The meeting was supported by American Standard and consisted of two days of classroom breakout sessions in addition to keynote presentations by executives from both American Standard and the two ACES A/C Supply distributors. Groups of dealers made their way through five sessions including: outdoor products, indoor products (air handlers, furnaces, and coils), residential package units and light commercial, retail financing and marketing, and indoor air quality (IAQ) and e-Training.
The meeting began with Dave Pannier, American Standard president, as he introduced the dealers to the meeting's theme, A Brand New Day. Pannier described a vision that took everyone past the hectic pace of change all are currently experiencing with the arrival of 13 SEER baseline energy-efficiency standards. Pannier fast-forwarded the group to the year 2016, with suggestions of how the manufacturer, ACES A/C Supply, and American Standard dealers might look at that juncture in the industry's history.
"It all adds up if we do the right things; if we make the right decisions, and if we take the right actions. The window for making those decisions and taking those actions . . . the window for getting to the American Standard of 2016 isn't 10 years from now. That window is within the next six months," said Pannier.
Jamie Byrne, American Standard vice president of sales, spoke to the audience about the new efficiency standard that went into effect Jan. 23, 2006, which he said will change many of the old rules of the game.
"It will change the rules that say efficiency and energy savings are the best reason to select a brand or trade up to a better system. This will mean American Standard and our dealers will need to focus more than ever on the homeowners' comfort rather than energy savings as the main selling proposition," said Byrne.
"Promoting and selling matched systems will be more important than ever. Therefore, we must help you to develop your skills to sell like retailers by using a consistent in-home selling process.
"To become better, we must think of selling home comfort as a process. American Standard will provide our dealers with in-home selling tools, to influence consumers that American Standard has the best solutions for a comfortable and clean home. This will be our key to success in the Brand New Day."
PRODUCT INTRODUCTIONSAmerican Standard's AccuCleanâ„¢ whole-house clean air technology was introduced to the attending dealers during the meeting. The AccuClean brand is only available to American Standard dealers. The company touted the product as the best residential air-cleaning product available on the market.
After the presentation Keith Moore, president of Ruston Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. of Ruston, La., said, "It's an amazing product. I feel that we can market this to our existing customers and to new installation customers."
The AccuClean product removes 99.98 percent of allergens from air that the system heats or cools, making it more effective than even the best HEPA filter and 100 times more effective than a standard 1-inch filter, according to an American Standard spokesperson. Tests at the Harvard School of Public Health have verified the high performance of the new filters. "AccuClean will give American Standard dealers a huge advantage over their competition in the very important clean air market segment," said Byrne.
Jeff Minter, president of Minter & Sons Heating and Air Conditioning, of Edmond, Okla. said, "As SEER ratings increase, our competitors are forced to sell the way we have already grown accustomed to selling. We will be able to further differentiate ourselves by integrating the availability of IAQ products into our sales calls in order to provide the most innovative, highest quality products available on the market. "Byrne projected that American Standard dealers will have the opportunity to rewrite the rules of the game, clearly in their favor.
"They will sell the best equipment, as rated by a leading consumer publication, and deliver the benefits that their customers want. By focusing on the in-home selling process and offering AccuClean, the best residential air cleaning solution, they will certainly stand out from the rest of the pack."
"Everyone is going to be able to sell high-efficiency products," said Moore. "That is no longer going to be the big difference in the market. The focus we have seen at this meeting, indoor air quality, is going to drive our businesses in the future."
However, all agreed with Byrne's summation. "In the end, it all comes down to consistent execution and that is where American Standard dealers are head and shoulders above the industry. 2006 is going to be a breakthrough year for American Standard and its dealers."
MEETING HIGHLIGHTSAlso at this meeting, Wayne Shearer and Bill Davenport, founders and owners of ACES, were recognized by a standing ovation as each received a portrait of the two men which will reside in each of the company's headquarter offices.
Byrne took a few minutes to recognize the hard work of Michelle Rodriguez, ACES A/C Supply North, and David Collins, ACES A/C Supply for orchestrating the extravaganza. Some attendees were quite impressed as well. "The dealer meeting was awesome!" said Minter.
"New products and new designs are here and more are coming. The ACES Supply North Distributor has great dealer support. With training on sales, service, installation, and new products: dealer co-op, trips, financing options, and many other benefits, ACES North has been a true team player in this market.
"In addition, working with American Standard, the definite leader in the industry, is very rewarding. Their commitment to new, innovative, high-quality products has helped solidify our position as a market leader in the areas of IAQ as well as highly efficient and reliable equipment," concluded Minter. If Jeff Minter's enthusiasm is any indication, American Standard may in fact get to that Brand New Day a lot sooner than the year 2016.
Sidebar: Product RolloutsDuring the recent two ACES A/C Supply distributor meetings, the audience heard that American Standard was ready for the 13 SEER transition and has one of the industry's most complete product line ups with products from 13 to 18.9 SEER. Company spokesperson, Joyce Warrington said, "American Standard provides total comfort solutions for the home. As we enter an era of new industry efficiency standards, our dealers will have three great options that meet the competition head-on in the 13 SEER arena.
"American Standard's Allegiance and Heritage 18 products are the ultimate comfort systems. By offering two-stage heating and cooling systems, we have taken the industry by storm, and given the consumer a reason to invest in comfort like never before. Whether it's the Allegiance and Heritage 16 [SEER] family of products, or the flagship 18 [SEER] family, with SEER ratings to 18.9, contractors will find no other manufacturer who can satisfy their comfort needs like we can," said Warrington.
David Pannier, president of American Standard said, "The future of residential heating and air conditioning technology is coming in 2006, with the introduction of the new communicating Comfortlink II Systems from American Standard."
Pannier also announced the introduction of two new products. The new American Standard variable-speed, 3-stage Freedom 90 furnace, is a heating system that has the ability to modulate capacity from 45 percent to 65 percent during mild heating days, and shift into full capacity during the coldest days of the year. With communicating 2-3 wire connections, this Freedom 90 not only is self-diagnostic, but self-configuring, as well.
Second, the new American Standard packaged units provide customers with new features including refrigerant choice, single- and three-phase, and an easy installation and service experience. According to Pannier, "It's the quietest product on the market and the most rugged with spine fin, Duration compressors, and a Vortica blower housing in every model. Best of all, it looks so good it will improve the appearance of every job."
Publication date: 02/27/2006