Spotlight on NAHAD Leaders: Jim Reilly of GHX Industrial
Interview with Jim Reilly, Regional Manager for GHX Industrial, LLC. Reilly is a member of the NAHAD Board of Directors and has played a very active role in the development of the NAHAD Hose Assembly Guidelines and in the formation of the Hose Safety Institute. He also serves on the Hose Safety Institute Advisory Council.
NAHAD: Tell me a little about your background and how you got into this industry.
Jim Reilly: I've been in this industry since 1975 when I graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Industrial Distribution, and started with Goodyear Engineered Products. I worked for Goodyear for six years as a GTM field salesman, selling hose, conveyor belting and power transmission products. My largest hose distributor at the time was CV Harold Rubber who offered me a position with the company.
I worked up through the organization and in 2002 became president. In 2005, the 78-year-old company was purchased by GHX. It was great to be part of GHX because Dan Ahuero and Ben Andrews were the leaders in promoting quality, reliability and safety. Their Houston location was an ISO registered facility.
NAHAD: What is your role within GHX? What projects or initiatives have you been focusing on recently?
Reilly: Currently I'm responsible for the sales and operations of nine locations, in California, Nevada, Texas and Louisiana. There are a couple of recent initiatives we've been working on.
One is the hydro-blast business. Prior to working with us, one of our customers had a fatality from the failure of a 20,000 psi+ hose. They were determined to improve their hose management program, and last year chose GHX as their sole supplier for hydro blast hose. Our emphasis on hose safety and our ability to track every hose through the GHX Tracker, the online hose tracking system, assured them that they could improve their hose management system. For the last year we’ve worked with the process to improve the tagging, color coding, inspection and testing process. The NAHAD Hose Safety Institute Handbook has been a valuable guide for us as we develop our programs. We’ve added a SpirStar approved fabrication facility in our Stockton, California branch to support the business. The customer is so pleased with our joint improvements that they are promoting their hose management system to their competitors to help raise the level of hose safety awareness of the whole industry.
Another recent initiative for us is our upstream oil and gas business, primarily offshore production. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has obviously raised the awareness for everything related to offshore, including hose safety. They want to know our method for hose design and specification and how we fabricate. We show them the Institute Handbook and discuss the fabrication procedures designed by the industry.
NAHAD: How did you get involved with NAHAD?
Reilly: CV Harold had been a NAHAD member for many years and back then, we saw it as more of a social organization, a chance for manufacturers and distributors to come together and discuss trends and new products in the industry. About 15 years ago, the NAHAD leadership came to the conclusion that there was a need for improved standards in this industry, and that we were the best people to make sure the customer was getting a safe product. With many industrial products, the distributor buys from a manufacturer and resells to the customer. All of the control is in one place, with the manufacturer, so they depend on them for quality and reliability.
In the industrial hose business, you've really got three or more people involved in the supply chain: the manufacturer of the hose, the manufacturer of the fittings and the distributor that's putting the hose assembly together. So you have to make sure that all of us are on the same page so the customer ends up with the highest-quality, most reliable product we can provide.
In 2010, I was given the opportunity to get more involved with NAHAD. GHX’s CEO, Dan Ahuero had served as president of NAHAD and we saw our participation as a key part of what GHX wanted to do in the industry. We had our own internal best practices with GHX, but I wanted to make sure we stayed abreast of industry trends and NAHAD was the best way. I was asked to join the Board of Directors to work with the best group of men and women in the Industry. It has truly been an honor. With the help of NAHAD staff members Joe Thompson, Exec. V.P., Debbie Mitchell, Standards Manager and Kristin Thompson, Conference & Communications Director, along with scores of member volunteers, we have done an amazing job with creating, managing and maintaining hose assembly standards, fabrication procedures and marketing tools to build the organization to what it is today. This is an exciting business. I'm still involved on the board, on the standards committee and marketing sub-committee, and I love being part of it. I'm passionate about this, and GHX is passionate about it.
NAHAD: Tell me about the process of improving the Hose Safety Guidelines and helping to create the new Institute Handbook over the past year.
Reilly: We're building on the design and specification guides that have been developed by many people over many years. There have been a lot of changes in the industry since they were first developed- products, processes and technology, and we wanted to make sure that all of those changes were updated.
One change since the first sets of guidelines were released has been more emphasis on crimping instead of banding. Crimping was prevalent in hydraulics, but less so on the industrial side. There's now a lot more crimping of industrial hose, including with steam hose, because you get a much more consistent, reliable assembly. So we've added a better explanation of crimping, including illustrations and an updated pressure chart to the Handbook. It’s an impressive document, one that you can proudly show your customers.
NAHAD: Why do you believe the NAHAD Hose Safety Institute and Guidelines are so valuable for the industry?
Reilly: There's no more complete manual available to distributors, manufacturers or end-users to help them design and specify hoses. The goal was to be abIe to go to one book and get the information you need. It eliminates the disconnect that used to exist between the different people involved in making the end product, so that we can show our customers the processes we go through to make sure they receive the safest, most reliable product. I don't know how our competitors can do it without being a member of the Institute and using the Handbook and Guidelines in their businesses.
NAHAD: How have you used the Guidelines in your organization and with your customers? How have they benefited you?
Reilly: GHX is constantly using the Handbook and online Fabrication Guides within our business management systems that explain the steps for putting hose assemblies together. We also work with Goodyear and a program called Star, which, as part of their certification, requires that Underwriters Laboratories come into your facility once a year and verify that you're following the standards contained in the Handbook and in the online Fabrication Guides. CV Harold was involved with Star before we were purchased by GHX, and we were one of the first Star distributors in the program. Now it's a part of GHX's culture.
The Guidelines have benefitted us because if a customer asks us how we test certain kinds of hose, we can open the Handbook and explain the process – test pressure, time of test, hose markings, etc. We had a customer call us and ask how we check for static conductivity which could be critical in their application; we opened the Handbook and showed them. It’s a great marketing tool!
The Guidelines help the customer feel more confident that they're buying a safe and reliable product. It's also benefits GHX, because if a competitor comes in with a lower price, they are educated to know that there is a lot more involved in a hose assembly that has to be taken into consideration besides the price. They can compare that company's standards to GXH's standards. The Guidelines have allowed us to grow our business by our customers becoming more educated.
NAHAD: You’ve helped to attract Hose Safety Institute Advisory Council members, like Randy Daniels and Roger Gautreau of Marathon Petroleum. How does representation from end-users/customers contribute to the Council’s goals?
Reilly: Getting Roger involved was easy because he and his company want the same thing we do: a safe workplace. As a company and industry, we think we know what our customers want, but by getting customers involved in the NAHAD Institute through the Advisory Council, we really get to know what they want and expect. We can share with them what we're doing as an industry and make sure we're meeting their expectations. It helps to keep us on the right path, because they've got to meet MSHA, OSHA and other regulatory agency requirements, as well as their own safety and quality criteria.
The Institute Advisory Council is a great addition to support NAHAD’s mission and is reaping real benefits for the association, for the Council members and for the Hose Safety Institiute members.
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