Working with Contractors to Be Leaders in the Industry


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The HVAC industry has a long list of manufacturers, but some companies, such as Lennox, are seen as the all-around package of innovators in technology, customer service, and satisfaction, and as a partner to contractors to take the HVAC industry to the next levels of professionalism and success. ACCA Now, spent some time chatting with Elliott Zimmer, Executive Vice President, President, and COO of North America Commercial Heating & Cooling at Lennox to find out how they are working with contractors to push the bar higher for the industry. 

Lennox has been in business for 125 years, that is a long legacy of providing comfort, care, and safety for many industries. Tell us how you are using that expertise to be leading innovators for the next 125 years? 

To succeed in any industry for 125 years takes a commitment to innovation, focus, and most importantly an understanding of how to deliver value to customers. Lennox has always been at the forefront of embracing technology to drive innovation and this remains a top priority. As a leading manufacturer and distributor of HVAC solutions, Lennox focuses on consistently delivering innovative products and digital tools that enable contractors to succeed.  Our direct relationship with dealers and contractors provides us with a clear understanding of what these businesses need which we use to drive our development plans.  As technology advances, we are focused on applying it in a way that provides the most comprehensive and intuitive HVAC solutions for our customers and end users. 

2020 has been a unique year, tell us how your company has overcome the challenges it has faced. 

This year has been unlike anything we have seen and has obviously presented several challenges that our team had to overcome. Critical to our success was our quick implementation of safety protocols in our buildings and factories. We deployed these protocols early, which kept our employees safe and enabled our operations to keep runningThen we faced significant challenges with supplier part shortages resulting from COVID-19. Our teams met this challenge head on working with suppliers and ultimately producing the products that our customers needed to effectively run their business this summer. Our operations leadership team stepped up in 2020 and demonstrated their commitment to serving our customers.   

What challenges do you see coming down the pike for the HVACR industry and how are you helping contractors prepare for those challenges? 

Two regulations are scheduled for 2023 that will require significant changes to all HVAC manufacturer product lineups. The first is a 2023 efficiency regulation that will increase the minimum efficiency for HVAC products. This efficiency increase will likely mean broader adoption of variable speed technology, which will create a new learning curve for contractors.   

The second is upcoming alternate refrigerant regulations, which requires all manufacturers to phase out of R-410A. The timing and implementation of this transition is still unclear at this pointwhich creates uncertainty for manufacturers and distributors. This uncertainty could cause a major disruption for contractors and Lennox is working overtime to make sure that we have the right product lineup, training, and support so that the transition is as smooth as possible for our partners. 

How are you helping contractors be successful in their businesses? 

We constantly focus on driving value to contractors by providing the right products, tools, and support that they need to be successful. Our direct relationship with our contractor partners provides us with the ability to get direct feedback so that we can move quickly to address their needs. Wconsistently invest to have the best light commercial product lineup in North America and are excited for what is coming over the next few years. We completely revamped our training capabilities to help our contractors better understand our products and best practices for their operations to help them operate their business efficiently. The Lennox Alliance program is also a great opportunity to gain direct access to Lennox where we provide a variety of programs specifically designed to help contractors win in their market. 

Do you have any programs that help contractors participate in ACCA as members?  

Our priority is to help contractors succeed and so we are excited to partner with ACCA because their goals lineup very well with our own. We are currently working with ACCA leadership on ways we can leverage the great work that both organizations do for contractors so that our customers benefit mostWe look forward to driving new Commercial HVAC programs soon that help our partners take advantage of the great support tools and initiatives that ACCA delivers year-round. 

Why is partnering with ACCA important to your company? 

Simply put, Lennox and ACCA are completely aligned that our job is to enable contractor successIt is an exciting partnership, because we bring complementary strengths that ultimately benefit contractors and we fight together for issues that matter for contractor businesses (e.g. HVAC as an essential industry in 2020). We look forward to continuing to develop programs, tools, and support systems with ACCA that enable contractor success.


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