About 10 years ago, we at Hydraulics & Pneumatics decided that it would be a good idea if we joined an organization called The Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution (NAHAD) and we did. Our mission at Hydraulics & Pneumatics is to report on fluid power technology in print and online and deliver the content to an audience of highly-qualified recipients.
Well, a very large segment of the fluid power industry is the connector segment, which consists of hose, fittings, and assemblies. Thus, it makes sense for the magazine of fluid power to be associated with an organization that represents both distributors and manufacturers of hose, fittings, and assemblies.
The NAHAD organization is made up of distributors and manufacturers of all kinds of industrial hose, fittings, and assemblies —not just hydraulic —but a significant segment of the hose business is hydraulic. Many of our advertisers are members of NAHAD and their annual meetings are great opportunities for us to say in touch with them.
But there is so much involved with NAHAD and connections beyond the hardware that are called connectors. It is about manufacturers being connected with distributors and the reverse. It is about all of the members being connected with ideas, concepts, and facts that can help them with their business. It is about business networking that allows for business relationships to form and thrive.
The organization is managed by Joe and Kristen Thompson and their management company, and for the whole ten years that we have participated in NAHAD, it has been a very well-organized association with annual meetings that allow for many networking opportunities as well as learning experiences. Every spring, NAHAD holds its Annual Meeting & Convention in an interesting location. This year, 2012, it was held at The Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas. Last year, it was in San Diego. Each event offers the 900 or so attendees an opportunity to attend informative business sessions, network with customers and suppliers, and enjoy the offerings of the particular location. It also includes some golf and lots of great food.
The 2012 event had some particularly good presentations, which were kicked off by the current and outgoing president of NAHAD, Tim O'Shaughnessy of Shamrock Hose & Fittings in Cleveland, OH. Tim, by the way, did a great job as president in his year ending at this Annual Meeting. The UNLV marching band helped to get the adrenaline flowing for the coming presentations.
The opening presentation of the event was given by author and speaker, Jaynie Smith and her topic was “Creating Competitive Advantage for Relevant Selling.” In this presentation, Jayne stresses the importance of making any advantage relevant to the customer in order to be a true competitive advantage.
Keep in mind that her audience is made up of hose and accessory suppliers and distributors. So, within this audience we have sellers and customers. So in making this point of relevant advantages, Jaynie was telling the audience to use whatever means available to understand what your hose and accessory customers want and need and make this one of your strengths. One of the ways that the seller/manufacturers could do this is through networking at the NAHAD Annual Meeting & Convention. They could use this time to better understand their customers/distributors. How timely?
In addition, through the networking time allotted at this event, manufacturers and distributors have the opportunity to share ideas on how they can together best serve their end-use customers through relevant competitive advantages of not only the products but the services that go with the products. Again, this is a very timely opportunity.
This opening presentation by Jaynie Smith did a great job of moving the agenda of networking and connecting and this is what NAHAD is all about. She set the stage for the second presentation that was given by Dr. Bill McCleave, President of W.H. McCleave & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in business relationships between manufacturers, distributors, and customers. Bill has spoken to this Association before as it is fitting for his area of expertise, consulting with manufacturers and their distributors.
The title of Bill's presentation was “Where Managers Blunder - Avoid Traps for Superior Performance.” In his talk, Bill revealed the results of a survey that was given to the NAHAD membership base and another on larger similar industrial base. The survey highlighted what makes managers successful. The results repeatedly showed where great communication, cooperation, and teamwork are the best ways to succeed.
Again, making connections and managing those relationships are essential to success in the hose and accessory business and most every other business. Communication is so important in making business work and Bill and Jaynie both did excellent work at making this very clear.
So far, our membership in NAHAD has helped us to stay connected with manufactures of hose and assemblies, allowing us to share our strength of having excellent fluid power content distributed to highly-qualified readers. Our position within the hydraulic and pneumatic hose and assembly community has been greatly enhanced by our membership and participation in NAHAD.
Even more fitting for this Association that deals with connecting people involved with connectors were the second-day “University in a Day”tracks given by speaker and consultant, Steve McClatchy. In his morning session titled “Trust, Confidence, and Business Relationships,”Steve went into great detail about the importance of relationships in business.
Again, in a meeting that focused on connections, discussing how to build and nurture business relationships was more than timely —it was right on the money. All too often, we take our business relationships for granted but we were reminded that they too need work. After all, business is people working, communicating, and cooperating with other people.
Leadership and management functions were key topics. One of the main takeaways was Steve's definition of leadership as involving things that change and are not in a hurry. Management involves things that stay the same but the things need to be done right away. These are very interesting perspectives.
In his afternoon session, Steve focused on “Leading Your Team - Beyond Process Management.”This session considered the elements of leadership —another important dynamic of connections.
The fluid power industry is a very large one that is estimated in the tens of billions of dollars of annual sales. Hose, fittings, and assemblies are a huge segment of the fluid power industry. Our job at Hydraulics & Pneumatics is to educate and inform all users of hydraulic and pneumatic hose, fittings, and assemblies on the products that are available, how they work, how they have been successfully applied, and who makes them. NAHAD connects sellers and distributors of these products.
Both functions are extremely important to make machinery the most effective, efficient, and productive. Users of hose, fittings, and assemblies need to know all that they can about the products. They also need to build relationships with the companies and individuals with whom they buy or sell these products.
Our association with this Association makes great sense. It helps that NAHAD and their members have accepted Hydraulics & Pneumatics into their group and that the meetings are so productive and fun. I compliment everyone who makes NAHAD work and we look forward to a long relationship between Hydraulics & Pneumatics and NAHAD.