150 Years of Watts Water – Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Then we had another national sales meeting just recently online with our Watts rep network for both Canada and the US. Just a good opportunity to touch base with our rep network and make sure that they understand our strategy, our direction, what our expectations are, and ultimately how we can win in the marketplace. Those are always reinvigorating for me, just to get back to spending some time with the team and understanding where we’re winning and why we’re winning and then being able to take those examples and hopefully share that with the entire organization so we can replicate that nationally.

CONTRACTOR: What do you see as the big challenges for the plumbing industry in 2024, and what do you see Watts’ role as a leading manufacturer in meeting those challenges?

Windsor: I think there are two big challenges in our future. First, I think consolidation is going to continue to accelerate, and that’s on every level; at the distribution level, at the rep network level, at the contractor level, and certainly at the manufacturer level.

So scale is going to matter. If you look at the cost to remain relevant today in the marketplace—from the investment required in new product development to the investment required in digitizing your product line to the investment required in training—and they’re becoming incrementally higher every year.

When there’s rapid consolidation, there’s rapid change. As an organization and as an industry, being able to navigate that in a way that we’re able to bring the best solutions and the best product to the end user in the most efficient way necessary, I think is going to be a challenge.

The other challenge we have is labor. I think as an industry we have to think about labor differently. If you look around this industry, it’s a lot of people that look like me, in my fifties. We need to think about how we attract different talent into this organization, into this industry, and at every level.

Because if you look at the dynamics of building engineers and plumbing contractors, the stats are ridiculous. For every two people that enter five people leave. So that’s going to become a huge challenge. I think there’s a lot of good work going into that right now. But we have to accelerate it. We have to figure out how to make this a more appealing industry for people of different races, different genders. We just have to get better at this or talent is going to become a real limiting factor for us.

CONTRACTOR: In that case the big challenge for your company is a combination of outreach and education.

Windsor: One of the things I’m most proud about the journey we’ve taken at Watts is our focus on training. We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars over the last 10 years in our training capabilities. We have five training facilities around the country, our flagship here in North Andover, MA, where we’ll bring in well over a thousand engineers, contractors, wholesalers in for in-person training. And that’s hands-on training along with classroom training.

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