HVAC Controls Wholesale/Distributor Maintains Critical Inventory for Customers


Boston Aircontrols, Inc. (BAI) is an HVAC controls wholesale/distributor that stocks controls and peripheral devices for large buildings. "Our customers rely on us to stock the common devices that can get them out of a jam" Eric DeWallace, President of BAI stated today. "Our larger big-box competitors sell such a wide array of unrelated products that they simply can't focus on HVAC controls like we can" DeWallace continues, "We are not beholden to any one single manufacturer that can dictate what we offer to our customers, so we stock the items from all the major control companies that customers need right now"

In this era of big box wholesaling, it seems as if the accountants run the show. Their strategy is to wait for their customers to show up at the counter, then have a low paid entry level clerk accept the order and get it in as fast as possible, either from some central warehouse in a day or so, or to order it from the manufacturer which can take up to a week or longer. This strategy reduces their parts inventory which are like dollar bills rotting on the shelf from an accounting perspective. It also saves competitors payroll dollars on their counter help. "Customers can live with this arrangement sometimes, but what we offer is so different, that once they give us a try, they always come back" DeWallace says. "We've been designing and re-designing our inventory for years. We know what is out there presently installed in buildings. We know what is obsolete, and we know what the best or most cost effective replacement is currently"

DeWallace says BAI adds value to the purchase by providing a wiring diagram or even a CAD drawing which includes point to point terminations that will save their customers valuable time in the field. "It simply is not enough to hand a product over the counter in today's world, many of our customers are mechanical contractors and building property management personnel, they have a lot more on their minds than controls. We only do HVAC controls, and we all have experience, once customers get their questions answered and leave with a replacement part and some added knowledge on how to install or wire it, they see the difference and they come back."

DeWallace sites two recent experiences which create loyalty with win-win solutions. "We recently had a customer that could not afford the cost or the disruption to their customers business by updating their aging Variable Air Volume (VAV) control system with a modern, energy saving DDC (direct digital control) system. Instead we offered an IWorx system by Innovex that is now being installed piece-meal, as the controls on the boxes fail, they are replaced with internet ready control system that can be connected together with a single pair of wires for programming and diagnostics from anywhere that has internet access. Now the building is being modernized without that disruption. And they are very pleased with the ease of use and energy savings of the new IWorx system.

"Another example is a mechanical contractor that was charged with updating a customers pneumatic control valves with electronic ones that can accept a control signal directly from his controllers, without using the expensive pneumatic-to-electronic transducers that fail often and drift out of calibration over time. He assumed that each valve would have to be cut out which would have been a very costly project. After determining the age and conditions of the existing valves, we offered instead to replace the pneumatic actuators with modern and reliable Belimo actuation. This was made possible by utilizing Belimo's retrofit actuator linkage kits. He didn't know it would be so easy and cost effective to modernize. Our larger competitors would have pushed for the big sale, we don't take the same approach, and we had a better solution for the customer. We want him to see the value in dealing with us, so he'll come back the next time."

Boston Aircontrols is located just off Rt. 128 @ 8 Blanchard Rd. Burlington, MA 01803 or you can reach them at toll free 888-423-2525. Check out their website at www.bostonaircontrols.com Their email address for general inquiries is info@bostonaircontrols.com.

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