Standing among the inventories of rooftop units at the Elk Grove Village warehouse are Trane employees (from left) Amanda Hallock, Ed Fagen, Barbara Riggins, and David Olson.
If you needed it yesterday, you’ll have to settle for a time machine. But if you need it within 48 hours or less, you’ll be happy to know that one major manufacturer is putting a bite into its bark.

The Trane Company recently announced the opening of its Express Delivery Warehouses, designed to bring light commercial equipment to its customers in a timely and efficient manner. And that’s good, because there’s a lot at stake.

“If our equipment is late, it may cost our customers a lot of money,” said Trane’s Ed Fagen, manager of traffic and warehousing. “Our Express Delivery has a 98.7% on-time delivery record — specifically on time, not one hour or two hours late.”

Barbara Riggins, Trane commercial pricing team leader, said the nature of the hvacr business makes it important to have an on-time delivery system. “Seventy percent of the hvacr trade is in service and replacement,” she added. “In order to meet the demands of the service industry, we had to do this.”

The company’s strength in the new construction market is a key element in this new venture, according to Allan Bond, vice president of commercial unitary sales and marketing. “We have always been very successful in new construction but have not done as well in the service market,” he said. “We believe Express Delivery will change that.”

Here are the parameters of the Trane Express Delivery program:

  • Commercial sales offices, distributors, dealers, and contractors will have access to Express Delivery Warehouses.
  • Light commercial equipment ranges from 2 to 25 tons and includes packaged equipment, splits, and accessories.
  • Warehouses are set up in six cities, with access to over 80% of the United States. Locations are Elk Grove Village, IL; Arlington, TX; Norcross, GA; Eddystone, PA; Fresno, CA; and Plant City, FL.
  • Bond added that Express Delivery will operate for its Trane dealers as well as its own commercial contractors. Trane will keep an inventory of roof curbs for installation involving its larger units. The warehouses will not keep an inventory of residential replacement equipment.

    The aisles are wide, clean, and fully stocked for express delivery.

    On Time and In Stock

    While it is important to be able to boast of shipments within 48 hours, Trane reassures its customers that each warehouse will have what they want when they need it. Inventory for the warehouses is reordered daily to ensure adequate stocking levels.

    “We are committed to keeping the warehouses rebalanced and restocked,” added Riggins. “These people look at the inventory every day. That means the inventory is being reordered and replenished every day.”

    Fagen described the relationship between Trane and the local warehouse in Elk Grove Village. “This is a public warehouse which offers an assortment of ancillary services,” he said. “We ask them for a place to store the inventory and accurate records of shipping and receiving.

    “This is a 24/7 service. They have called people in on weekends to fulfill orders. I feel good about the program because of the customer service in the warehouses. These people understand our program and are committed to its success.”

    But in case time is of the utmost importance and a commercial contractor is close enough to pick up their needed products, they can drive right into the warehouse.

    “It’s called ‘will-call,’ and the customer can come in and pick it up themselves,” Fagen said.

    However, the preferred method is shipping within 48 hours, and sometimes within 24 hours.

    The Express Delivery Ware-house system is very new, having been conceptualized in the fall of 2000 and put into motion in April 2001.

    “We’ve done a lot in a short time since last September,” said Riggins. “In a little over a month since becoming operational, we’ve shipped over 1,100 units.”

    And does having express service help attract new business?

    “It gives servicing contractors and our dealers a heads-up advantage over others who can’t offer on-time delivery,” said Riggins.

    “There’s no secret to being successful,” Bond concluded. “We have to have the right product at the right time.”

    Publication date: 06/25/2001