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For High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging see Diffusion MRI: HARDI and Q-Ball

HARDI, or Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International, is a not-for-profit association that promotes the business interests of wholesale air-conditioning, heating, and refrigeration companies. HARDI's member companies are estimated to represent about 80 percent of the industry's wholesale sales—more than $20 billion annually.[1]


Wholesale distribution matured at different times for industries in North America. Distribution of today's mechanical products began with the development of the small electric motor in the early 20th century.

The market for refrigerators began in the 1920s and early 1930s with store display cases. Emerging as a result of this was the Refrigeration Parts Association in 1935, which, in 1958, became the Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Wholesale (ARW).

In the late 1940s, heating wholesalers formed their own organization, the National Heating Wholesalers Association, to focus on the business of national distribution of lighter-weight steel furnaces in the post-war building boom. By the 1960s this association was renamed Northamerican Heating & Airconditioning Wholesalers Association (NHAW).

As the HVACR industry exited the growth phase, it entered into an era of excess production capacity. For manufacturers this led to mergers, acquisitions, and closed doors. The 100 furnace manufacturers in the 1960s became just a handful by the 1990s. Channel power shifted from the manufacturer to the customer.

For wholesalers too, real growth often came by increasing market share at the expense of another wholesaler, merging and acquiring other wholesalers and moving horizontally to handle other related products - air-conditioning wholesalers might expand into refrigeration and vice versa. As technology issues helped drive the merger of contractor, engineering and manufacturer associations in the 50s and 60s, pure distribution issues in the 90s helped inspire the consolidation of the two major HVACR wholesale trade groups- Northamerican Heating, Refrigeration & Airconditioning Wholesalers (NHRAW)' and Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Wholesalers International (ARWI).

In 2003 these two trade groups consolidated to form HARDI.

Wholesaler members[1][edit]

One of HARDI's main goals is to help distributors looking to improve and grow their business. HARDI focuses on providing information in many different areas, and has experts in many different industry functions. Below are some of the services and educational opportunities HARDI makes available its wholesaler members:

Increasing profitability
-Profit training by industry and distribution experts
-Margin and Return on Investment targets
-Benchmarking tools
-Credit and collections training
-Operational Management
-Warehousing and inventory management training
-Compensation trends and training
-HR and succession planning
-Cost Saving Programs
-EDI, electronic ordering and fulfillment
-Catalog resources
-Price and product update services
-Credit card processing
-Car rentals
-Shipping and freight
-Excess inventory outlets

-Sales Training
-Sales Management
-Outside Sales
-Inside/Counter Sales
-Customer Retention
-Customer training tools
-Distributor advocacy and locating services
-Industry alliances with ACCA, RSES, NATE and other customer organizations

Industry, product and distribution education
-Accredited Home Study Institute (HSI)
-Counter Certification Program
-Product & System focused Councils
-Access & Exposure to the newest products from around the world
-Distribution trends and news
-University of Industrial Distribution
-Executive Development Seminars
-Disaster & Succession planning

Legislative awareness and representation
-National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
-Small business advocacy
-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA, and other Regulatory Bodies

Manufacturer/manufacturer representatives[1][edit]

HARDI also has hundreds of members that are HVAC manufacturers, and helps to facilitate business between the manufacturers and wholesalers. The following are some of the opportunities offered by HARDI to manufacturers:

Accessing new channels
-Introduction to over 450 distributors of HVACR supplies, equipment, systems, and controls
-Total market coverage in North America
-Market coverage on six continents
-Trends, news and feedback from contractor and commercial customer bases
-Branding opportunities
-Introduction, training, and education on wholesale distribution
-Access to the industry's most important Cooperatives

Maximizing existing channels
-Supply Chain efficiency technologies and initiatives
-Marketing and sales training
-Training and education to increase Channel Manager leaning curves
-Sales and profitability trends for wholesale channel
-Panelist and speaker opportunities
-Training for factory-owned distribution operations

-Conference Booth Program
-Regional Tabletop Mini-meetings
-Committee and leadership strategic meetings
-Product-focused Council meetings
-Roundtable discussions
-Formal and informal social events
-Golf and other organized recreational networking events

Conferences, meetings, and training[1][edit]

HARDI holds a number of different events throughout the year to help promote business and professional development in the HVAC industry. The following are just some of those events:

Annual fall conference
This conference is host to over 1200 attendees who meet for educational programming, leadership meetings, and committee and council meetings. The conference holds a booth program that features over 200 leading manufacturers and service vendors, and functions such as receptions, dinners, and a golf tournament are all a part of the formal and informal networking that the conference helps facilitate.

Executive development and leadership retreats
These are highly intense and intimate three-day training sessions with well-known distribution experts focused on prominent and emerging executives among distributors and manufacturers.

Job title-focused traveling workshops
These expert-led training boot camps focus on specific distributor job responsibilities such as Branch Managers, Inside Sales, and Counter Sales held in locations across the US.

Regional meetings and the mid-year business conference
Regional distributors and their suppliers gather yearly at this conference to discuss issues specific to their local markets.

HARDI icebreaker and executives' roundtable
These HARDI-sponsored events held annually at the AHR Expo are member favorites where the HARDI community can meet and mingle in the midst of the often overwhelming Expo crowd.


  1. ^ a b c d This information was gathered from the HARDI website and HARDI solutions pamphlet Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ReferenceA" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ This information was gathered from the HARDI website