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Last Word

Harman Home Heating: Celebrating 30 Years of Innovation

Harman Home Heating, Halifax, PA., has much to celebrate this year (as the company marks its 30th anniversary), including Har - man’s transition to the Hearth &  Home Technologies (HHT) family of brands and the introduction of the HydroFlex60 pellet boiler. These events continue the company’s tradition of offering innovative, well-crafted products to meet consumers’ home-heating needs.

The Right Fit

The November 2007 acquisition of Harman Home Heating by HHT has brought some exciting new benefits to Harman employees and dealers. Karen McSherry, who provides marketing and creative-services support for Harman, says that one of the biggest benefits that employees (called members) have realized with the transition is a changeover to a lean manufacturing process that is designed to increase productivity while deceasing production costs.

“This system is very organized and allows for a lot of input from the manufacturing members,” she says. “They took it, ran with it, and are thriving. They love that if they have an idea, it is heard, analyzed, and usually implemented— because it’s often a good one. The members here making the product are very engaged with the new process and do find it to be rewarding.”

Another advantage of being part of HHT is a greater emphasis on communication between different parts of the Harman organization. More meetings and teleconferences help employees understand different aspects of the business. “Being in advertising, I didn’t always know what was going on with the technical side of the business, and now it’s all encompassing: Everyone knows what is going on within the company. It’s empowering and definitely a plus,” McSherry says.

Under a new HHT authorized-dealer program (which will officially roll out in 2010, with parts of the program implemented in 2009), dealers will be receiving more benefits. “Previously, we never offered promotions to dealers, other than a once-ayear early-buy program,” McSherry says. Under the new program, which encompasses cooperative advertising and displays, there will now be more money going back to the dealer.

McSherry explains, “We believe this will give our dealers a competitive edge against the hearth dealer down the street who is selling a different brand.” The new program also includes dealer discounts on showroom materials and sales training, along with a purchase plan for dealers’ employees that allows them to purchase Harman products at a substantial discount.

“We see the value in this because what these employees burn in their homes will give them more experience with the product. You tend to talk about what you know, and if they know our products are the best, they are more likely to push them on the sales floor,” McSherry says.

Eco-Friendly Home Heat

First introduced last year, and winner of the 2008 Vesta Award in the Renewable Fuel Central Systems category, the HydroFlex60 pellet boiler is now available to environmentally conscious homeowners. Fueled by renewable biomass pellets, the HydroFlex60 provides up to 60,000 Btu to the primary central heating system.

The unit easily connects to, and works with, any existing hot-air or hot-water system; it can also be connected remotely to the primary unit in another area of the home. Using the HydroFlex60 is an easy way for homeowners to become environmentally responsible, since pellet heat is carbon neutral. The unit also has a small footprint, allowing it to be installed in tight spaces.

The HydroFlex60 will save consumers money, since thermostats on the unit can be adjusted based on current fuel prices. For example, if the fuel used by the primary heat source becomes less expensive, the thermostat can be set higher on it, and the HydroFlex60 setting can be decreased. Alternatively, if pellets remain more cost effective, the HydroFlex60 temperature can be kept at the desired setting, and the primary system’s output can be decreased and used as a backup heat source.

A Long-Standing Reputation

In the late 1970s, Dane Harman, a welder by trade, originally built a stove to heat his home. It worked so well that neighbors soon began asking him to build stoves for them. He started working out of his garage, filling orders throughout central Pennsylvania.

Today, the company has tens of thousands of customers throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Harman continues to be the driving force behind the company’s ability to conceive and create innovative, highquality products that meet the homeheating needs of today’s consumer.

Last summer, when fuel prices went through the roof, industry shipments of wood stoves and inserts increased about 85 percent over the same period in 2007, and sales of wood-pellet stoves and inserts increased by 168 percent, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. To meet this growing consumer demand, Harman offers over 40 stove models, including fireplace, furnace, and boiler products

Harman has patents for technologies in four fuel categories and specializes in making products that burn biomass materials, such as pellets and wood. By offering these alternative fuel sources, Harman is giving homeowners the opportunity to become less dependent on oil (and less subject to its price volatility).

While Harman’s past has been a great success, McSherry is equally excited about what is in store for the company in the future. She reports that Harman is specifically planning to expand its line of wood-burning products. “Our research-and-development department is excited and has been hustling on several new products. Watch for them in 2010,” she says.

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