City Compressor is one of the oldest providers of remanufactured compressors, with 84 years of remanufacturing experience. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, they have the lowest warranty return rate of all re-manufacturers in the country due to exceptional quality control, using an eight-step process from disassembly to finishing. Each step uses a meticulous and calculated approach utilizing a SMED Six Sigma process, a method that reduces the time it takes to complete equipment changeovers.
The team of technicians at City Compressor have a vast amount of experience remanufacturing HVAC & refrigeration reciprocating compressors; however, seasonality plays a major role in demand for their product since air conditioning unit use typically declines in the fall in the country. Also, due to COVID, and the lack of large gatherings taking place in convention centers and hotels, sales declined as demand fell. The company had become stagnant in generating new sales opportunities and was struggling to stay relevant. They did not have a devoted sales team, or even a person, and needed to create a process to develop new business and increase sales.
That’s when current owner and president, Greg Sowers (formerly a CPA), took notice. What started as a real estate deal, turned into a career switch for him. Even though sales had steadily been falling, when Sowers heard about the SETAAC program, which is a federally funded program housed out of Georgia Tech that provides matching assistance funds to firms experiencing declines due to import competition, he wanted to learn more. So, he reached out to Maria Hill, project manager for SETAAC, to discuss how the program could help City Compressor regain market share, improve processes, and increase sales.
Through the matching assistance funds City Compressor received, they have been able to:
- Grow their customer base by 22 percent.
- Implement a Customer Relationship Management software system that allows them to track sales revenue compared to the goals.
- Create a sales process using current technology to provide quotes within 30 minutes of a request, initiate follow-up protocols, and create a lasting relationship with customers through consistent engagement.
- Increase closing quote percentage from 17 percent to 39 percent.
- Help fill a void in the supply chain until main parts can arrive from the original equipment manufacturer.
- Hire two more employees devoted to sales.
- Grow revenue by one million dollars since 2019.
- Decrease their environmental footprint by recycling and reusing 100 percent of their parts.
Through the leadership of Sowers, and matching funds from SETAAC, City Compressor has become the “easy button” for the industry, allowing customers more accessibility to information and resources. They have also become the sole supplier to Trane for other OEM compressors through a national sales agreement, and are poised to take even more market share in the commercial space because of their new sales process. Sowers is already looking toward the future with their next project, developing export strategies through market research and client development to expand into the international compressor arena.
Sowers said, “It was nice working with SETAAC. We wouldn’t be here today without them, and able to regain the market share we originally had without implementing an updated sales process.”
The Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (SETAAC), a federally funded program, housed out of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) at Georgia Institute of Technology, is supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and provides matching assistance funds to firms experiencing declines due to import competition.