulations again Lawrence!!

KCCA $500 TOOL SCHOLARSHIP
The board revised the Tool Scholarship a little. KCCA wants the employee to be working for the KCCA member for 3 months before they are eligible for the $500 tool Scholarship. So in short the employee or employer need to submit application and proof of graduation from one of our local trade school after the employee has worked for them for 3 months.


May’s General Meeting

Thank you Stoney Nethercot from MABCD for coming in and speaking about new items on the code side.  The Mechanical board approved a closed boox exam for residential new home construstion.  This will replace the test previoisly administered through WSU.  Please contact Stoney Nethercot for detailed information. Stoney can be reached at Stoney.Nethercot@sedgwick.gov or 316-660-1829.  Stoney also made sure we knew that Pre local amendment the Overall Maximum length for a residential dryer vent is 45 feet.  *You must deduct 5 feet for each 90 degree elbow and 2.5 feet for 45 degree elbow.  Too keep up with whats going on with MABCD be on the lookout for their Newsletter that will be going out monthly.

A big congratulations to Stephen Gooch with WTI, he was the BIG winner of the $100 drawing.  KCCA also gave away 2 sets of tickets to Mosley Street Melodrama, those winners were Chris Highfill & Boyd Pope.  I hope everyone enjoys their winnings. 

We look forward to seeing everyone at our future general meetings. 


2020-2021 Meetings

June                 Tom Roberts (Jim White w/Johnstone will                         be our vendor spotlight)July                   Upcoming planning meeting (FREE LUNCH)                          Come with some ideas on what meeting you                            would like to see the upcoming year

This list is subjust to change due to speakers not able to make the date we have selected for them.


HVAC Contractors Encourage Employees to Get Vaccinated

Trades among the groups most hesitant about getting a shot

When manufacturers and partners around the world were grappling with pandemic-driven upheaval last year, nobody imagined that HVAC and other industries might arrive in 2021 to look back on the previous spring’s supply situation as… simpler?

The world is better off, of course, with vaccines and social distancing replacing an unchecked virus and total plant shutdowns. However, lingering COVID-related hurdles and other random events have created a host of material shortages that have combined to put stress on the construction industry in general.

These shortages and common price increases can add up to have a meaningful impact on HVAC companies, especially but not limited to those working in new construction.

It’s Fine, Except For Copper and Plastics and Microchips and…

Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), has updated AGC contractors recently on the remarkable variety of affected materials and disciplines.

Steel tends to grab the most attention among raw materials. Amid rising prices and lengthening lead times, Simonson said that “some additional production capacity is expected to come online later this year, but industry analysts are not yet predicting when prices or delivery times will come down.”

Factors that having nothing to do with COVID-19 are also serving to make 2021 distinctive. On the plumbing side, Simonson quoted a Texas supplier who wrote to customers in late March, “Last month’s storms impacted three copper rod mills and has attributed to further tightening of finished goods supply.”

That pressure was expected to continue through the spring and possibly longer.

The February ice storms in Texas also derailed work at petrochemical plants in Houston that make resins and what Simonson describes as the “building blocks” for construction plastics. He said the freeze not only knocked down production but caused damage “that cannot easily be repaired, given the very specialized equipment and engineering expertise needed simultaneously for several facilities.”

The list of affected products here is long: “PVC pipe and plumbing supplies; vinyl siding and vapor barriers; geotextiles; paints, coatings, and highway striping materials; even packaging such as the wrapping around lumber or the layers in corrugated boxes.”

Some manufacturers who rely on these materials are delivering 50-70% allocations, Simonson said, joined by historically high lead times.

Simonson does expect supply to catch up, but expects that process to take months.

Cement and concrete face supply issues as well, most notably west of the Mississippi.

Wood products, getting hit on two sides, are also harder to come by. Simonson said not only has demand surged thanks to COVID-fueled interest in decking and nonresidential renovation, but millworker and truck driver shortages are exacerbating the situation. On top of that, the aforementioned resin issues are creating slowdowns for certain engineered wood products.

Finally, no matter what is getting made and transported, modern logistics and a growing array of products rely on computers and the IoT. Those machines run on microchips, and as luck would have it, microchips are experiencing their own supply issues.

Construction may not have it quite as bad as the auto industry or consumer electronics industry in this regard. Nevertheless, Simonson said that chip shortages will cause additional delivery delays over the coming months.

The People Problem Remains

All of those shortages may do their part to disrupt and delay jobs that include HVAC, but according to Todd Young, vice president for commercial business at Ferguson Enterprises, these are just piling onto the most significant and longest-running shortage. Young commented in response to a request for input from the American Supply Association for this article.

“In terms of resources, the main one we’re lacking is time and talent,” he said.

Young outlined how distributors and others have adapted to supply chain issues and learned to roll with short-term circumstances as best they can. But that doesn’t eliminate the now-familiar reality of increased demand for IAQ products and heightened HVAC awareness among consumers in general.

Young has also seen a trend among facility managers to take the opportunity for some renovations or upgrades while many offices are still empty or close to it.

“This demand,” he said, “coupled with the reduced production rates and the skilled trade crisis, is the perfect storm.”

Coping Mechanisms

When Simonson sums up the situation on the commercial side as “Nonresidential construction is experiencing headwinds from postponed and canceled projects, steep increases in materials costs, and lengthening delivery times,” the picture doesn’t sound good. Adding that all this is “making it hard for most firms to add new construction jobs compared to a year ago” puts things in stark relief.

HARDI’s Brian Loftus, market research and benchmarking analyst for the distributors’ association, takes the cue to bring some more welcome news. The year in HVAC business, so far, is off to a good start.

“This strong start has pushed the annual sales growth rate from 4.1% at the end of 2020 all the way to 6.1% for the 12 months through 2021,” he wrote in a recent update. He cited improved product availability and some accumulated backorders working hand in hand along with price increases being passed through and an improving overall economy.

Loftus reported that “distributors have developed a greater appreciation for a ‘just in case’ inventory strategy and are buying sooner. “End market demand has not changed,” he said, “just the order pattern.”

In the face of the more recent materials shortages and personnel struggles, Loftus said HARDI members have been “inspired to build inventories sooner than usual to avoid the shortages and stress of last summer.”

Ferguson’s Young echoed a chorus of resilience and communication to get through a highly unusual group of negative factors that have stacked up like so many container ships around the Suez Canal.

“We work with our HVAC professionals to keep them informed of new products, possible substitutions, and any supply chain concerns that might affect them,” he said.

Young added that while Ferguson advises their contractors that these shortages could stay in play “for the next six months and perhaps longer,” he added that the pandemic may have loosened up attitudes for the better throughout the supply chain.

This rings especially true on the residential side when some flexibility may be required.

“One of the many things we’ve learned from COVID-19 is the importance of adjusting to change, and so most everyone is willing to work together to find a solution.”

At AGC, the team is staying in touch with and updating federal procurement officials, industry coalitions, and Biden administration officials. In particular, AGC would like to see “harmful tariffs” on construction materials eliminated and would like to see progress on expediting freight.

Speaking of transport, Loftus’ update cited March 2021 as the sixth-best month ever for intermodal rail originations. That, along with a recent 50% processing increase at the Port of Los Angeles, is fueling some optimism for clearing current congestion by summer and getting ready for seasonal pushes in the second half of the year.


Funny Photos


In-Cab Technology: The Future of Fleet Safety

With vehicle crashes on the rise and cost of crash-related litigation skyrocketing, many businesses are leveraging in-cab technology to help protect their drivers, operations, and bottom line. Many early adopters have achieved impressive results, such as fewer accidents, fewer claims, and fewer false accusations levied at their company drivers. In-cab
technology ultimately encompasses any tool that collects information and quantifiable data to evaluate driver behavior, vehicle performance, and road conditions. It could include:
Video or Dash Cams
Are your drivers wearing a seatbelt? Are they distracted by their phone or radio? Do they speed or display road rage? Does the video support their statements regarding who was at fault in a collision?
Drivers who know they are on camera may be more safety-conscious behind the wheel. And, if they are not driving safely, video footage can help you identify their risky behavior so you can take corrective action before a crash occurs. Video recording around the exterior of the vehicle can also help give you a clear view of the facts should a collision occur, which
may help support your defense against false claims levied at your drivers.
GPS Tracking and Vehicle Monitoring
Are your drivers on time and taking the most efficient driving routes? If there is an incident, will your drivers remember the exact location where it occurred? Could your drivers more effectively be responding to urgent customer service needs?
GPS tracking tools can help you get full visibility of your fleet vehicles out on the road in real time. Some GPS services can provide information on vehicle location, provide an overview of a vehicle’s daily route, and note the location of an incident. They can also help you find the closest available vehicle when you need to respond to a customer quickly.
Telematics systems can also monitor factors such as speed and break usage, giving you a better picture of your drivers’ behavior behind the wheel.
Predictive Analytics and Insights
Do you know how your company drivers compare to others in your industry? How might fleet performance and driver behavior today impact your business down the road?
By analyzing video footage and vehicle performance data, some in-cab technology solutions can provide valuable insights that help you predict and proactively address problems in the future. These insights can be specific to your business and may help you to pinpoint opportunities to improve your safe driving culture and fleet performance.
While in-cab technology may help lower operating costs, lower insurance premiums, increase productivity, and create better fuel efficiency, what really matters is that it can help your company drivers make it home safe today. 

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