Roughly 100% of HVAC replacement coil shipments use some kind of trucking company or common carrier. There are occasions when the shipment is small enough to use UPS or FedEx, but the vast majority of HVAC shipments are sent by way of truck. Anyone who has frequently used freight companies has experienced damaged shipments and/or late arrivals. In our industry, these annoyances and inconveniences are typically written off as “the cost of doing business”. Think of the airline industry as an example. Our expectations have been reduced to point where we expect something to go wrong and are pleasantly surprised when the trip is smooth from start to finish.
Many folks might not know this, but the trucking industry in general is experiencing a gross shortage of drivers throughout the country. Some estimates have put this shortage of drivers as high as 50,000 throughout the country.
So what does this shortage mean for the HVAC industry? Put simply, it translates into complications and confusion for all involved.
- Longer delivery times. For example, a delivery that used to take (3) days is now (5).
- One major reason for the longer delivery times is that trucks now have many more stops than in years past. There are also many instances of more trips through connecting terminals as well.
- More time on the truck usually equates to both “visible” and “hidden” freight damage.
- The shipments become harder to track, and with fewer people at the trucking companies doing more work, shipments can and will get lost entirely.
Because the freight process is at the very end of the buying cycle, Capital Coil & Air has developed some simple strategies for the entire buying process that should help in avoiding many of the annoyances listed above. We’ve also added a very useful “hint” to counter longer freight delivery times.
- Getting a price, delivery & accurate proposal from your vendor: Capital Coil responds to every quote request quicker than any of our competitors, and we are always willing to put that claim to the test. A (2) day delay in receiving your quote is the same as a (2) day freight delay on the back end.
- Receiving your submittal drawings in a timely fashion: You need to approve these drawings, so once again, how is a (2) day delay in receiving approval drawings any different than receiving your order (2) days late?
- Quick-Ships: As you’ve probably experienced numerous times in the past and/or present, other coil manufacturers seem to be consistently shutting down their quick-ship programs with little to zero notice for the customer. Why is this? Many manufacturers take on a glut of OEM business, or other large projects with small profit margins. In many cases they do this simply to keep the factory running during the slower periods of the year. This has the effect of delaying standard lead times, and in many cases, cancelling quick-ships altogether. It is very hard to do business with companies that make themselves unavailable when you need them the most.
Capital Coil NEVER shuts down our quick-ship programs, and we emphasize NEVER! Over the last (2) years, CCA has hit approximately 99% of all quick-ship orders.
- Crating equipment to minimize freight damage.
- Shipping on time: Simply put, we consistently ship when we say we’re going to ship.
- Select a freight carrier that delivers to your area without interlining or stopping at several terminals: This is when freight damage is most likely to occur!
- Pay the carrier fee for a guaranteed delivery date: Although seemingly not well-known, most carriers offer a guaranteed delivery date for a fee of $50-$100. Paying the fee will ensure that your order is now a “priority”, and most freight companies schedule deliveries based on these “priorities” first. If both your order and delivery are critical and time-sensitive, Capital Coil can help you with exploring these delivery options.
Capital Coil & Air will work with you throughout the entire buying and shipping process because you as the customer, deserve to work with a hands on manufacturer that will not turn its back on you once the order has been placed. Please give Capital Coil a try on your next project!
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Over the last few months, developments within the coil industry have created more questions than they have answered. As you know, all industries can experience periods of upheaval, volatility, and wholesale changes in leadership at one time or another. As you may have recently experienced, the coil industry is not immune to volatility or changes in ownership either. And, when these changes occur, they tend to destabilize the market -place more often than not. When a company is purchased, a number of things can and usually do occur:
- Employees of the old company are moved around and/or often let go entirely. What does that mean for your business? Your usual sales/service contacts are no longer there, continuity is disrupted, and the overall ease of doing business is much harder to attain.
- The loyalty that you had with the old company, is in many cases, no longer present. Loyalty and trust in business are gained and won over time. You do business with who you like and trust, and you simply can’t operate with the same level of comfort when you’re dealing with an unknown entity.
- Normal business operations, such as Quick-Ship programs, are disrupted and/or shutdown in response to changes in leadership. Existing factories are too small to handle even marginal increases in business, which can also lead to delays. CCA recognizes that success in the replacement market is contingent on speed and predictability, and we will not sacrifice either, under any circumstances.
- Larger companies buy smaller companies for agendas that in many cases, do not coincide with your’s. Sometimes it is to service their own OEM requirements, while in other instances, one company purchases another for their customer base. Whatever the reason, it is solely in their best interest, and not to facilitate what is good for YOUR business.
- New technologies and innovation can also be motivating factors. Company X needs the technology of Company Y, and they won’t think twice about acquiring Company Y, and moving plants and equipment to alternative locations.
The big thing to take away from any major changes to ownership is that it is their money, their company, and they can do what they want (and will). When reviewing new owners, please take into consideration their background. Do they have actual industry experience, or are they just looking to make a “value investment” for their shareholders? Wouldn’t you rather deal with a company that is privately owned with more than a decade of industry knowledge and experience? If your coil supplier sells to anybody and everybody, you have zero protection on any job and are essentially spinning your wheels. This “wild west” business model will affect you, regardless if you’re an OEM, a contractor, a wholesaler, or a manufacturing rep. You develop long term relationships with suppliers in the hope that you will get preferential pricing and special help when needed, as well as their loyalty and assistance if something goes wrong on the job. The coil business is not one big “auction”. It’s an engineered product, where engineering knowledge and market savvy come together. Major changes in ownership usually create uncertainty and destabilization; neither of which is beneficial to the overall health of the industry.
When you call Capital Coil & Air, the same people that you’re dealing with now will be the very same people that you’ll be talking to and dealing with 10-20 years from now. Like any business, we need customers, but we are far more interested in long-term relationships than one-off transactions. We offer the best protection in the industry, as well as competitive and balanced pricing on every job. We will stand behind you if there is a problem during any stage of your buying process and beyond. Give us an opportunity to earn your business, and you’ll see a dramatic departure from what you’re typically used to when it comes to dealing with manufacturers.
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