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Air Time with Scott Berger, Commercial HVAC

Getting the Best HVAC Service Means Understanding the Value Chain

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Airtime with Scott Berger

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, especially as part of a major construction project, it can be tricky to tell BEFORE you buy if you’ll get the best HVAC service you want and need. Here’s a way to judge a company’s reliability and commitment to customer service that you may not have considered: find out if they’re linked to the value chain.

Are you familiar with the notion of the value chain? It’s a business concept that describes the range of activities undertaken by companies and workers throughout the process of bringing a product or service to market and beyond. These activities range from design and development to sale, implementation, and support. When each contributor works hand in hand with other contributors to the “chain” of events, they add more value to the end product (and ultimately the customer) than unrelated entities working independently.

How the value chain provides the best HVAC service and sales

When you sit in your office and enjoy the comfort of cool air on a hot summer’s day, you probably don’t give much thought to all the steps and the various companies and people involved in making that happen. It takes much more than a village to build a comfortable and productive environment for doing business. These are just a few of the players involved with your HVAC system:

  • A global equipment manufacturer designs and builds your air conditioning unit.
  • A local distributor sells and delivers the unit to the installer.
  • A general contractor (GC) coordinates the process of building your space, including the HVAC systems and other systems that support them.
  • Various subcontractors install the systems that your HVAC equipment needs to function, including sheet metal workers, plumbers, electricians, pipe fitters, and controls technicians.
  • An installer (which could be a GC, mechanical contractor, or HVAC contractor) plans and executes the installation of your unit, obtaining the necessary parts from distributors.
  • An HVAC service company continues to maintain and repair the unit post-installation.

That’s a lot of fingers in the pie! When all these people communicate effectively and work together as a team, as a value chain, then you as a customer get the best HVAC service experience and gain more value from your purchase.

A value chain makes construction faster and less expensive

Throughout the process of constructing a building or doing a renovation, coordination between the various trades is critically important. Each depends on the others and the sequence of events is important to the timing and completion of the job. The nature of the construction environment can often be confrontational due to the different challenges, pressures, and deadlines faced by carpenters, electricians, plumbers, HVAC and others to get their part done. In New York City, the trades all know one another and everyone is aware of how various providers work and support each other… or not.

GCs and engineers build a value chain by using the best HVAC service subcontractors time and time again. The ones they choose not only do a good job, but they are reliable. Communication is clear, there is a level of trust, and everyone knows what to expect. When all the parties in the value chain are accustomed to working together as a team, that animosity is removed from the picture, along with the resulting delays and cost increases.

Cutting costs by choosing the value chain

You may be thinking, it sounds nice for the workers, but what’s in it for me? Think about it this way: how much will it cost you if you’re building a restaurant or store and can’t open on time?

Here’s a fairly typical scenario. When the construction team coordinates properly up front, the work can be scheduled to meet the deadline. If necessary, some work can be done at night or on weekends, for example. If you go with the lowest bidder for each trade without proper vetting, you’ll likely end up with people who don’t know how to work together and the planning won’t happen. When it’s every man for himself, you will likely experience delays and cost overruns.

In the end, the true cost will be less when working through the value chain of relationships. You’ll get the systems that are right for your needs, and they will be installed on time and within budget. You’ll experience a smooth transition to post-installation support and get the best HVAC service when it comes time to maintain your equipment, because your provider was involved in the planning and decisions from the get-go.

How you can seek out providers who are team players

The next time you take on a construction project or capital equipment purchase, seek out the links in the value chain that make everything run smoothly and reliably. When it comes to choosing the best HVAC service supplier, look for the company that’s a respected team player in the industry:

  • Check out their connections: ask for references from GCs, architects or fellow tradesmen as well as customers.
  • Find out if they have close working relationships with equipment manufacturers. If they do, it can make all the difference for you if you need work done under warranty. You’ll also benefit from their inside knowledge about up and coming new technology that may be right for your needs.
  • Listen carefully to the way they represent how they work. Do you hear words like “teamwork” and “coordination” and “cooperation” when they talk about past jobs they’ve done? If so, you’ll know that these are core company values that employees have internalized and live by every day.

Here at Arista, contributing to the value chain on every job is an integral part of our belief system. If you have questions about how you can get the most for your money by taking advantage of the value chain, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.