The HVAC industry is on the rise. In line with the rebound of fortunes of the larger construction industry, the HVAC market is currently experiencing a boom in business close to the record highs of 2005.
HVAC industry research has the global market in 2018 valued at US $ 91.30 billion with a prediction of it reaching US $ 173 billion by 2024. Driving this market growth are a number of factors that include upgrades of old systems, climate change, tax credits and rebates, and more energy efficient models.
Market buoyancy and investment makes now the perfect time to shake-up the traditional HVAC company model and embrace the newest technologies available in the sector. But, what can tech really do to make your business better?
Well, pretty much everything.
But to make it that bit easier to understand we have broken it down into three main areas:
- Business operations
1. Product – Innovation, creation and installation
Responding to new developments, market demands, and competitor innovations aren’t new. But, being able to predict and drive change from a position of confidence due to a sound base of factual data is something most HVAC system manufacturers couldn’t even dream of. With new technologies, unlocking the insights of large data sets is not now the reserve of global brands.
The impact of user data and environmental factors are shaping innovations in product design and testing. This is delivering units with lower emissions and a much longer life-span.
Increased implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning in research and development are leading to innovative HVAC products.
This insight is also enabling responsive manufacturing to efficiently address changes in demand. The benefits impact every stage of the manufacturing process as predictive analytics drive purchasing, manufacturing and distribution.
The overall result is a massive reduction of overhead costs thanks to minimizing the amount of money tied up in manufacturing supplies and warehousing.
The influx of data from units already installed in public buildings and, although to a lesser degree, private dwellings are offering building designers unprecedented insight on which units to use and how best to position them for maximum efficiency.
Identifying the ‘weak link’ in the system and factoring this into the energy and efficiency rating is essential if a HVAC system is ever to achieve its estimated running standards. While the units have evolved dramatically, the ducting servicing them has not. Architects and building automated system managers (BAS) have to plan for this.
Getting decisions like these right first time will eliminate delays later in the build, increase building efficiency ratings and, of course, lead to happy customers.
2. Maintenance – Controls, Repairs and Consumables
New technology is arming manufacturers and maintenance companies with accurate predictive data. Data that can diagnose and mitigate problems before they become a serious issue for customers and repair professionals.
Wireless data connections to systems are bringing HVAC units up to speed with the trend for smart technology. Used widely in the home and in public spaces, wireless access to units is quickly becoming the norm.
The connection of hardware systems to the internet, and therefore the Internet of Things (IoT), allows for fast review of settings and automatic adjustments to changes in the unit’s environment and puts the power to best use in the hands of all users, not just experts. As such, maintaining an office temperature throughout changeable weather can be a tap of a mobile device rather than the reserve of whoever is sitting closest to the temperature dial.
“Smarter technologies, such as the use of smartphone apps, allow building managers to control lighting, ventilation, and other processes with one control point.” (Source - Aeroseal)
The efficient temperature control of units running on automated programs will have the added benefits of green credentials and cost reduction. Whilst cost has always been an important factor for all HVAC system users who pay the utility bills, the demand for environmentally friendly HVAC equipment is on the rise.
Wireless and remote access to HVAC unit data can provide a steady stream of information to maintenance teams and alert in-house and third-party providers of support of any errors.
Some function errors may be repaired remotely, such as software updates and resets with the assistance of contacts onsite. Knowledge of the possible solution and required resources will also dramatically decrease a unit's downtime with repair teams attending site with the correct parts on their first visit.
“IoT enabled HVAC units can be connected to the internet and can provide real-time information about the condition of the systems to users and manufacturers, helping them anticipate defects and reduce maintenance costs. (Source - Grand View Research)”
Mobile access via an online portal or mobile app will allow your agents to upload information on-site. This means quicker and more accurate recordkeeping across your company.
Data on a unit’s wear and tear, and patterns of use will enable HVAC engineers to forecast the best times for service and ensure stock of any consumable parts when they are needed.
Insight into the use of a product in-situ and the impact of differing environments on parts and efficiency will also feedback into future research and development innovations.
For example, if a unit component has a higher wear rate in a damp climate such as Seattle than in a drier location, creating a part that withstands the challenges of damp conditions will decrease running costs and serve as a selling point in those regions.
3. Business Operations – Service, Marketing and Sales
Technology isn’t just revolutionizing manufacturing and maintenance. The same data insights and predictive analysis have the power to tackle business operations and customer-facing services.
In a highly competitive marketplace, a focus on delivering excellent customer service is paramount when working to retain and grow market share in today’s HVAC market.
Predictive analysis of on-site products is putting customer service teams a step ahead when it comes to unit updates, user advice and servicing. The same data processes can streamline internal processes by combining otherwise siloed data sets from internal ERP and CRM systems into a single view dashboard. Effectively freeing up your staff from manual data tasks and allowing them to dedicate their time to dealing directly with end users.
There has been an explosion of technology using AI to locate and prioritize prospects. Depending upon your target audience, new algorithms can target prospects based on their fit for your HVAC products and the likelihood of them closing. As a result, niche campaigns based on hyper-local needs can boost marketing ROI and deliver quality leads to your sales team.
Using tools such as remarketing, where you can target customers who have visited your site or researched your product, you can remain ‘front-of-mind’ whilst getting another chance to show your HVAC products USPs (specific to their needs).
The same technology that is allowing repair technicians to ‘plug-in’ to individual units or a whole system’s data remotely is giving your sales team valuable data while out in the field.
“Becoming wireless in this age is a no-brainer.” (Source - Field Edge)
Unlocking internal system data and having it available via wireless devices whilst out meeting customers and prospects gives an uninterrupted, fast service. Giving your team the information they need to demonstrate value, give industry insights and provide real-time data on factors such as lead times.
Having the data they need to close deals faster thanks to being able to adjust and amend offers without having to return to the office to collect and verify data is invaluable.
Innovate or obliterate.
It may be a bit dramatic, but you need to get on board with the tech revolution in the HVAC industry or risk extinction. Don’t panic if your tech expertise is low, there are plenty of experts out there ready to help. Plus, the best technology is designed to be very easy to use and understand.
As the HVAC industry works to streamline HVAC products with new technology, energy-efficiency, and green initiatives to keep up with demand from end users, stop and ask yourself – have you done the same for your business systems?
sales-i and the HVAC Industry.
The very nature of the HVAC industry is incredibly seasonal. People get hot in the summer, they want A/C. So, those all-important out-of-season sales can often be a struggle.
That’s where sales-i’s HVAC software steps in.
Even when your customers may not be buying high-ticket items, you can keep them hungry for your products with handcrafted irresistible offers for replacement parts, ensure outstanding service levels and outwit your competition at every turn.
Companies such as APCO Inc’s Michigan Temperature Supply are already seeing the benefit of sales-i to grow their business. Can you afford not to talk to us about how we can help you? CALL US TODAY FOR YOUR FREE ONLINE DEMO.