GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions is a solutions provider of HVAC, water heater, water filtration and ductless heating and cooling solutions for residential and light commercial use. A new division of GE Appliances launched in late 2020, it is supported by more than 600 SKUs, 298,000 square feet of new U.S. manufacturing space, and a commitment to quick-access solutions and technical support. GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions carries a line of electric tank and tankless water heaters, with plans for the introduction of a gas line early next year. Supply House Times recently caught up with Jim Skaggs, vice president of sales for GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions. Skaggs talks about a variety of topics, including the new division’s embracement of wholesale-distribution, the current state of the supply chain and what the future holds for GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions and the heating and cooling industry in general.

SHT: What triggered the decision to engage more with the wholesale-distribution channel?

JS: GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions saw an opportunity to fill a void for many customers in the wholesale-distribution channel. Based on feedback from industry research, we learned that distributors were lacking alternative product options and partners that can help them grow their business. So, we decided to launch a portfolio of more than 600 SKUs for the pro channel and back it up with unparalleled support.

SHT: How is GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions best interacting with and utilizing the wholesale-distribution channel?

JS: For any size business — small, large or somewhere in the middle — there is a need for a supplier that can help provide support when and where it is needed. We have more than 400 dedicated employees who provide service and support for our products, and we provide individual training for all our product lines. For us, the most important thing about building this relationship with a customer is so much more than being there. It’s about listening to their needs in order to determine how to show up in the right ways.GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions team. Photo courtesy of GE Appliances & Water Solutions.

GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions team
GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions team. Photo courtesy of GE Appliances & Water Solutions.

SHT: Are you dealing with the same supply chain issues other manufacturers in our industry are dealing with right now?

JS: We offer one of the nation’s largest distribution networks, ensuring we can deliver what you need, when you need it. Our 12 distribution locations are capable of reaching 90% of the U.S. in just days.  Additionally, we favor all customers equally, regardless of company size or order quota. You can rely on your relationship with GE Appliances Air & Water to pull the same weight whether you’re a local business or a regionally renowned wholesaler.

SHT: What are distributor customers telling you in terms of what folks want when it comes to water heaters and heating/cooling products? What is important to a contractor and to an end user right now?

JS: From what we’ve heard, customers are hungry for new product options that are available now. Backed by the resources of GE Appliances, our Air & Water Solutions division is ready to meet this demand in availability with our breadth of portfolio and premium tech support and training. As for the end user, not only do we provide a name that is known and trusted, but we also support that reputation with product ease of use and peace of mind. For example, SmartHQ technology ensures our products are easier to service and integrated with consumers’ increasingly automated and digitized world.

SHT: Is GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions concentrating on the residential market, non-residential multi-family, institutional, etc., market or a combo of both?

JS: Our product offering features the latest technology and innovations suitable for large-scale light commercial applications, as well as multifamily and residential use. It all depends on what you’re looking for; our portfolio is made up of more than 600 different product SKUs across 12 key air and water categories including VTAC and PTAC, ductless systems, water heaters, water treatment and more.

SHT: Where does GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions see the heating and cooling industry heading in the near term and longer-term? What’s the next big thing with technology?

JS: We’re proud to be a part of this extremely dynamic heating and cooling industry, and it’s why we are excited to partner with the pro distribution channel and pro contractors to offer best-in-class solutions during times of changing regulations and evolving end-user needs. Innovation, efficiency regulations and the end user’s desire for clean air and water will drive our continued investment in this industry.

The ability to integrate a whole home of appliances, water heating, water treatment and heating/cooling systems in one central, digital location — our SmartHQ platform — offers owners more line of sight to how these products work, how they can help reduce utility costs and identify mechanical challenges or potential product failures prior to them happening. We are excited to drive trends in technology for the air and water product categories.

GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions
Skaggs says GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions values its manufacturer representative firms’ support of the pro channel, and plans to utilize reps as a go-to-market strategy.