MRO Magazine

Certification program proving a big hit with bearing distributors

If the measure of success for any industry association is its willingness and ability to train and educate its membership, then the Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) based in Glen Ellyn, IL, can claim a spot near the very top with its Certifie...


February 1, 2004
By Richard Rix

If the measure of success for any industry association is its willingness and ability to train and educate its membership, then the Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) based in Glen Ellyn, IL, can claim a spot near the very top with its Certified Bearing Specialist (CBS) program. It has raised the standard of professionalism in the bearing distribution industry and promoted a sharper focus on the features and benefits of products.

The CBS program aims to enhance the profitability of BSA members while reducing overall costs to their customers. Membership of BSA includes firms from around the world who are authorized distributors of factory-warranted ball, roller, and anti-friction bearings. They supply replacement bearings and value-added services to their customers and provide a vital link between the manufacturer and end-users.

BSA says that the CBS designation is of particular value to: sales, service and application engineers; field service technicians; technical support specialists; sales reps; and account managers.

“Anyone in the industry who is called upon to answer technical questions, such as what to do about a piece of machinery with a bearing that fails on a repetitive basis, would benefit enormously from CBS certification,” says Cam Lawrence, president of BDI Canada Inc. in Mississauga, Ont. “That person would have acquired the skill and technical know-how to be able to address such a question intelligently, for the benefit of the supplier company and the customer.”

Lawrence heads up BSA’s Certification Advisory Committee and not surprisingly is a big booster of the CBS program. In fact, he encourages the entire BDI Canada staff to aspire to the designation. Of the 200 or so graduates of the CBS program since it started in 1998, fully 117 of them work at BDI Canada.

“The program provides concentrated training and calls for an examination to be written at a local university or community college,” Lawrence says. “Most industrial people have a lot of experience and have attended manufacturers’ schools and seminars but there are often big gaps in their training. Often they don’t even know what they don’t know and this program pulls it all together for them.

“As well, the CBS designation after their name on their business card gives them real credibility with their customers.”

Other Canadian companies with certified staff include BC Bearing Engineers Ltd., Burnaby, B.C.; Canadian Bearings Ltd., Mississauga, Ont.; Motion Canada, Mississauga, Ont.; and Transmission Supplies (S.A.) Ltd., Lethbridge, Alta. They find too that CSB accreditation provides a valuable way of establishing a common standard of excellence and pride among employees working at far-flung branches.

Demand is strong for the BSA’s In-House Training Guide materials, the prerequisite of the CBS program, among members and non-members alike. The guide, which was developed as an individual study course, contains sections on sleeve bearings, anti-friction roller element bearings, unmounted ball and roller bearings, and mounted bearings. It also includes a lubrication guide. (For more details, visit www.bsahome.org.)

Annual convention features Canadian event

Overall, the 70-member BSA has significant Canadian content — so much so that it always features a special Canadian event at its annual convention, which this year is being held at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from April 24-27.

Also affiliated with the group and active in supporting the convention are around 60 ‘participating’ manufacturers. While not actual members, their participation gives them access to a valuable forum at which to discuss matters of common interest and concern with the distributors. The manufacturers also provide invaluable input into educational, training, and technical materials developed by BSA, and may be invited to serve as committee members.

This year’s convention at Marriott’s Harbor Beach Resort & Spa in one of Fort Lauderdale’s most exclusive neighbourhoods offers both a business program and time to relax with golf, tennis, various tours and a dinner/dance awards ceremony for members and partners.

Keynote speakers include: Tom Winninger, author of bestselling books Price Wars, Hiring Smart, Sell Easy and the new Full Price; Jim Pancero, a leading authority on sales and sales management; and John Cassis, motivator and former California Angels baseball star. As well, Jeff Burton, one of NASCAR’s most successful drivers with 17 Winston Cup career wins and 20 Busch Series wins, will make a guest appearance.

Lawrence, who serves on the 2004 convention committee, has been president of BDI Canada since 1994. The company, which was founded in Toronto in 1950 as Kenscott Ltd., reports it is the nation’s premier distributor of bearings, power transmission products, fluid power products and associated industrial supplies. It represents all major manufacturers, including SKF, NSK and Timken. Its integrated supply chain management system has helped customers achieve product standardization, better inventory management and product engineering solutions.

“The integrated supply chain management system is defined on an individual basis by what customers want to do, and it has been instrumental in saving them millions of dollars,” Lawrence says. “One major automaker switched from 153 suppliers of fluid power to dealing solely with us, resulting in one purchase order, one point of contact and reduced inventory. It’s made life a lot simpler for them, that’s for sure, and in the process has reduced their costs to purchase.”

Richard Rix is a Toronto-based business writer. He can be reached at richardrix@sympatico.ca.

PTDA’s Canadian conference set for May 12-15

Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) organization and economist Dr. Peter Anderson are among the speakers to highlight the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) third annual Canadian Conference.

The event takes place May 13-15, 2004, at the Hyatt Regency Montreal in Montreal, Que. Designed to complement the PTDA annual convention, traditionally held in the United States, the conference will provide an opportunity for Canadian power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) channel participants to explore nationally-focused industry issues and trends.

The PTDA 2004 Canadian Conference will consist of a Welcoming Event on Thursday evening, a full day of programming and dinner on Friday, and a Saturday morning agenda with optional events and a dinner scheduled for the afternoon and evening.

Highlights of the PTDA 2004 Canadian Conference will include:

– A keynote presentation by Dr. Peter Andersen of Andersen Economic Research Ltd. of Toronto

– A panel of key end-user industry executives, including Bernie Dauvin, national key supplier manager, Canada, Weyerhaeuser Procurement & Supply Management.

– A workshop on Successful Negotiations with Neil Parry.

– Formal and informal networking with key decision-makers in the Canadian PT/MC market.

– Social events, a golf outing and tours for companions/spouses.

The Canadian Conference is open to all PTDA members selling product in Canada — distributors and manufacturers — as well as non-members who qualify for membership.

For more information on the conference, contact PTDA at 312-876-9461 or ptda@ptda.org.