So just what are they doing that is so right? Ken Lawlor’s Dublin-based Sensible Acon is LG’s distributor in Ireland and has a different approach to working with contractors and consultants that has seen a 300% sales growth with much more forecast. It has also led to Ken Lawlor opening up a London office.
Ken says: “We simply haven’t had any big problems with the installations with the result being the end-user having on-going, efficient air conditioning. We’ve had the odd PCB go on an indoor unit – usually because it’s a mix up of first or second generation. I work closely with the consultants and contractors from start to finish to ensure the correct application of our equipment. It is intense and involved but it leads to the end-user being happy because the kit works; the contractor’s happy because the end-user is happy and the consultant is double-happy because no problems find their way back to them. But it is a detailed process.
“If a problem is reported we act instantly in conjunction with the contractor and LG technical team. The contractors put the kit in right first time, with patience and thoroughness, and in line with LG installation practices and recommendations. That saves them time because there’s little or no call-back to site.”
The right approach
Ken Lawlor, a honours graduate in marketing from Dublin’s Trinity College, is part of the Celtic Tiger economy with a ‘can do, will do’ approach to the air conditioning industry. He formed his company just over a year ago after a career in sales in both air conditioning and as sales manager for a major consumer brand.
“People think that the Irish market is very, very parochial – and they are correct to some extent. The whole of the Irish market is probably worth around just half of the business in London alone. However, we have established LG, in a very short space of time, as a premium brand here. The first thing I persuaded all the contractors to do was to attend the LG Training Academy – these courses are comprehensive and tailored precisely and exactly and it is fully kitted out with all the latest training aids and ‘live’ installations. The contractors loved it.”
One of Ireland’s major air conditioning contractors – Simon McManus of Aermak Ltd said of the LG Training Course: “It was simply the best that I – and all of our engineers – have ever attended. It was thorough, detailed and explained the kit from top to bottom, and best of all, 100% practical. Another small but very important point when you are on site is the LG SMS texting service. It saves so much time and trouble on site. We simply text the question and get an answer by return and then get on with the job – no time lost.”
The results of this investment in time and effort are LG VRF installations all around Dublin and Ireland – the Law Courts, the President’s Office, prestige hotels and office developments.
So what is the secret? Installation procedures are key to the whole process. The Managing Director of one leading contractor, Paragon Air Conditioning Ltd., is Zac Keane, he says: “We look for a long term relationship with our clients, whether it is a Mechanical contractor, a developer or a consulting engineer” This relationship is based on trust and quality. Our USP is very simple. We guarantee a first class service from design to handover. A major part of our success is the thoroughness in the installation process. We want to do a ‘fit & forget’ job – but that means taking the necessary time at the start.
“By using the LG software to design a pipe schedule, the information is in black and white. Pipe sizes, unit references and even gas charge quantities are highlighted. We incorporate this into the co-ordinated drawings, so our engineers and other trades can easily identify what needs to be done. This eliminates the risk of wrong units, H/R boxes and even the wrong pipe work been installed.
“Other key areas are the purging of oxygen-free nitrogen when welding. Engineers tend to only purge on large pipes, when in fact it is the smaller pipes that can cause all the damage.
“Pressure testing on both the refrigeration and condensate waste pipe work is witnessed by the main/mechanical contractor and the engineer. Each VRV system then undergoes a triple evacuation, which again is signed off by the contractor.
“Finally there is the gas charge which is a critical stage. The software will give you the required charge, providing the pipe work has been installed in accordance to the schematic. We always, in addition to the schematic, measure the pipe distance and calculate the required quantity.
“Our quality control engineer will ensure every installation meets the standard that Paragon Air Conditioning is committed to. We have had one minor call-back to a factory site where the pcb was not driving the fan motor but this was a simple, quick fix as Sensible AC carries a good stock of spares. Basically the kit works and it works well and efficiently. Our success in Ireland is about to be translated internationally. We are currently looking to open up an office in the middle-east and to join Sensible Acon in London”.
Mr Keane added: “We sub-contracted a job in Belfast recently to an English-based contractor. The job was a big family restaurant and when we told him we were using LG kit he complained that he didn’t like the kit. We told him about our procedures and to follow our method and process of installation. At the end of the job he switched on the kit and, hey presto, it works first time, every time”.
Easy to use
Frank McManus, Managing Director of Aermak Ltd comments: “It is great to have a new fresh brand on the market that is right up there with the rest in terms of quality. LG have the major advantage of having the niche Art Cool range of products, allowing clients to have something unique in their hotel bedrooms, office boardrooms and meeting rooms.”
It seems that it is simply a matter of working with the right kit and getting the job right first time – something which we can all learn from. Ken Lawlor concludes: “Clients are now beginning to realise what the rest of the world already knows, and that is that LG are one of the largest manufacturers of air conditioning in the world, and with the right people promoting it, and the right people installing it, LG Air Conditioning will become a major force in our islands in the coming years.”