Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hose distributors seek to expand technical knowledge

Recent NAHAD “Road Show” provided networking, education opportunities on hose assembly fabrication

NAHAD-The Assn. for Hose & Accessories Distribution took its Hose Assembly Guidelines program on the road recently as part of an ongoing outreach program designed to spread the word about the importance of providing safe, reliable hose assemblies to customers in all lines of trade.

NAHAD’s Hose Assembly Guidelines are a set of comprehensive recommendations for hose assembly specification, design and fabrication; they are designed to maximize the life of a hose assembly and optimize hose assembly safety, quality and reliability. San Diego was the fourth in a series of “road shows” created to spread the word about the guidelines program. The meeting was held Sept. 29-30 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina.

The training and education aspects of the program attracted John Green, president of Green Rubber/Kennedy Ag of Salinas, Calif., a first-time attendee who said he was “curious to see what the program was all about.”

“Our biggest concern as a medium-sized company is training,” said Green, whose company specializes in selling hose and rubber products to California’s food industry. “[NAHAD] stresses the importance of having qualified people learning about and doing proper assembly of specialty hoses.

“We know the chemical compatibilities and proper couplings to install on the hoses and the working pressures and so on, but these are things you can take for granted that your people know. And the training out there is very limited. So this was a way for us to stay informed.”

The Hose Assembly Guidelines program includes a training and certification component, something Green said he is particularly interested in.

“Most people think a hose is a hose and they don’t take into consideration what goes through it and how much pressure is involved,” he added, pointing to the potential for injury and damage if a hose fails. “We all want more information and a better understanding of what our products are capable of doing and what they’re not capable of doing. You really have to be astute in taking the time to make sure you know what you’re talking about when you make recommendations to customers.”

Distributors who adhere to NAHAD’s Hose Assembly Guidelines agree to fabricate hose assemblies according to the association’s standards—for industrial, composite, hydraulic, corrugated metal and fluoropolymer hose, as well as ducting and custom-made hose—and also agree to train and test their employees on those standards. They can then become NAHAD Listed members, a marketing program that lets end users and others know that they adhere to the NAHAD guidelines.

Green says he plans to take part in the Guidelines program as a result of the meeting.

Mike Helfer, president of Specialty Hose Corp. in North Canton, Ohio, deemed the Road Show a success in large part because of first-time attendees like Green. Helfer is a NAHAD board member and also serves on the association’s standards committee.

“Although we do some [programming] geared toward the Guidelines at our annual convention, there are still many people who walk away from that meeting without a complete understanding of what [the Guidelines] are and how they can affect them and their business,” Helfer explained. “[The Road Shows provide] hands-on, live examples from people who are using the Guidelines on a daily basis, giving [newcomers] insight about what this program is that everyone is talking about and how they can use it at their company.”

Key topics at the San Diego Road Show included safety concerns, liability issues in cases of hose failure, and the importance of ongoing employee training, Helfer and Green said. Companies experienced in using the Guidelines—such as Helfer’s—shared their experiences as NAHAD Listed members, while newcomers asked questions and also shared their insights on key issues and trends shaping the industry.

Among the meeting’s key “take-aways” for Green was a simple piece of sales advice.

“We all have trained salesmen who go out and try to explain to the purchasing people or the engineering people or the safety people why they should spend a certain amount of money on a particular product,” Green said. “But in most cases, people are looking for price. At [the Road Show], one gentleman explained it this way: You find somebody who [cares]. And when you find that person, you explain that if you think this hose might be expensive, wait until you find out how expensive a lawsuit can be.”

For more information on NAHAD’s Hose Assembly Guidelines program, go to

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