By Jack E. Lorenzen, CWS-V
Editor’s note: The following is a dealer-to-dealer article designed to offer a conduit for advice between WC&P’s primary readers, residential point-of-use/point-of-entry water treatment equipment solutions dealers. You’ll see this as a recurring, periodic theme this year in the magazine. We hope you find it a valuable addition to helping you run your business better and more profitably. This article is authored by 1990-91 Water Quality Association president Jack Lorenzen, a Nebraska dealer and OEM.
As March approaches, I look forward to our annual Water Quality Association (WQA) convention and exposition. Each year, my team works diligently with the WQA schedule of events to maximize our investment of time and money such that we are able to attend every event possible. It’s at this time that we renew our commitment to this great industry, to educational opportunities in advancing our knowledge in water treatment techniques, investigating new technologies and polishing our knowledge of tried and proven products and technologies still very much in use. It’s also a time to renew our commitment to the standards of professional conduct through WQA’s Ethics Program, and it gives us the opportunity to provide input into developing regulations protecting the consumer’s right to quality water, as well as our right as an industry to promote and sell those water quality improvement products.
Enjoy the view
As an independent original equipment manufacturer (OEM) as well as a dealer, our company is always interested in obtaining information on additional products to offer our customers. The annual exposition allows us the unique opportunity to view what we believe to be the quintessential water quality improvement products showcase.
As we view the vendors represented, we’re also interested in improvements of standard products—softeners, membrane systems, media filters and aeration and chemical treatment units—as well as looking at newer products and technologies such as ozone and ultraviolet disinfection devices.
As an OEM, I offer the following suggestions for manufacturers and suppliers to consider in presenting their products:
- Test data should be provided to support claims for all products offered for sale.
- Be prepared to discuss application specifics, performance parameters, and to provide literature—including product specifications, warranties, owner’s manuals, anticipated maintenance and operational costs.
- Be prepared to discuss your pricing structure to OEMs or dealers, marketing rights if applicable, product availability, delivery schedules and backup technical service and support.
Vendors have a considerable investment in booth space. Their personnel provide set up, show coverage and disassembly of displays. I would suggest one of the most critical areas is to properly manage your booth and staff it with technically competent people to speak or visit with attendees who might want more information. This allows vendors to maximize on this investment.
I have watched with interest as our WQA exposition has expanded over the years. It’s exciting to now have our industrial partners in our annual show. Commercial/industrial sales are showing significant growth and, as an OEM, I appreciate the opportunity to attend seminars on commercial/industrial products. Even though I’ve been in this industry over 35 years, I found I had much to learn in this area. I would encourage our commercial/industrial partners to display products and components so OEMs can get a firsthand look at the real marketing opportunities that exist in this rapid growth segment of our industry.
My commercial/industrial contacts over the last five years have taught me that there are two common concerns for the niche: 1) There are a limited number of companies that are able to provide bids, equipment, service and installation, and 2) Good technical information is difficult for consumers and end-users to find or receive from the businesses they do contact. As an OEM serving dealers in a four-state region, we would like to become more aggressive in this marketing opportunity, both through education seminars for dealers and the presence of vendors at the show with products.
Beside commercial level treatment, the point-of-use drinking water business has grown rapidly at our show.
A learning experience
It’s exciting to learn of advancements in all types of filtering or purification products. We have noticed a significant increase in interest by the consumer in all types of filters. Again, I ask vendors to please provide brochures that include performance and test data. Consumers want certified assurance of product performance. OEMs need this information for dealer marketing and, ultimately, the end user.
We’ve always appreciated past attendance of suppliers of tubing, fittings, pumps and components needed for support of manufacturing, assembly and installation of product. There has been great strides in development of these components and I expect that segment of our industry will be represented at the Long Beach, Calif., exposition in March. OEMs are always interested in components that compliment an easier, quicker and more dependable way of assembly and end-user installation.
Lastly, the social part of our convention is an important aspect of developing relationships in business dealings. I have personally appreciated the efforts of those vendors who provide hospitality rooms as a way to meet other OEM’s and dealers on a more personal level. It’s an added expense for the vendor but one much appreciated by those attending.
The scope of this industry has broadened more than most of us ever imagined. As the demand for water quality improvement products increases, our industry will be there to meet the demand. We rely on manufacturers and suppliers to continue to supply us with quality components and products. Our WQA product exposition is extremely important to us as an industry and we encourage your continued participation.
I also encourage my fellow dealers and OEMs to support this show by giving the vendors your undivided attention at every opportunity available. In the give-and-take of conversation, you’ll learn a lot. And they will, too. In the end, that can only make the products and services provided by this industry better. Remember: A rising tide lifts all boats.
About the author
Jack Lorenzen is owner of Quality Water Services Inc. in Lincoln, Neb. He’s affiliated with Osmonics Inc. and is a partner in its Technetic Group line of water conditioners. As an assembler, the company produces softeners, ozonators, filters, ROs, etc., as well as runs two dealerships in Lincoln and Omaha, Neb., with bottled water operations at both sites. Lorenzen got into the business in 1964 purchasing an existing dealership that was started in 1949. He also has earned the WQA’s Certified Water Specialist, Level 5 designation. Active with the association for his entire professional career, he served as president in 1990-91 and was awarded the Key Award in 1989 and the Regents Award in 1993. He also serves on the board of directors for WQA’s Water Quality Research Council. Lorenzen can be reached at (402) 423-0909 or (402) 423-3102 (fax).