HVAC Industry’s Journey towards a Smarter Future

Collaboration. Optimisation. Mobilisation.

Digital transformation is a hot potato in every sector. It has made business operations flexible, responsive and connected. HVAC is not an exception. The HVAC industry is leading towards digital-led innovation to do more meaningful business. The digitally-enabled systems lead the business to achieve the goals of employee productivity, customer satisfaction and higher revenues.

According to the updates to the Worldwide Semiannual Digital Transformation Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), DX (hardware, software, and services) spending over the 2016-2021 forecast period will be at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.9%. In 2021, DX spending will nearly double to more than $2.1 trillion. The majority of DX spending ($662 billion) is to support new or expanded operating models by leveraging digitally-connected products/services, assets, people, and trading partners.

HVAC digitalisation impacts the manufacturers, contractors, facility managers, operational teams and customers. To keep up with the newer developments in technology, it is obligatory for the companies to re-route their business processes to the digital path. Let us explore a few ways for a smarter HVAC future-

1. Enabling Higher Productivity without Paper

Reducing or eliminating the use of paper is not only eco-friendly but also in sync with tech. The technicians carrying out various repairs and maintenance tasks must have access to comprehensive and updated data. It is possible to achieve smart working with dedicated mobile applications. The benefits of shifting from paper to smartphones include higher productivity, instant communication and real-time monitoring.

The technicians going out in the field to service or fix the HVAC equipment, wherever it is located, need to have all the records and checklists on their fingertips. It will help them to complete more jobs in a day. They must spend more time doing the actual work than administrative tasks. Better communication with the back-office will give the later a clear picture of the task schedule and task execution. Digitalisation will enhance productivity and make the entire HVAC system smarter and leaner.

2. Leveraging Data for Decisions

Data is universal. A business cannot run without collecting the data. But, now the scope of data is not limited to giving information. It is also the source of actionable insights. Smart HVAC business involves data related to machines, procedures, instructions, customer details, servicing history, and the inventory of spare parts. Managing all these records within the cloud can be a game changer.

Organising the silos of data together means mining them to extract business insights. Companies or contractors can use customised and detailed reports to understand the loopholes in the business. It can also be useful to study and make decisions about various situations climate change, air quality, customer complaints, machine upgrades, system failures, etc. With the advent of IoT, sensors and BigData for Building Automation Systems, it has become more than necessary to leverage data and strive for higher efficiency.

3. Predictive over Corrective Maintenance

A business must focus on predictive maintenance than corrective maintenance. The reason is quite obvious. Corrective maintenance is when the damage has already occurred. It has already caused loss of time, money and resources. It needs urgent attention and a solution. On the other side, predictive maintenance is beneficial. It involves servicing the equipment before time by considering its usage, history and other parameters. It means there’s no failure or downtime. The technicians need not rush to solve the issues on a shoestring. Customers do not suffer.

Consider digitalizing the smart HVAC workflows. It will aid in analysing their systems and taking decisions for servicing them before any damage. It saves the technicians from the last-minute rush and also increases asset lifetime. Sometimes, corrective maintenance actions are unavoidable. But, on a general note, the aim should be fewer failures. Servicing timely is better than fixing a wrecked one.

4. Effective Utilisation of Resources and Inventory Management

HVAC industry experiences seasonal variations. It may need to scale their resources to meet the needs of their customers. The smart solution to address these fluctuations is using automation. Optimise the schedules and assign the right tasks to the right technicians at the right time. Dispatching the jobs to the technicians is made easier with the advanced solutions. For example, auto-routing gives the best possible route for daily jobs reducing the time in traffic.

The technicians can see what repair parts they need and match with the inventory on their mobile app. This reduces repeated visits. It is also necessary to keep a check on the stock – neither more than required nor less than needed. Maintaining stock records in a centralised and secure manner can save a business from extra expenses. Also, it will prevent the loss of misplaced parts with digitally-smart HVAC systems in places.

5. Cost-effective and Delightful Customer Service

HVAC companies follow a regular routine to invest in the best available equipment. To manufacture smarter and efficient appliances, it is unavoidable to innovate and invest. This increases overall expenditure. But, it is also necessary to keep a check on costs and balance it with the profits and competition. Using digital systems will ensure operational performance. Automation will rule out non-productive tasks.

The key here is building a loyal community of your customers with flawless service. Choose to deliver great customer support with the use of social media, real-time updates, self-help apps and omnichannel helpdesk. Know your customers, their needs and their appliances. It also increases the opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling. Communicate your product updates, service reminders, take their feedback and keep them informed. Sales and support can be largely improved with digital systems.

Plan, Proceed, Progress!

The real success is when you understand every aspect of your business and then plan the digital journey. Set a clear objective and proceed towards making it real. Since it will have a direct impact on your employees and processes, be careful. Do the proper analysis and take necessary steps. It can begin with a small conversion and may go on to the entire shift. HVAC business involves multiple parties. Consider them all and strive for progress in all directions.

Good luck!