The home improvement and hardware industry is once again back together for three days of education and networking at the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s NHPA All-Industry Conference. The conference, held in conjunction with the National Hardware Show (NHS) in Las Vegas, has been unable to meet in person for over two years and attendees welcomed the opportunity to meet with their industry peers face-to-face.
Educational Opportunities Abound on the NHPA Stage
On the NHPA All-Industry Conference Stage, Scott Wright, executive director of advanced training programs for NHPA, led a panel discussion on the future of retail with several NHPA Young Retailer of the Year honorees. The retailers conducted a “mini SWOT analysis” of their operations, reflecting on the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities for their businesses throughout the pandemic and looking ahead.
“The pandemic helped us learn that our teams are essential,” says Jonathan South, manager of Teghtmeyer Ace Hardware in Columbia City, Indiana. “Without their work and their ideas, we would not have been able to operate the way we did. Our team stepped up to the plate with a home run every time.”
Keynote speaker Dave Rosenberg got the attention of the audience with his presentation on leadership and best practices for creating self-directed teams. He reflected on his service in the U.S. Navy and how helping people understand their role as part of the bigger picture can have a lasting impact.
“When you’re hiring, you need to look for people who are going to be excited about what you do,” Rosenberg says. “You also need to give them the tools to get the job done.”
Dan Tratensek, chief operating officer and publisher for NHPA, led a panel discussion with representatives from Sashco, Lancaster and True Value who talked about where the supply chain might be headed moving into 2022.
“The key is communication,” says Lancaster president Geff Lynch. “We’re also working on more technology to make things more transparent to the customer.”
Other NHPA All-Industry Conference speakers included Josh Prigge, a sustainability consultant with Sustridge Consulting, who shared about creating a comprehensive approach to sustainability, including everything from employee engagement to consumer buy-in. Rich Benninghoff, president and CEO of Malco Products, discussed his company’s “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good” campaign and how investing in the company’s interior workspaces and process equipment, external appearance and the local community helped improve employee morale and performance while encouraging them to take pride in their work and workplace.
Finishing up the day’s educational content on the NHPA stage were panel discussions on creating connections and content to drive sustainable revenue growth and content creators’ best practices and experiences working with partners.
The National Hardware Show Focuses on Innovation
Along with an emphasis on safety, NHS is focusing on technology, with numerous ways to stay connected before, during and after the show. On the show floor and in the NHS Backyard, each exhibitor booth and all products in featured product areas were outfitted with a Konduko Smart reader. Attendees could tap their badge on any reader around the Show and immediately capture all the details about that vendor and products. At the end of each day, they received an email summary with everything and everyone they interacted with to easily organize and follow up post-show.
New this year at NHS, HABITAT sits at the crossroads of merchandise and mission and is the first area attendees experience as they enter the West Hall. Focused on the future and designed for discovery, HABITAT aims to explore the new ideas and technologies that are impacting our definition of the home and how we live. From environmental innovations to cultural and social shifts, NHS keeps a trained eye on how the hardware and home improvement industry can rise to meet the ongoing changes of our world.
Attendee favorites back again this year included an exhibitor lineup of over 680 vendors, inventor-focused education from the United Inventors Association and a new and improved NHS Backyard, with grilling and outdoor living exhibitors.