Buying Groups Speak Out
An interview with four buying group leaders: Richard Glikes of Azione, Dave Workman of ProSource, Tom Hickman of Nationwide and Bob Hana of HTSA
What is the biggest challenge facing your members this year?
Hickman, Nationwide: Finding a way to manage all the new wireless technologies, all the competing platforms out there, whether it’s a thermostat or connected lighting. Everyone’s trying to find a way to do it, and the challenge for our guys will be finding a way to put it all together. I know that everyone’s chasing their own DIY solution. The challenge will be to clear all the smoke from all that, and finding a common platform for everything to come together.
Workman, ProSource: Finding qualified staff to allow growth and establishing business disciplines to manage growth.
Hana, HTSA: A few years ago, no one would have thought this was the answer, but today the biggest challenge is managing growth. With the industry in recovery, most HTSA members are facing increased demand that is beginning to stretch their resources—from sales, support and install staff. This is a good problem, but one that is requiring a new look at business efficiencies, management of personnel and decisions on when to hire, how many, etc. And once the decision has been made to expand staff, finding qualified people is a huge challenge. So at HTSA we are adding member benefits and resources to help them in both the strategy and tactics of this element of business management.
Glikes, Azione: The scarcity of qualified labor. Most dealers went through one or two rounds of layoffs during the recession. Business is good. Homes are coming up out of the ground and we are scrambling to find qualified installers.
What are the most significant issues for your members when it comes to managing labor?
Hana, HTSA: In one word, efficiency. Trying to ensure that their operations are as efficient as possible, focusing on better training, adoption of new technologies, reducing “call backs” and understanding the right amount to charge for this service.