Pre-Covid lead-times for applied HVAC equipment used to be easy. 6 to 8 weeks for some rooftops, a few weeks longer for AHUs and complex fan systems. COVID and supply chain craziness wrecked all that reliable supply. Now, a large HVAC supplier has lead times on products that look like elephant gestation periods! (18 months, google it)
Our Yaskawa line of drives has improving delivery dates, but still out from what they used to be, the reason? Tiny components! Chip makers have been catching up on demand that frankly caught them by surprise.
We recently helped a chocolate factory with a drive problem, and sourcing a drive was trickier than usual, but we solved the problem. Thanks Yaskawa!
I hear from our suppliers in general that supply chain problems are getting better, and a year from now we won’t be talking about lead time problems. Until then plan ahead and expect the unexpected!
The KISS method is one of my favorite acronyms, keep it simple stupid. It is not about insulting a contractor about their knowledge, it’s about making things easy. Decades ago the PENN electric switch company, bought by Johnson Controls in the 1980s, made a line voltage thermostat that required no outside power to operate. No internet of things, no calibration or BSME required to operate it.
We needed an thermostat to operate a Loren Cook Gemini exhaust fan to remove hot air in a lobby where we installed a condensing unit. The VRF unit is inside for demonstration purposes and when the training room need a lot of cooling we need to exhaust the heat outside. The Penn thermostat simply turns on the fan when the room gets above 78F. Simple 120V one wire current interruption when room temp is OK, engages when the room gets hot. So simple!
“You can’t sell from an empty wagon”, said Bob Nichols, the owner of Allied Refrigeration in Long Beach, CA told me when I was a young sales engineer at Johnson Controls. It was 1989 and I was blown away with this distributor’s high value, high service model. Bob passed in 2012, but his words stuck with me.
Thirty years later, as I get to make decisions with our leadership team about how to service customers, it is clear to me that being a hybrid manufactures rep and commercial HVAC distributor works. We increased our on-hand inventory over $1M as supply chain disruptions ran up the lead-times for products. It turned out to be a great idea to buffer longer lead-times with real on-hand products. We are selling more of nearly all of our products because we actually have it.