Weil-McLain marks its 135th anniversary this year. What do you consider to be Weil-McLain’s most impressive, over-arching accomplishment since your start in 1881? (e.g., geographical expansion, energy efficiency efforts, reputation of reliability, etc.)
Our most impressive accomplishment over the last 135 years has to be maintaining our legacy as cast-iron pioneers while investing heavily in high-efficiency technology and channel support capabilities to offer our customers a full range of products and solutions. Just this past year, we introduced our most advanced high-efficiency condensing boiler, the 95-96.5 percent AFUE Evergreen®. The Evergreen has become a contractor favorite and is now an award-winning product, earning The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News’ 2016 Dealer Design Gold Award in the HVAC Light Commercial category. We also recently enhanced our line of popular SlimFit® high-efficiency condensing gas boilers with improved controls, communication, and usability.
Some companies with as long a history as Weil-McLain struggle to adapt to a changing market. How do you keep from getting complacent? What are some of the ways you stay abreast of evolving market forces?
Weil-McLain’s strategy for evolving with the market has three main elements.
The first is continuing to improve the basic cost/quality delivery equation for our customers. That ranges from the product itself and the value it provides to end users and channel partners, as well as the broader customer experience.
The second is a focused effort around evolving channel relationships to provide direct, positive results with contractors and end-users. That includes utilizing the company’s marketing analytics capabilities, technical expertise, and application knowledge in ways that directly benefit homeowners, building/facility managers, and, of course, contractors.
We know the contractor has a tremendous influence over the sale and support of these products. Through the company’s School of Better Heating Program, and through a partnership with North American Technician Excellence (NATE), Weil-McLain is committed to building on its position as a knowledge leader within the industry. This means not only having the answers to key questions, but also delivering information to the right person at the right time in just the way they need it.
For example, many of our contracting partners are small, family-owned, multi-generational businesses. The successor generation, in a lot of cases, may communicate in differently than the predecessor generation. As a result, Weil-McLain strives to facilitate all forms of communication, from smartphones to PDF downloads. If that partner wants a voice on the phone, a text on their smartphone, or to download a pdf, Weil-McLain makes it easy for that to happen.
And the third area is on the product level, built around technology and innovation.
Throughout the 20th century, Weil-McLain grew to be the largest U.S. manufacturer of cast iron boilers and a leader in the hydronic industry. Our Michigan City, Indiana location continues its cast iron foundry operations and houses a state-of-the-art laboratory and testing facilities alongside an engineering and development center. In 2005, Weil-McLain opened a second manufacturing and training location in Eden, North Carolina and a distribution center on the East Coast. In 2012, Weil-McLain opened an administrative office in Burr Ridge, Illinois.
Weil-McLain has had significant milestones over the years. We developed the first “wet base” boiler that eliminated the need for a separate base and combustion chamber. We introduced the first commercial boiler to be offered with factory-assembled sections. We also manufactured the first ultraviolet control system for an atmospheric gas commercial boiler. In addition, we were the first company to factory “fire test” package residential boilers.
Click the timeline below to learn more about Weil-McLain’s history of innovation:
In 1997, Weil-McLain was the first major U.S. boiler manufacturer to receive the ENERGY STAR “Partner of the Year” Award. Can you tell us about the work you did to earn this recognition?
Weil-McLain has been consistently setting and achieving aggressive engineering and design goals while employing innovative energy efficiency approaches. Our GV® boiler, with 87 percent AFUE, was one of the highest efficiency boilers at the time we received the award. In 1997, we earned this honor for demonstrating a commitment to energy conservation through portfolio-wide efforts.
Can you describe the meaning behind Weil-McLain’s tagline, “Simplified Solutions for our Complex World” and how your company works to live up to this pledge?
The tagline reflects our focus on: (1) understanding the evolving needs of our customers in an increasingly complex, interconnected, fast-paced environment; (2) innovating with new products and services to help our customers solve real problems and making their lives easier; and (3) continuously improving our customer experience and decision-making journeys with best-in-class application knowledge and responsiveness.
What value do you find in your AHRI membership? What is the most significant benefit of AHRI for your business?
AHRI offers a host of benefits to its members, including navigation of the regulatory environment and statistical programs. The institute has been valuable as an impartial advocate for our business and a resource for educational programs, training initiatives, networking opportunities, and research.
Learn more at http://www.weil-mclain.com/.