Heatcraft Australia vice president and general manager, Damian Mackey, talks exclusively to CCN about the wholesaler's plans for 2019.
Heatcraft was at the centre of one of the biggest local news stories for 2018 – namely the Beijer Ref acquisition of Heatcraft Australia in March this year.
Despite all the headlines, Mackey said its largely been business as usual.
“We see good alignment between both businesses and are excited about the future,” he said.
“Our focus across 2018 and into 2019 remains with our customers – to deliver the best customer service through our wholesale network, supported by a best in equipment offer.
“We are pleased to say we have continued the expansion of our wholesale network with branch openings across metro and regional areas.”
Throughout 2018 Heatcraft opened four standalone stores in Penrith, Emerald, Wagga Wagga and most recently, the Sunshine West supersized store in Victoria.
“We look forward to the growth that these stores will generate and will continue to expand the network through 2019,” Mackey said.
“People remain a core focus for our business and we continue to build on our culture of development.
“In 2018 we leveraged external supply partners, a training partner and our own internal expertise to deliver sales excellence, front-line leadership and product training to over 150 of our employees,” he said.
“For our customers we are currently running various CO2 Systems training courses across NSW and Victoria which have been well received.”
Mackey said feedback has been excellent and every session has been filled to capacity.
He said Heatcraft will continue to deliver these training courses across other states in 2019.
“We know the customer experience is more than people so we are equally focussing on refining our stock levels and building strategic supply partnerships to ensure we get the stock component of the business right,” Mackey said.
From a refrigerant perspective, Mackey said the wholesaler has continued to stay ahead of the game and lead change in the industry through the introduction of lower GWP refrigerants and alternative system technologies.
“We must take every opportunity support our customers through the HFC phasedown and in the last 12 months we have seen a growing demand for components for alternative refrigerants and increased awareness of the Global Warming Potential of refrigerants such as R404A,” he said.
“The discussions that we are having with customers regarding refrigerant choice for the future is refreshing.
“Whilst it is early days in the phasedown, we can already see that contractors are leading with solutions that consider the total cost of ownership ensuring they are uniquely positioned to succeed through the phasedown.”
Mackey said in recent months Heatcraft has been actively supporting customers with sales and field trials of R448A and R450A.
“The feedback on performance and application has been positive,” he said.
“These refrigerants provide interim alternatives for common refrigerant types R404A and R134a respectively.
“Whilst these refrigerants have a higher GWP than completely natural solutions end users understand that they will still provide better price and availability protection in the latter part of the phasedown schedule.”
Although Heatcraft has been involved the natural refrigerant market since 2009, Mackey said there has been limited take-up of the technology in the broader market but he believes the HFC phasedown will help accelerate awareness and increase demand.
“As a wholesaler with a strong CO2 product portfolio and presence in the market we have a team and complementary product range to support the use of alternative refrigerants,” he said. “Our product range continues to evolve supporting the uptake of lower GWP refrigerant alternatives and in recent months Heatcraft has added a number of products to the wholesale range such as high pressure copper, fittings and leak detection products and smaller format CO2 refrigeration systems suited to food service, small cold storage and convenience applications.”
Heatcraft CO2 Systems training is specifically targeted at people wanting to gain a greater understanding of CO2 Refrigeration System technology from a commercial and technical perspective.
The training encompasses CO2 Safety and Handling, Applications and Systems, System Design / Benefits, Calculation & Selection, Control Logic and Installation Tips and Techniques.
Transcritical and subcritical system design is covered with specific focus on subcritical CO2 systems and how these technologies can benefit end users, including payback and information on how to sell CO2 technologies.
The feedback has been positive with all technicians engaged in the learnings and leaving with a better understanding of how to take the next steps in providing CO2 systems solutions.
To date, four sessions have been conducted in NSW and one in Victoria. With all sessions fully booked, the Heatcraft team will be rolling out more sessions across other states throughout 2019.
To register your interest, email firstname.lastname@example.org.