August 2021 Newsletter

A Word from our President

by – Cody Hanna-Hanna Heating & Air

Hello,

I would like to thank everyone who attended our July planning meeting last month. We ended up with some great ideas for the upcoming year’s meetings.

I hope that you all are making the best of these last few hot weeks before summer starts to wind down. I also hope that you and your employees get a chance to regroup from this crazy summer that we have had before the fall arrives and heating season begins.

There are many uncertainties with the rise in covid cases recently and the continuing supply chain issues we are facing. It seems like if it’s not one problem, it’s another. I challenge you to step aside from whatever problems or issues you are dealing with and take a moment to focus on the good things. We are all fortunate to have employees that are willing to show up to work every day and customers that put their trust in our businesses’. We are fortunate to have suppliers that go above and beyond to get us what parts and equipment they can during these trying times. For that, we all should be very grateful.

We do not have a general meeting this month. Next month’s meeting is with Federated Insurance and will be held at Terradyne Country Club, a nice change of scenery for those who are board with the Scotch. Hope to see you all there!

Please feel free to email or call Cody at (316) 945-3481 or cody@hannainc.com with any concerns or questions.


Education

We are back to in-person classes, classes will be held @ Ferguson.  Class dates are listed below.  Be on the look out for a seperate email with ALL the information about the classes and what the subjects will be.

September 14th 

September 28th

October 19th

October 26th

November 16th


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.


July’s General Meeting

Thank you to those who was able to show up for the planning meeting for 2021-2022.  Those of us who were able to come put together some good ideas for general meetings, see list below.  We tried to think outsode the box and get some different mettings. 

A big congratulations to Jeff Stevenson with Federeated Insurance, he was the BIG winner of the $100 drawing. 

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


2021-2022 Meetings 

August            NO General Meeting

September      Federated @ Terradyne Country Club

October           Local Union @ 

November       Tom Tallon @ BCS

December       Christmas Party

January           WTI @ WTI

February         Stoney w/MABCD 

March             Butler County Community College                       @ BCCC in Rose Hill

April                Wichita City Mayor

May                WSU Tech @ WSU Tech

June               Tom Roberts

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


HVAC Contractors Navigate Shortages and Supply Chain Delays

Delays are expected to last a while, but the right strategies can help HVAC contractors weather the challenge

INVENTORY ISSUES: Brian Stack (left) recommended that contractors stock up on equipment that they forecasted and know they will need, but with caution to ensure they don’t overbuy and get stuck with extra materials. (Courtesy of ACCA)

The year of 2020 and its accompanying pandemic brought a multitude of challenges to HVAC contractors looking to keep their customers and employees safe while still remaining profitable. The pandemic looks to be dwindling in strength within the United States, but a key remnant of the disruption continues: product shortages and supply chain issues. What inventory strategies should contractors be using to be sure their customers can get the products when they need them?

Causes of the Shortages

Understanding the cause of the shortages is important, as contractors may need to explain the situation to customers who are stuck waiting for products they would like sooner rather than later. The main reasons for this delay are shifting consumption patterns from the pandemic, as well as the lingering effects of COVID-19, according to Tim Fisher, team leader of Market Intelligence at HARDI (Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International).

“We’ve got to remember that the products that are coming to the US are coming from other countries that might not be through the woods of the pandemic,” he said. “They might be dealing with their own labor shortages or their port might be out of line.”

Eventually, the mismatched supply and demand will unwind. More and more people are getting vaccinated and some ports, such as the one in Los Angeles, are slowly catching up on the backlog of products coming in. Fisher said that he does not expect for product availability issues to be even close to normal by the end of the summer, though he predicts the problem will ease up as we move further into the year and into 2022.

“We’ve heard from contractors across the country that are having inventory challenges, especially when it comes to refrigerants as well as finding parts and equipment,” said Chris Czarnecki, ACCA government relations representative and coalitions manager. “Unfortunately, this issue isn’t restricted to just the HVACR industry, as it seems supply chain constraints have touched every corner of the American economy.”

Part of these challenges trace back to the labor shortage, as businesses of many kinds are struggling to find employees. Czarnecki added that ACCA is continuing to focus on helping support the HVACR contracting industry, but is also looking at other ways to support contractors more broadly, such as working with manufacturers, distributors, and others involved in the HVAC product supply chain. ACCA is also working to help ensure the availability and affordability of refrigerants, which is impacted by the recently passed AIM Act and refrigerant phasedown.

Butch Welsch, owner, Welsch Heating & Cooling, explained that his company has had trouble getting almost every product it needs at some time or another recently. He said that the situation is worse than last year. Last year saw an equipment shortage as manufacturers shut down due to pandemic, followed by growth in demand for home comfort as people locked down inside. This year, Welsch said the shortages are affecting nearly everything: equipment, sheet metal, parts, etc.

“We’re usually able to work out something in the way of substitutions, having a product fast-freighted in,” said Welsch. “But it doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and that doesn’t take into account the price of things.”

Shortages cause a spike in demand over supply, leading to higher prices, and Welsch said this can particularly impact the new construction market, where contracts have already been signed.

Inventory Strategies

Brian Mount, CEO of Tempo Air, explained that one of the most effective strategies his company has incorporated is talking to their equipment suppliers on a daily basis about product availability and lead times. Some suppliers will have products that others will not, and some have done a better job at stockpiling inventory. About six months ago, leadership at Tempo Air spent time looking at data and forecasting the product they would need for the summer, and then worked to get that product. They are currently forecasting what they will need in six months to a year. Company leadership is also working hard to stay informed on new home construction. They’ve also added “warehouse” space in the form of shipping containers in their parking lot, looking for unique ways to store the products they need.

HARDI’s Fisher said that contractors should be careful not to purchase or stockpile products out of fear if the market really doesn’t have the demand to support their orders. Anticipating future demand with accurate data-based forecasting is good, but simply hoarding product without any regard to how it will sell is different. The latter approach throws off wholesalers who are themselves trying to predict what contractors will be needing in the coming months.

“The reference to the toilet paper shortage has been done a lot recently,” Fisher said. “But it is similar to that. If this purchase is based on fear right now, it won’t fix the problem but will actually just serve to exacerbate current problems.”

Tempo Air has also looked at their relationships with vendors. They have worked to maintain their relationship with suppliers who they’ve worked with over the past years, but Mount said they also have worked to build some relationships with new suppliers to ensure they have the product for their customers.

Brian Stack, president of Stack Heating & Cooling LLC and ACCA board chair, also suggested looking at relationships with vendors.

“Adding a second line is not a bad idea; we did that with the supply shortages last summer,” he said. “We added an extra line to have as a fallback, then added a third line. A pro to having another line is having a backup if you are unable to get equipment from the main line. A con is having too many options for the customers to choose from.”

Stack recommended that contractors stock up on equipment that they forecasted and know they will need, but with caution to ensure they don’t overbuy and get stuck with extra materials.

Fisher said that if contractors are looking at adding new lines of product, they should be careful not to burn any bridges with distributors who have served them faithfully over the past years. In the short term, some suppliers may be able to provide certain products, he said, but in the long run, everyone is dealing with the same issues. He encouraged contractors to be open and communicative with their distributors.

“If you are buying something to put it in the warehouse, I think you need to be open with your distributor about that,” he said. “That helps them not overreact to spikes in demand, and helps them keep their order patterns can remain balanced.”

Communicating With Customers

Brian Mount explained that when discussing product availability with his customers, the B2B customers tend to be very understanding, as they are already very familiar with shortages affecting a wide variety of the economy. In new home construction, for example, HVAC systems tend to be some of the lower-impact products that can be installed late in the process, so those customers are worried more about shortages such as lumber.

When talking with customers, Fisher explained that contractors should be transparent with their customers are the final price and the timing of when product can come in, if a delay is occurring.

“You need to make sure they understand that this is not just your company, but that it is something your competitors are dealing with as well,” he said.


Funny Photos


Avoid Workplace Hazards with Slip, Trip, and Fall Controls

Each year, thousands of workers are injured or disabled as a result of slips, trips, and falls, which may occur anytime, anywhere, or
to anyone. These injuries could create long-lasting complications for workers who sustain them, and unfortunately, they are not uncommon occurrences in the workplace — about 20 to 25 percent of all occupational-injury accidents involve slips, trips, and
falls.1 Causes often include:
 Failure to properly use equipment
 Haste
 Inappropriate footwear
 Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
 Inattention
 Obstacles in walkways
 Poor lighting and vision
 Slippery surfaces
 Unsafe ladder usage
Fortunately, many of these injuries can be avoided by using controls designed to help you recognize slip, trip, and fall hazards at your workplace anddetermine what preventative safety measures should be taken.
Engineering controls involveevaluating your physical environment and rectifying the hazards that may causeemployees to slip, trip, or fall.
These controls also include changing processes to ensure that safety is a top priority and verifying that the physical environment at your facility is up to code.
Administrative controls involve critically assessing work procedures and policies, and implementing effective rules, schedules, and training with the goal of reducing employee interaction with potentially hazardous situations over long periods of time. These controls can help change the way people do their jobs through the use of education, training, proper signage, maintenance, correcting poor work practices, regular inspections, and good housekeeping, to name a few.
Safe work practices take what the administrative controls propose and turn them into actions that employees and employers should follow. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that at least one third of the nation’s workforce is exposed to hazards that
could cause slips, trips, or falls.
It is up to both supervisors and employees alike to follow safe work practices and regularly ensure
that rules are being followed. Document any problematic areas and the remedial actions taken to address those areas, and ensure documentation includes descriptions of any accidents areas complete as possible.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help to reduce risks of injury or death in circumstances where there may be an increased risk of slips, trips, or falls. Although there may not be a way to eliminate a hazard in a workplace, PPE can helpto control the hazard rather than eliminating it.
Utilizing workplace controls to create and maintain a safe work environment is imperative in helping to avoid unnecessary slips, trips, and falls. And remember to respond quickly and appropriately if a slip, trip, or fall does occur. 

1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, SOII Data (2017), Table R4. Accessed August 2019.
2 Advanced Consulting and Training LTD. https://advancedct.com/the-measures-for-controlling-slip-trip-and-fall-hazards-atwork/#:~:text=Administrative% 20controls% 20include%20the%20following,sight%20obstruction%20and%20over%2Dreaching 
3 Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Safety Council – 46E0-HT10. https://www.osha.gov/harwoodgrants/grantmaterials/fy2006/46e0-ht10
4U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 6, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/fatal-and-nonfatal-falls-slips-and-trips-in-the-construction-industry.htm

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