Pannier Steers Trane, American Standard

December 24, 2007
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Dave Pannier

The year 2007 was an interesting one for the people at Trane and American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning. In February, the corporate parent announced a three-way split of its business units, placing its total focus on its global HVAC business. In June, a problem reported in a small percentage of CleanEffects and AccuClean whole-house air cleaner installations led to a voluntary recall.

Dave Pannier, president of Trane and American Standard Residential Systems, guided his company and channel partners through these news-making stories and as a result, has been selected as one of the 2007 newsmakers. Pannier talked with The NEWS about the leadership skills required to successfully navigate big changes, while still innovating new products and programs.



DIVIDE AND CONQUER

In early February, American Standard Co. announced it was spinning off its global vehicle control systems business, selling its bath and kitchen business, and changing the company name to Trane. WABCO, the vehicle control systems company, was spun off as a publicly traded company in July. The bath and kitchen business was sold in October.

“It took a monumental effort to make the split happen,” said Pannier. “The bath and kitchen business sale required us to be very upfront with our American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning distribution network. We wanted to make sure they were aware that American Standard HVAC would remain in our portfolio as a premium brand.”

American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning dealers had some concerns. “We had a lot of discussion with dealers after the announcement and throughout the year,” Pannier said. “The dealers have a lot invested in that and some were nervous. Now they are excited about the future of the brand and what we are doing to build consumer awareness of American Standard HVAC.”

Pannier added, “As we promote the American Standard HVAC brand, the logo will always include American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, so as to clearly identify our position in the marketplace.”

EVEN ONE INCIDENT IS TOO MANY

The voluntary recall of CleanEffects and AccuClean involved a filter replacement to correct a problem of excessive moisture buildup on the filter collection cells.

Although the problem was reported in less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all installations “even one incident is one too many,” said Pannier. “As soon as we knew this was a potential safety issue, we acted.”

The problem occurred when excessive moisture saturated the collection cells, which caused heat from arcing and carbon tracking. Although the collection cell material is flame retardant, it will melt under heat, creating smoke. Trane submitted a written report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on June 22 and the CPSC approved a corrective action plan on July 3. Trane and American Standard covered the dealer’s labor costs for replacement.

“We put a lot of effort into the recall,” said Pannier. “We were very upfront with our distributors, as well as our consumers. We shared all of the news we had. We had 18 months of production that had been installed and now we had to figure out how to produce the components and make the replacements.

“While it took longer than anyone would have liked, we worked our way through this recall in record time,” Pannier continued. “Our operations people did a tremendous job of responding, gearing up their production of the replacement cells. We appreciate the efforts of our suppliers and our channel partners. This was really an example of a team effort. Going forward, look for that same team effort as we aggressively grow the clean air market to benefit our Trane and American Standard Air Conditioning dealers.”

- John R. Hall

The Facts:

Name: Dave Pannier

Title: President

Company: Trane and American Standard Residential Systems

Location: Tyler, Texas

Notable Quote: “…we [will] aggressively grow the clean air market to benefit our Trane and American Standard Air Conditioning dealers.”

Publication date: 12/24/2007

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