Over the years, the HVAC industry has, on the whole, remained traditional while taking small progressive steps as opposed to big leaps forward. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the industry and has acted as a cyber-accelerant for both manufacturers and installers who have had to find a new way to share knowledge and build skillsets.
Until quite recently, plumbers and heating engineers would learn about new technologies through face-to-face learning. This meant finding time to visit a training centre during their working day or attending an event out of hours. While face-to-face learning was effective, it wasn’t always convenient or easy to squeeze into a busy schedule.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to limit interactions and employ social distancing, however, we have seen a rapid expansion in online learning for example through webinars and online modules.
Manufacturers and installers have eagerly embraced online learning after having experienced the benefits. There’s no travel involved and therefore valuable time is saved. At the same time, with live events there are still plenty of opportunities to interact with the session leader and to ask them questions as you would in-person.
As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s likely that some face-to-face training will resume, but digital training has proved so popular that it is likely to continue as well. It seems that the demand for online training will play an important part in the working life of installers going forward.
During the national lockdowns, we have also seen popular trade shows move to online platforms. Visitors have been able to listen to expert opinions and panels, have virtual meetings with exhibitors and learn about new product developments from the comfort of their own homes.
It’s clear than online content and especially videos are something that the whole industry needs to embrace. It’s clear that sharing knowledge and information digitally helps to save time and reduces journeys that also have a positive impact on the environment.
The HVAC community has been making the most of social media to showcase their work and promote their businesses for a while now. It’s also a great place to show support for each other and to share tips.
Installers want to be able to quickly engage with their suppliers and manufacturers, asking both technical and practical questions, and social media is a great place for this. Twitter has remained a leader in allowing us to interact with brands in real-time, but Instagram has a growing HVAC community too. As Instagram focuses more on photos and videos, it can be a really great resource.
While the installer’s job will always be a practical one, it’s clear that for the heating, ventilation and plumbing industry the digital world is only going to continue to be more important and present. Manufacturers, suppliers and installers should all have a digital strategy in place to ensure they can continue to deliver the best service.
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If you’re an electrical wholesale, distribution or manufacturing professional interested in developing your career, get in touch with us today.