If you want to grow your specialty OE business, sometimes there’s no better place to look than your home turf.
That’s the lesson Troy Evans, product development manager at Thermo King Intermountain in Salt Lake City, took away from his experience with FireFly Equipment, which builds sod-harvesting machinery in Farmington, Utah, a short 20-minute drive away.
“Here we are, trying to always be proactive about new OE business, and these guys from down the road just walk in one day asking about A/C for their cabs,” says Troy. “I think we were the first thing that popped up when they did a search for somebody local who knew about heavy-duty HVAC.”
FireFly builds the ProSlab 150, a machine that lifts, cuts, and stacks turf in 16-, 21-, or 24-inch wide slabs. The operator sits in a glass-enclosed cab, and the company’s initial thought was to put an A/C unit in the dash.
“They came in ready to buy a system but they really needed expertise,” Troy says. He explained the advantages of dropping cold air down on the operator (as opposed to blowing it in his face) and having a self-contained unit up on the roof, out of the dust. They discussed how to simplify factory installation and how the Red Dot WD network could benefit customers across North America.
Ultimately, FireFly decided to equip its ProSlab cabs with Red Dot R-9777 rooftop units. The order is small—FireFly builds just one machine a month—but Troy says the experience reinforced three things about supplying HVAC systems to specialty OEs:
1. Focus on making A/C an easy choice and not a more complicated and expensive “extra.” E-Z Clip fittings and hoses, as well as ordering their Cummins engines with a compressor and mounting hardware already installed, helps FireFly do a quality installation job at the factory.
2. Explain how the A/C unit you choose will support the OE’s promise of a more reliable, comfortable, and cost-effective machine. “When we recommended the R-9777, we talked about how its low maintenance and high performance fit right in with what FireFly was selling overall,” Troy says. “That really resonated with them.”
3. There’s probably OE business in your backyard. “I like local customers because you can demonstrate your expertise every day if you want to,” says Troy. “You get to know the customer and hopefully grow along with them.”
If you see an opportunity for specialty OE business, talk to your Red Dot Account Manager. He can support your sales efforts and help make sure the components you need are ready when you are.