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Brian White shows a slide giving an overview of Rheem's company history during his and Chris Day's session at PHCC Connect 2019.

Connected Data as a Business Tool: Connect 2019 Session

Rheem Air & Water's Chris Day and Brian White presented, Connected Data: It’s a Valuable Business Tool.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — In an early morning educational session at PHCC Connect 2019, Chris Day, VP of Manufacturing for Rheem Air & Water, and Brian White, Director of Digital Marketing for Rheem Air & Water, presented, Connected Data: It’s a Valuable Business Tool.

Day opened the session thanking the attendees for making the extra effort to attend at 8:00 AM. He then spoke to the value of connected data—that is, wireless data being generated by smart devices and appliances—to address customer needs throughout the product lifecycle, from purchase to installation to service, troubleshooting, repair and replacement.

Intelligent use of connected data, he said, can:

  • Not only increase the number of service agreements a contractor makes in the course of a business year, as well as reduce the cost of fulfilling such agreements.
  • Help reduce (or even eliminate) that main pain-point of the customer, the emergency situation, where the customer has to go without heat or heated water for an extended period, thanks to automatic maintenance alerts.
  • Provide easier troubleshooting from knowing what the problem is before a service tech is ever assigned, and having that tech show up with the right skills and equipment needed to solve it.
  • Deliver remote access to a customer’s service history.
  • Allow for technician collaboration, and for more experienced techs to support novices in the field.
  • Permit inventory tracking on trucks.
  • Give access to real-time information on prices, schedules and promotions.

In short, intelligent use of connected data can deliver a new service model; one that is more proactive, preventative, with less stress for everyone involved. The power of data can not only optimize the efficiency of the products contractors are installing and maintaining, but make the workflow of those contractors more efficient and more profitable.

Digital Transformation

Brian White then took the podium to talk a little about the history of Rheem, which is rapidly approaching it’s 100the year. The company was founded in 1925, and White and the rest of the people at the company are all excited to see what the next five years will bring in terms of innovation.

The key phrase that many people have come to adopt, White said, was “digital transformation.” This transformation is progressing at an accelerating rate as more and more entities—business, governments and individuals—are using data to optimize processes and services. For a manufacturer like Rheem, that means tracking components from “dock to door,” from production all the way to installation.

As a case-in-point, White discussed some of the advantages of Rheem’s new EcoNet control center. For safety, it can deliver a wide range of water and gas alerts (high pressure, high temperature etc. etc.), either as e-mails or text messages. For efficiency, it can generate water and energy usage reports that allow the homeowner to modify their usage accordingly.

Virtual Assistant

But on the technician side, Rheem has a wide array of digital tools that can act like a virtual assistant. That includes leveraging QR codes to look up setup information, warranty information and more. It also includes a custom app that allows contractors to use their smartphones to connect directly to a piece of equipment and see all the alerts that might be happening—ideal for equipment that might not have a sophisticated display screen. The phone, in effect, becomes that display screen.

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A slide from the session demonstrating how a more experienced technician back in the office can support a technician in the field.

Digital transformation extends beyond the technical side of the business to aspects including lead generation, marketing and more. Rheem offers a contractor locator for consumers, complete with customer ratings and reviews (and the system can pull in FaceBook and Google reviews as well).

Tracking software lets the customer see when the tech is arriving, just as if they were waiting for an Uber driver. No more wasting half your day waiting for the service tech to show up.

Key Takeaways

As the session wrapped up, Day and White hoped that attendees would take away the following points:

  • Get connected—it has become essential to your business.
  • Think lean; think about what will save you time and money.
  • Track value; ask “Am I doing more jobs?” “Am I making more money?”

They then thanked everyone for coming, and invited them to stop by the Rheem booth.   

TAGS: IoT Technology
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