Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is slowly going away as more folks receive their vaccines, the world is currently dealing with another crisis in the form of the material shortage that is greatly impacting many businesses and industries. The HVAC industry is one that has been particularly affected.
Dealing with this material shortage has put a lot of pressure on the HVAC industry and HVAC professionals. The shortage has created significant difficulties in producing and acquiring important heating and cooling equipment, delaying installations and projects.
These pressures have frustrated both professionals and customers alike, making the landscape for incoming HVAC professionals uncertain. With a material shortage affecting the job they do and the services provided, should incoming HVAC professionals and those just beginning their education and training be concerned about the heating and cooling material shortage?
While this shortage is definitely something that heating and cooling professionals need to educate themselves on, fully understand, and account for, it should certainly not be something that should dissuade individuals from a rewarding and important career.
Why is there a material shortage?
First things first, why is there a material shortage to begin with? It is the result of a domino effect tipped off by the coronavirus pandemic. When the pandemic first hit and lockdowns were ordered across the world, manufacturers had to adjust. Many severely scaled back production, some had to lay off a large portion of their workforce, others had to shut their doors entirely.
During this time, the production of materials was limited which meant available inventory was quickly used up without being able to be replaced. That brings us to today. As the world continues to return more and more to normal, demand has ramped back up but that demand is not able to be kept up with due to still-limited labor forces and an almost non-existing inventory.
For HVAC, construction materials, as well as microchips used in smart heating and cooling systems like programmable thermostats, have been the items most drastically affected. Hardships obtaining these materials means HVAC manufacturers have been producing them at a slower rate.
This material shortage WILL end
All indicators are that this material shortage is something that will loom over manufacturers and affect businesses and industries for an extended period of time. However, as difficult of a crisis to navigate as this material shortage is, experts also continue to indicate that it isn’t permanent and it will eventually even out.
Microchip shortages, of particular relevance to the HVAC industry, are predicted to start slowly dwindling over the next two years. While this may still seem like a bit of time, considering the severity of the crisis, the fact that an endpoint is already in sight is a great indicator.
Other materials will follow the same trajectory, some sooner than others, and sooner or later things will return back to normal for the HVAC industry. Until then, your customer service skills as an HVAC professional will be of great importance as you help your customers understand and plan to work around the material shortage.
Set realistic expectations
Some of your customers may be so far removed from the material shortages impacting different businesses and not completely understand why their orders are taking so long to be fulfilled. As a heating and cooling expert, it will be up to you to help educate your customers.
Delays in new equipment installation will undoubtedly cause some frustration with your customers, so the best thing you can do to prepare them is to be transparent about the crisis and set realistic expectations for their projects.
Communication skills are an undervalued soft skill for heating and cooling installers and technicians and navigating the material shortage crisis will require everyone to be at their best.
Customers will still be counting on you
One of the biggest reasons why incoming HVAC professionals shouldn’t be discouraged by the material shortage is one simple fact: despite issues producing HVAC products, homeowners and business owners are going to continue to depend on the valuable service that those in the industry provide.
The summers aren’t going to suddenly stop being hot and the winters are not going to suddenly stop being cold. Across the country, the demand for HVAC maintenance, service, and new installation is not going to stop just because equipment is harder to come by. The world still needs hardworking and skilled professionals to put their skill set to work protecting their homes and businesses.
In fact, in addition to the material shortage, there is a similar labor shortage happening across many industries. This is of course nothing new to the skilled trades, which have been experiencing a need for labor for many years leading up to the pandemic.
Don’t be intimidated by the material shortage. There is still a need for services and there is a need for professionals like you! If you are interested in starting your career in HVAC with the best training available, learn more about the upcoming schedule of HVAC classes right here at The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning.