10 Technology Trends for HVACR Distributors in 2024

10 Technology Trends for HVACR Distributors in 2024

Technology is an ever-growing element of improving customer experience and corporate profitability for a distributor. The days of only having an ERP and the equivalent of MS Office on a server are gone. Nowadays every function within the business benefits from technology and essentially there is now “an app for that” inferring if you can conceive it, there is technology that does it (and for things you haven’t thought of.)

Investing in technology is no longer optional. It’s a requirement to provide better service to customers, better tools to associates to help them gather more information faster and more accurately while making them more productive, and it’s necessary to improve corporate profitability (assuming well implemented and utilized.)

The challenge, however, is differentiating on what is necessary vs desired, determining the bandwidth of staff to implement and be trained so that they can take advantage of the tools, and knowing if the technology investment should be implemented short-term (1-2 years) or longer-term.

Further, there is a difference between being on the cutting edge, bleeding edge, leading edge, or being a follower.

Infor is a leader in distribution technology and a partner with many HVACR distributors. I asked Will Quinn, Infor’s Director, Industry Solution & Strategy, for the top 10 technology trends distributors should be tracking, both short-term and over the longer horizon.

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I’m excited to share insights on the ten influential technology trends anticipated for 2024 in the HVACR distribution industry. These trends are divided into short-term trends impacting sales and profits in the current year and longer-term trends shaping the industry over the next 3-5 years.

Short-Term Trends for 2024:

  1. Cloud Computing: The adoption of cloud computing allows for scalable infrastructure, leading to cost savings and improved collaboration. Distributors can quickly respond to market demands and manage inventory more effectively.
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML are revolutionizing sales forecasting and customer service. Predictive analytics enables better stock management, while AI-driven chatbots provide 24/7 customer support, driving sales and enhancing customer satisfaction.
  3. E-commerce Platforms: With the rise of online shopping, robust e-commerce platforms are essential. They offer customers a seamless purchasing experience, leading to increased sales and customer loyalty.
  4. Hyper-Personalization Tools: Leveraging customer data, distributors can provide personalized recommendations and promotions, significantly boosting sales conversion rates.
  5. Machine Vision: In warehousing, machine vision systems improve accuracy and speed in order picking, reducing errors and returns, thus enhancing profitability.

Long-Term Trends (2025 and beyond):

  1. Internet of Things (IoT): IoT devices will enable real-time tracking of goods, predictive maintenance, and enhanced operational efficiency.
  2. Blockchain Technology: Blockchain will ensure transparency and security in supply chain management, fostering trust and reducing fraud.
  3. 3D Printing: As 3D printing becomes more accessible, distributors can offer on-demand manufacturing, reducing inventory costs and waste.
  4. Autonomous Vehicles and Drones: These technologies will transform logistics, offering faster and more cost-effective delivery options.
  5. Augmented Reality (AR): AR will enhance the customer buying experience by allowing them to visualize products in their own space before purchasing. (And some manufacturers are using it today!)

Failing to adopt these technologies poses significant risks. Distributors may face reduced market competitiveness, inefficiencies, and a decline in customer retention. It’s crucial to embrace these innovations to stay ahead in the evolving market landscape.

Infor’s technology solutions are well-positioned to support the HVACR distribution industry in leveraging the influential technology trends anticipated for 2024 and beyond. With its industry-specific cloud ERP solutions, Infor can help distributors embrace cloud computing, providing the agility and scalability needed to adapt to market changes and manage operations more efficiently.

Infor’s commitment to innovation is evident in its integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) within its platform. These capabilities can enhance predictive analytics for sales forecasting and inventory management, as well as improve customer service through AI-driven tools.

The company’s CloudSuite solutions are designed to support the growing e-commerce demands, offering a robust platform that can handle the complexities of online sales and customer engagement. Infor’s focus on user experience and data science ensures that distributors can offer hyper-personalized experiences to their customers, driving sales and loyalty. Machine vision is another area where Infor’s technology can contribute, particularly in warehouse management and order fulfillment processes, to improve accuracy and efficiency.

By partnering with Infor, distributors in the HVACR  industry can not only keep pace with current technological advancements but also prepare for future trends. Infor’s solutions offer a pathway to digital transformation, ensuring that distributors who invest in these technologies can achieve increased sales and profitability while mitigating the risks associated with a rapidly evolving market landscape.

This overview highlights the transformative potential of technology in the HVACR distribution industry. By leveraging these trends, distributors can achieve increased sales and profitability while mitigating the risks of market disruption.


A lot to process. Some hopefully are on your roadmap and I’m sure some are not. Depending upon your company size and organizational structure, I’d suggest

  1. Review the list
  2. Identify 2-4 that may be of interest
  3. Assign an individual, or a team, to learn more about your selections.
  4. Have a “report out” to discuss findings and determine if some of these tools make sense for you.

Some other technology topics I would suggest adding to your “homework”, and some of these could be delegated to departments, include:

  1. AI
    1. There is much activity in this space. Some can be described as functionality via subscription-based tools (nominal cost) that are standalone or can be used with ChatGPT.
      1. Consider, there are services where you can upload a 100 page document and have it summarized into a few pages, in seconds. Or upload a video, have it transcribed and then summarized. Or graphic tools. Which tools are beneficial for various departments, especially to support research and marketing.
    2. Company-specific initiatives to support pricing, inventory management, warehouse management and more.
  2. CRM / Marketing Automation
  3. Data Analytics
    1. There are many tools you can use to extract the data, and perhaps to do projections if the right variables are integrated. The key, however, is integrating the right analysis and understanding of what the data says. Someone once said “Data is great, but data aggregated is information. Information, when analyzed, becomes knowledge. Knowledge, when acted upon, can be effective and powerful.” Don’t like data analytics create paralysis by only becoming more information to “consider.”

The big takeaway from Will’s input is that there is much going on in the technology space. Keeping your “eye” on the tools and understanding how they can help drive your sales and profitability, is no longer solely the role of IT. Everyone is now a technology observer, influencer, researcher, and user. Stay informed.

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