Introducing a new way of buying boilers to the construction sector and homeowners, Matthew Powell tells BQ about how their innovative business model aims to disrupt the industry in Wales and beyond.
What does your business do?
WarmZilla Limited is a completely automated online boiler and installation service, where the customer can purchase a new boiler for their home in minutes. The customer is taken through a short survey, where they can choose boilers, suitable for their homes. Once the boiler has been chosen, an installation date to suit the customer can be picked, then the customer can either pay in full or choose a monthly payment plan to suit their needs. It really is that simple.
WarmZilla has created a network of vetted contractors who are local to the South Wales area. The system is a new spin on the old-fashioned model of the heating industry and we expect to develop our system further throughout the year. We are currently servicing the South Wales area but we expect to be UK-wide by August 2019, creating jobs in and around the South Wales area.
What innovative products, services, materials or processes do you have relevant to the construction sector?
Online boiler and installation purchasing system. We can connect customer and purchasing without the need of a site visit or salesman. Our business plan includes showcasing our product to construction companies in Wales and enabling them to use our services, saving them time in sourcing suppliers and ensuring they get competitive rates on boiler purchase and installation.
What difference does innovating make to your business?
Innovation makes a massive difference to our business as the business model is entirely built on digitally disrupting the heating industry by implementing technology to bridge the gap between consumer and seller. Cutting out the middle man, the salesperson.
How do you manage innovation; how do you encourage staff to innovate in their jobs?
We manage innovation by constantly looking for new areas or opportunities that our service could facilitate and then developing the technology to ensure we can deliver high service levels. An example would be our sub-contractor installer network which is being developed so that we can go UK-wide much sooner than originally anticipated.
Communication is the key in terms of innovation within the company. We regularly hold meetings and constantly update on different ideas. It is through communication that an idea goes from something rough to something polished that we end up implementing. Given that we are in a very competitive industry it’s imperative that we keep innovating and staying one step ahead of the rest.
How do you encourage innovation in your supply chain, or in those that you partner with?
I think that you lead by example. We are innovating in our industry and that in turn influences the supply chain to move with the times or get left behind. Technological advancement has meant that many businesses have had to change their way of working and adopt new technology or risk getting swallowed up by hungry new businesses that make life easier for customers.
What is the most interesting/innovative contract or development you have been involved in?
The whole process of getting WarmZilla from concept to reality has taken years and it’s been an interesting journey so far and one that is still in its infancy. We’re really excited to see where the business takes us.
What has been your biggest challenge with embedding a culture of innovation?
I would say the biggest challenge embedding a culture of innovation has been an external one rather than an internal one. We knew what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it, the question was ‘are customers ready for us?’.
We are offering a break from the traditional methods of purchasing a boiler and that innovation can sometimes take a bit of getting used to for consumers. We’re confident that once the business model becomes more familiar that it will be the only way consumers purchase boilers in the future.
What advice would you give to other businesses looking to increase their innovation?
Be customer focused, put yourself in your customers' shoes and ask, ‘how can our business make their life easier?’. When you identify the pain-points customers face then you know where you need to innovate. Also, give your employees the freedom to express their thoughts and to bring new ideas to the table, even if they are not relevant. Ideas that are not relevant sometimes lead on to other areas where your business can be useful and can be adjusted to suit. Employees should be encouraged daily and this will give them the confidence to be more innovative.
What are your plans for the next 2-5 years?
Our plans are to expand our service area over the next year to cover the whole of the UK, giving every household the chance to use our services, and continue to grow into a household name across the UK.
Construction Wales Innovation Index is a major initiative to identify some of Wales' most innovative companies across the construction and built environment sector, looking particularly at the supply chain to highlight the depth of the sector and its relevance to the future economic prosperity of the sector in Wales.
The campaign will showcase nominated companies through inspiring content via a digital campaign and a series of events and debates shining the spotlight on Wales' most purpose driven construction companies and their businesses.
For more info visit https://www.innovation100cw.co.uk/.
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