Why collaboration between installers and manufacturers is vital for the industry

Alice Woolley – UK Marketing Director at Vaillant Group – explains how, by working with manufacturers, installers can not only ensure they continue to adhere to regulations and convey a professional image, they can also open up further windows of opportunity for their businesses and enjoy added benefits.
Collaboration between installers and manufacturers has always played a vital role in helping to ensure a safe and productive industry for all. However, as new technologies are introduced to market and safety standards become more important than ever, it is vital that installers and manufacturers continue to join forces.
Everyone wants a safe, professional and prosperous heating industry, one in which both installers and manufacturers can benefit commercially through common ground and shared interests.
Though two separate entities, both are ultimately two sides of the same coin – with each needing the other in order to make the most of the market opportunities that exist, as well as satisfying the compliance and regulatory operating framework set down by the authorities.
Safety first
With safety of paramount importance on any heating installation project, working together to ensure total adherence to the standards set by the Gas Safe Register is in everyone’s interest and maintains vital public trust that we together deliver a safe industry. With 120,000 registered Gas Safe engineer members, we already have a highly-compliant and controlled industry and it should be maintained as such.
Many manufacturers are committed to offering their support to installers to help make it even easier for them to meet safety standards. For example, Vaillant’s Advance installer programme enables installers to manage their product registration for customer warranties and Gas Safe notifications and allows them to complete the boiler Benchmark online or, using the Advance app, allowing them to stay on top of important paperwork.
Commercial success
Partnering with manufacturers also extends into other important business-building areas that can help guarantee commercial success for all. Installers who choose to closely and strategically align themselves with manufacturers will see many tangible advantages.
A primary example is the Vaillant Advance loyalty scheme created to reward installers via a range of benefits. Whether it’s cash-back, credits, free extended warranties, access to branded workwear, marketing support or use of the Advance app which allows installers to submit relevant project paperwork on the move, it is clear that such two-way initiatives can help build an enhanced professional image for tradesmen, strengthen their reputation locally and, with it, drive business opportunity.
Sharing insight
The sharing of knowledge, opinion and insight is also essential to the future of the industry. Installers are at the sharp end of the sector – they meet customers and offer specification solutions that are designed to match and exceed clients’ expectations.
Vaillant values the input it regularly receives from installers, and this feedback frequently shapes the products and services it brings to market. Our industry-leading research and development programmes, next-generation product innovation and in-depth installer training initiatives are all founded on our desire to make the life of the installer easier. An example of this approach is our new ecoFIT Pure, which offers our first rear flue, cupboard-fit solution and was developed in response to installer feedback.
Think about the future today
Likewise in an industry that never sits still, keeping abreast of the latest innovations and emerging technologies has to be a prerequisite for success. By working with manufacturers to stay ahead of technology, installers can best position themselves to up-sell to customers.
For example, 2017 will see the introduction of new controls which are able to work with voice recognition software, enabling consumers to adjust their heating simply by speaking to other existing technology within the home.
These advances don’t just serve the specification process and user convenience. Many new products have been designed with the homeowner/installer relationship in mind. Smart controls will streamline the boiler servicing process by providing homeowner alerts and service reminders to minimise paperwork and secure repeat business for installers, while providing customers with peace of mind that their complete system will be taken care of.
It is important then that installers always keep abreast of new technology and take advantage of any training sessions offered by manufacturers if they are to stay ahead of the game.
Working together will always sit at the heart of our industry. If installers benefit from the training, support and product information that manufacturers readily make available, it can only lead to a stronger proposition for their customers, more demand for their services and improved commercial success. By continuing to forge stronger and closer ties between heating manufacturers and installers, we can help to ensure a vibrant, exciting and profitable future for all.
What installers think
Ian Briggs of IRB Heating: “Working with manufacturers is really important to my business. The free training that many, such as Vaillant, offer – as well as the technical support – helps me to keep my skills sharp and ensure that I have all the relevant knowledge on the latest products to provide the right specification for a customer every time.”
Ryan Mills of GD Mills Heating and Plumbing: “Working alongside manufacturers helps me to advance my business in many ways. Manufacturer apps with features such as paperless registration and Benchmark, like the Vaillant Advance App, really help me to save time on the job, while ensuring I complete all the relevant paperwork that can be immediately with my customer.”