European installers mainly interested in services that save time and hassle
Things are looking up in the installation sector in Europe as the pressure of the pandemic is lifting. The positive turnover balance and order book development of HVAC installers from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK, the six countries we constantly research for the European Mechanical Installation Monitor, is clear and positive evidence of that.
As the pandemic becomes less of an issue and installers are busy as ever before, other issues in the plumbing and HVAC installation sector return to the stage, such as an increasing complexity of products and systems, and looming or actual quantitative and qualitative labour shortages. These trends affect the problems installers face in their day-to-day business, problems they could use some help with in the form of services from wholesalers or manufacturers.
As such, the service needs of installers are good indicators of what trends are on their mind. That is one of the reasons why services in the construction and installation markets are a recurrent theme in USP Marketing Consultancy’s monitors. It is the actual focus of the Q2 2021 report of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor, in which installers’ top service needs indeed seem to be tied to the trends of complexity of systems and labour shortages, and show opportunities for manufacturers and wholesalers to help their clients out.
Manufacturers’ services to save time and hassle on site
Growing turnover, increasing complexity of installations and labour shortages are all increasing the pressure on installers. The growing amount of projects means installers’ schedules are full. Meanwhile, more complex systems need time to get familiar with and increase the risk of problems during on-site installation which take up even more time. When pressure gets too high, extra hands are needed, but those are hard to find due to labour shortages, which means time, or actually saving time, is of the essence.
Of course, installers embrace growing turnover, but the above image shows that installers need services that help with the complexity of systems and save time. In all countries, the service most in demand is engineering support from the manufacturer. This is a clear effect of the increasing complexity of systems, a trend also visible in the need for real-time installation support in Poland and the UK. In the end, such services save time, either by preventing hassle through solid technical design and planning, or by quickly solving on-site problems.
Services for off-site efficiency
Off-site, the above top-3 of service needs of HVAC installers betrays another every-day and time-consuming problem. There is nothing as annoying as lacking a certain part or material to complete the installation, quickly going to a nearby wholesaler and finding the shelve empty. Installers would like to save on the time it takes to acquire the right products, parts and materials, which is shown by the demand for tools or apps for checking product availability at wholesalers in all six countries, as well as the interest in self-service portals or apps for easy ordering.
This betrays installers’ wish to save time by increasing the efficiency of procuring installation products, but also shows an effect of the pandemic. One reason why empty shelves and long waits for orders to come in became a bigger issue are the shortages in materials and certain parts due to COVID restrictions and lockdowns around the world. Regardless of the influence of the pandemic though, saving time by efficient and trustworthy supply lines is and will continue to be essential for the busy installers.
Offering the right services is lucrative
The above clearly shows some opportunities for manufacturers and wholesalers of installation products to gain customer loyalty and increase brand value by providing installers with the right services. At the moment, as is clear in the top-3, services that save time and make installations a bit easier seem to be accomplishing that.
Having said that, the above only shows the top-3 of the 22 services of manufacturers and wholesalers that we measured among HVAC installers, and there are more trends at play in the installation sector than just turnover, complexity of installations and labour shortage. For the full picture we refer you to the Q2 2021 report of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor.