March 2016 e-Newsletter 

Dedicated Duct Manufacturing

When it Comes to HVAC Duct Manufacturing, Dedicated, Large-Scale Manufacturers May Be Your Best Bet.

Times are changing. The long tradition of HVAC Contractors manufacturing their own HVAC ductwork in-house is under increasing scrutiny.

Traditionally, HVAC Contractors not only installed ductwork, but each company maintained its own in house fabrication facility. The logic was simple: direct control of production, assurance of quality, reliable and timely delivery. Who could argue with all that?

But in recent years, the flaws in this traditional logic have become more apparent. At ZEN Industries, we've seen the struggles of HVAC contractors as they strive to justify continued in house production. But the problems are mounting.

  • Skilled, qualified labor is becoming increasingly more difficult to find.
  • Lack of purchasing power in materials procurement means higher cost.
  • Maintaining equipment and inventory requires its own infrastructure.
  • When the economy dips, keeping individual in-house shops busy is a challenge.
    • Some contractors have marketed their shops for outsourced projects, only to find other contractors prefer purchasing products from a supplier, not the competition!
  • Contractors realize their core competency is installation, not manufacturing.
    • In-house manufacturing becomes an inefficient profit sink, a maze of materials procurement problems, labor problems, inventory problems, and project management problems.

Is “In-House” Control Really a Formula for Higher Quality and Successful Projects?

The dynamic of in-house production does not necessarily bode to the highest quality product. A dedicated HVAC duct manufacturer works only to manufacture duct work, leading to more specialized production and significantly higher efficiency of production.

HVAC Efficiency Studies

HVAC fabrication is being studied at the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Following is a quote from an abstract aimed at increasing the efficiency and reliability of HVAC production.
"HVAC contractors hand off work internally when they fabricate and install their own ductwork, as is common industry practice. It therefore is in their best interest to make the handoff as efficient as possible. In theory that should be easy since the two functions coexist within the same company.

In practice, competition arises as a natural consequence of tension between job-shop production in the fabrication shop and project-driven production at the various construction sites. The shop and the project sites often have different goals and performance incentives, so they may end up vying for control of the handoff."

For more information on this topic, read the entire article MATERIALS AND INFORMATION FLOWS FOR HVAC DUCTWORK FABRICATION AND SITE INSTALLATION online at the University of California, Berkeley. (Adobe Reader Required)
From our vantage point at ZEN, that's far from the only source of internal conflict and inefficiency when HVAC Contractors manufacture their own ductwork in house.

Dedicated HVAC Fabrication Facilities Win the Day

It only makes sense that a facility devoted to HVAC ductwork production, supplying a nationwide clientele, would have the best production people, the most experienced estimators, the lowest cost in materials procurement, the most efficient systems for inventory handling, etc. After all, estimation, production, and delivery would be their core competencies - the things they do best.

The key barriers to HVAC Contractors divesting themselves of the in house production albatross are trust and reliability. In the past, no doubt, contractors have been burned by unreliable 3rd party distributors.

The ZEN Approach to HVAC Fabrication

Today, it is possible to build a solid hand-in-glove relationship, directly with your HVAC fabrication facility. At ZEN Industries, we believe we've developed one of the best programs for this type of relationship.

Working with each contractor, we streamline estimating using the most recent technical advancements, collaborate on ductwork design for greater performance and installation efficiency, and review project obstacles up-front in an effort to reduce labor and material waste.

While finding the best cost has always been important, working with ZEN Industries brings a new dimension of value added services, including insights that offer each of our customers a competitive advantage.

As the science of HVAC production continues to advance, it will become less and less viable for HVAC contractors to maintain inefficient, small production shops. Economies of scale and concentrations of talent and expertise will continue to favor dedicated fabrication facilities like ZEN Industries.

No matter how big or small your project:

No matter how demanding the project, ZEN Industries has the experience and expertise you need. To learn more, Contact ZEN Industries today!

ZEN Industries provides all or part of your HVAC needs. HVAC ductwork manufactured according to your schedule, meeting 3rd Edition 2005 SMACNA standards. Contact Heather Rodehaver - Business Development Representative at 877-600-0274.

Success in our business is about service.

Success in our business is about service. The quality of our HVAC duct work is of the highest caliber and our price competitive with the best in the industry. Nonetheless, quality and price are default items today in sheet metal fabrication. They give us access to the playing field. Service is where ZEN Industries Inc. gains its edge, and service means people - it's about our experienced personnel and the relationships we build with each and every customer.

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