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The launch of this hvacr B2B portal was announced by Edward Lou, ceo and founder. Launch date is June 26, 2000.
“In creating PlanetHVAC.com, we assembled a management team and advisory board that bring together the best the hvacr industry has to offer and have combined that with substantial Internet expertise to enable e-business for the entire hvacr industry,” said Lou.
“We are a neutral, third-party website serving the hvacr industry and we have the support from contractors, wholesalers, and manufacturers.”
Some of the site’s features include:
- A product database with information that will be upgraded to include new products from leading hvacr manufacturers;
- Proprietary search engine software for users to locate a specific product or search for comparable products from other manufacturers;
- “Storefronts,” offering contractors, wholesalers, and manufacturers the ability to showcase their products; users can post news events, franchise locations, and eventually, technical support;
- The “Discussions” section, a forum for professionals to discuss issues and share knowledge; and
- The “Events” section, which provides a detailed list of upcoming trade shows and conferences.
Future features will include a marketplace for buying and selling hvacr products, online training programs, and online forums with industry experts.
Deep BenchThe website’s “team” has ties to the manufacturing, wholesaling, contracting, and communication industries.
One member of the team as an advisor is Bob Pokelwaldt, former president, ceo, and chairman of York International. “I am impressed with PlanetHVAC.com’s plan to offer an e-commerce platform that will benefit the entire hvacr industry distribution chain from the contractor to the wholesaler to the manufacturer,” he said.
Lou added, “We have a vast amount of experts at the decision-making levels. We have also surveyed 180 contractors to get their input on the website.”
“This is a way for contractors to effectively use their time,” he said. “A contractor’s time is very critical.”
Lou, with a background in the hvacr industry during his stints with Emerson and White-Rodgers, saw the need for bringing together the fragmented industry and felt the Internet was the best way to do it.
“I realized that the Internet was changing everyone’s lives and it became clear to me that the hvacr industry needed an e-business solution,” he said. “I think that right now our industry needs help getting online, and I want to enable industry members to perform their jobs more effectively.”
For now, PlanetHVAC.com is busy sending out press releases and spreading the news about its project via word of mouth. Once website visitors log onto the homepage, they will be able to register at the site free of charge — which should attract a lot of field technicians as well as managers and owners.
“As the world becomes wireless, it will be easy [and common] for a field technician to instantly check on product availability,” said Lou.