August 10, 2022
When HARDI, the premiere HVACR distribution association in North America, decided to expand its membership into Mexico, they tasked Guitze Messina with the job. Jason chats with the dynamic executive director of HARDI Mexico about surpassing the organization’s boldest growth projections and HARDI’s strategy for fostering greater support for the two-step distribution model across Central America, South America, and Europe.
“I like to say that I was able to put the dot on the “I” of HARDI, which is international,” laughs Guitze. But his success and that of HARDI Mexico is no joke. In Guitze’s five years at the helm, the organization has made tremendous headway within the Mexican market (signing on 70 members) and prompting interest from other Latin American countries. As with HARDI in North America, HARDI Mexico champions respect for the distribution chain, promotes best practices for reducing costs, and helps its members realize increased sales. Even with all that goodwill built into its DNA, it’s difficult to imagine the organization achieving so much so quickly without Guitze’s passion and experience. “As a consultant, [I] had to come up with ideas to help companies all of the time,” he says. “Now, I get to support an entire industry.”
As a leading advocate for wholesale distribution channels beyond North America, Guitze relies on a simple game plan to further his cause: go with what already works. “The US and Canada have the most organized, most efficient air conditioning and refrigeration markets in the world.” Guitze backs his pitch with case studies, KPIs, and field trips during which HARDI Mexico’s distributor members can gather real-time solutions to real-life pain points directly from their North American peers. “It's a lot easier to copy what somebody’s been working on and polish the idea,” says Guitze. “Then you've saved five years of growth problems, and now just copy and paste.”
Guitze’s commitment to the Mexican HVACR industry is evident in how he speaks of its future. “Besides being successful, we also want to pass on a legacy. We want the Mexican market to change.” But why stop there? Guitze and HARDI are poised to realize ambitious goals, bringing the tenets of networking, education, and business development to HVACR distributors worldwide.
“This is the job that I've loved the most in my whole life. I'm not changing companies; I'm changing a whole industry.”
“Doing the two-step distribution model has helped [manufacturers] increase their sales, increase their margins, have better customer service, and everybody's happy.”
“In the end, we need better contractors in Latin America. That's one big issue for manufacturers: warranties. So, it's in our best interest to make sure that everybody’s well-trained and is professional.”
“Salespeople and manufacturers think that if they have 10,000 distributors, they're gonna be better than if they have five, and that's not reality.”
“What I try to illustrate is that we need to move from a model of price to [a model of] value. With the price model, everything is urgent, and with the value model, everything is important.”
“The biggest market for Spanish-speaking contractors is the United States of America.”
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: Profit2, helping distributors charge the right price.