Hamilton’s multi-tier training programme is a key component of its supply chain relationship strategy.
The growing smart controls market offers considerable revenue potential for both wholesalers and installers alike. Yet, there is still much confusion and uncertainty over the installation and sales opportunities of smart lighting control. Hamilton’s training program has been designed to address this and to accelerate system uptake to the financial benefit of both parties.
Hamilton’s training program is designed to benefit three primary audiences:
Wholesalers – PUSH – enabling the wholesaler to have the confidence to assess each customer’s smart controls project and to recommend a solution – creating a valuable sales opportunity.
Installers – PULL – to dispel the myth that the smart controls sector is only open to those installers that poses unique system programming skills, creating a new business revenue stream.
Apprentices/Trainees – NURTURE – to educate and support the next generation of qualified installers and in doing so developing future system sales through the wholesaler.
1. An Induction (‘have-a-go!’) – complicated installation and the need for unique programming skills was identified as the foremost objection to system uptake. The best way to dispel this myth was to experience it for yourself. Hamilton adopted a soft approach by inviting wholesalers/installers to participate in its Smart Lighting Control Challenge at ELEX shows during 2017/18.
– Visitors were challenged to wire one dimmer pack and one control plate in a time trial. The quickest time was 3 mins 41 secs, demonstrating the system’s simplicity and confirmed that no specialist programming skills were needed.
Result: Over 80 wholesalers/installer took the challenge of which 65% requested further and more detailed system training.
2. FREE Training Courses @ Hamilton, Mere.
Fuelled in part by the success of the Smart Lighting Control Challenge @ ELEX, Hamilton provides FREE classroom-based training sessions at its site in Mere, Wilts.
Installers – The training course is an introduction to smart lighting control and audio solutions and is designed to help expand their service and business revenue.
Wholesalers – The course is also designed to support and help them explain the advantages and system benefits in a way that’s easy to pass on to the installer.
Both groups learn how to select the right system components, install Hamilton’s plug-and-play 4-channel solution, and configure the system for lighting, audio or both.
Hamilton has experienced unprecedented interest and bookings for the course; despite only advertising one session per month, the level of interest allows four sessions each month (every Wednesday). Places are allocated on a ‘first come first serve basis’. Attendees will receive a course completion certificate to confirm that they’ve been trained on the Hamilton system.
3. Free Training Session @ Branch
@Wholesaler training is delivered by Hamilton’s mobile demonstration vehicle (MDV). The MDV can be pre-booked to attend branch contractor days where both wholesalers and installers can undertake system training. As well as smart lighting control and multi-room audio solutions, the MDV is kitted out with our new-to-market circuit protection options, as well as a portfolio of new electrical wiring accessories. At least one member of Hamilton’s training team accompanies the sales team on branch visits to ensure all system questions are answered on the day.
4. FREE Training Display Boards @ Branch
An installer can spend anywhere between five minutes and a couple of hours in a branch – a captive audience and sales opportunity. Product training boards at the wholesaler have proved very beneficial, often leading to a request for more detailed product training and/or a confirmed sale.
5. Training for Apprentices/Trainees
Alongside the above training courses and in-branch wholesaler activities, Hamilton is also working to build relationships with further education colleges, supporting those that run electrical installation courses and apprenticeships with educational aids.
For example, in partnership with local wholesaler Grant & Stone Hemel Hempstead, Hamilton is supplying West Herts College with purpose-built smart control wiring boards for use during their electrical training courses. These interactive demo boards allow the 90 apprentices – typically aged 16-18 – to learn how to wire Hamilton’s Smart Lighting Control and Multi-Room Audio systems and help them gain experience and confidence in wiring smart control solutions.
These training boards feature a mock-layout of a house with LED lamps positioned in various rooms. Attached to the board is a 4-channel Smart Dimmer pack as well as a 2-channel audio pack. The apprentices can wire up various circuits in the house as requested and control the system using a push-button or touchscreen control plate. There is also the option to download the iOS/Android app and control the system with a swipe of their finger.
These trainees have been brought up in the age of the Internet, so technology is less intimidating and less of a barrier, but we want to make sure they have the latest skills and can utilise them as they progress within the industry – today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s sales pipeline at the wholesaler!!!
6. Training for College Lecturers/Instructors
Continuing its ongoing initiative to support the next generation of professional electricians with training and education, Hamilton has confirmed its 2019 partnership with SPARKS and participation in three regional SPARKS events. Hamilton will be running a training session on its smart controls system to college staff as part of the ‘Meet the Lecturer’ event programme, which provides a unique opportunity to engage with those teaching young apprentices their trade.
Hamilton will present at the following events:
• 22 January 2019 – South West – 10 Lecturers attending
• 24 January 2019 – Wales – 24 Lecturers attending
• 21 February 2019 – South East – 11 Lecturers attending
7. Further ongoing training activities…2019
Hamilton continues to support its wholesale customers in 2019:
– Newly refurbished training centre due to open in spring 2019 with double the capacity,
– Hamilton is adding two new Mobile Demonstration Vehicles (MDVs) to the fleet.