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Editor’s note: Businesspeople often shirk when asked to predict the upcoming year. Given the variables both in business and culturally that occur, even the most astute person can have their “predictions” swept aside by outside forces beyond their control.
With that in mind, I’ve asked several top company executives to share with our readers how they see 2014 unfolding. I didn’t ask for a precise prediction, but I did request a sense of their view for the direction of the HVACR industry, and if they wished, their company too.
While the answers vary, I made this simple request. Please share your thoughts with us about the direction, potential and challenges for the HVACR industry in 2014. You have full rein on the focus and breadth (or narrowness) of your reply. You can discuss it from the perspective of your own company or you can explain it from a more theoretical view. The decision is yours.
As we celebrated the first year anniversary of the Goodman acquisition by Daikin Industries, LTD in November 2013, it set the stage for continued positive growth and success for all our distributors and dealers across North America. We anticipate continued market growth for our HVAC products, distributors and dealers during 2014. After the tough, challenging economic times our entire industry experienced over the past several years, it appears that we are returning to a market with more robust and reliable growth opportunities.
Our forecast for 2014 reflects growth in all market segments, from ductless to commercial packaged products and VRV systems. Ductless continues to be a fast growing segment. We are helping to fuel this growth by offering ductless products in nearly all of our distributor locations. As the full ductless product line becomes more accessible and dealers become more familiar with its ease of installation, ductless products will experience more growth potential in both the residential and commercial market segments. Commercial packaged products growth will follow the market expansion for replacement units coupled with new commercial construction. Daikin brand commercial packaged products offer benefits coupled with accessories that dealers and contractors expect from a market leader. We expect steady growth in this market segment throughout 2014.
With the recent launch of the Daikin unitary product line through a network of select dealers, growth in 2014 will continue due to market growth coupled with several new product attributes. Inverter technology is scheduled to be available on many of our unitary products. This will bring another opportunity for sales growth through our independent and company-operated distributors and their customers. The introduction of the Daikin VRV product line in 2014 will represent the first time that this product has been manufactured in North America. This is an exciting opportunity for our dealers and reflects our unending commitment to being the best provider of high efficiency products in the marketplace. This is truly a milestone for our organization and will be remembered well beyond 2014 as this product becomes entrenched in the North American commercial and residential market segments.
I like to remind dealers and distributors that the HVAC marketplace has inherent strengths not found in other industries. I’ve been a member of leading companies in several other industries and I can attest that the stability and growth potential of the HVAC marketplace is outstanding and quite possibly unmatched. As a testament to that statement, I know of no other industry that could weather a 40 percent drop in total business without catastrophic results. That is the roller coaster that the HVAC industry has experienced beginning in 2008 and hopefully rebounded from in 2013.
Beyond the Daikin brand, growth opportunities for the Goodman and Amana brands are expected for 2014. We will be introducing an enhancement to our gas furnace products that will offer additional benefits for HVAC dealers and homeowners alike. We’ve added several new models to the Amana brand line and it continues to grow. Rumors have circulated that the Goodman brand would be going through changes or revisions during 2014. I can report today that, as a leading brand in the HVAC marketplace, the Goodman brand will remain as strong and solid as it has for more than 30 years.
Regardless of the year, our success is directly attributed to the shared success of our independent and company-operated distributors and a large, loyal group of independent HVAC dealers. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to make certain that we provide this growing group with the best products and support tools to make certain that we are the best option for their business success. Several years ago, we defined this strategy with our DealerFirst™ initiatives. The majority of HVAC dealers know this, but it bears repeating. Market leaders always adapt to changing market conditions whether the market experiences negative or positive growth. By being flexible and adjusting to market trends, HVAC dealers always find a way to improve their position in the local market. Control what you can and adjust for the conditions that you cannot control are how successful dealers grow every year. And since our company was founded by an HVAC dealer, it should be no surprise that we hold the same business philosophy.
Dave Swift is president and CEO of Daikin North America LLC. Vist www.daikin.com.