Western Sales Company Newsletter

May | 2020 Issue

Hello and a safe and happy May! How are you holding up? We hope you and your family and friends are continuing to stay safe and healthy and as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.

We once again would like to take the time to express our deep appreciation to all essential services workers, including in our own industry with plumbers, contractors, and the businesses that provide services and products to these workers. We are so grateful for you all. And as always, whether you are working at an essential services business or working from home, we are here to help in any way we can, including tech and sales support, training, project quotes, warranty parts & literature, and anything else you might need.

And speaking of training, did you get your fill of product training in April? We hope not, because in this month's issue we have oodles and oodles, including webinar invites, presentations, videos, brochures, and more – all focused on training. We're going completely training-crazy! (And, in the second month of shelter-in-place, a little stir-crazy. And possibly a tiny bit crazy-crazy. Just kidding. Mostly. Oof.)

Anyway, we know you're very eager to get on with all of this product training, so here are your "I don't have time for this" highlights:

  • Clean & Hygienic Presentations from GROHE & American Standard
  • Updated 10-Minute "Expert" Training Brochures
  • "Top 5" Videos from GROHE, American Standard & DXV
  • MTI Configurator Training
  • Training, Training, Training

All of this and more, below.


GROHE Hygienic Products Training Presentation | As we all know, plumbing and the plumbing industry have always held an important role in providing safety, comfort, and hygiene in the home and in public spaces – from delivering clean water to removing waste – and now of course hygienic safety is on our minds and in our realities more than ever. Since the bathroom and kitchen include some of the most frequently touched surfaces in the home and out in public, our industry can be a valuable source for solutions, such as hands-free and other hygienic products. GROHE has shared a really helpful presentation on clean and hygienic products, which you can download here.

Updated 10-Minute "Expert" (GROHE Edition) Training Brochure | In the spirit of this month's training theme (and also because it was time anyway), we updated our GROHE 10-Minute "Expert" training brochure – which you can download here.

GROHE "Top 5" Faves | GROHE offers some informative and (mercifully) short product training videos. You've probably seen a few – and if you haven't, you're missing out: yes, Gray Uhl's famous "Top 5" videos. Here are some of our faves:
LIXIL & Community Support

With all of the stressful news everyone gets every day, we want to take the opportunity to share a little uplifting news from our industry as well. LIXIL, the parent company of GROHE, American Standard & DXV, has been manufacturing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for healthcare professionals in the R&D plant in New Jersey. You can read more in the letter from the LIXIL CSO, Chris Brown.

Online Training Opportunities

Just so you know, your Western rep and/or our manufacturers' trainers would love to do an online training presentation on any particular brand, product category, or subject just for you and your team. Additionally, some of our brands have been pre-scheduling online trainings over the last few weeks. Just get in touch with your Western rep to learn about prescheduled trainings or to schedule something for you and your team.

American Standard

American Standard Hygienic Products Training Presentation | As you read above in the GROHE section, there is a substantial increase in the need for and awareness of clean and hygienic products. The good news is American Standard offers a lot of hygienic product options. But as such, it's a hefty presentation so make sure you caff up and get comfy. You can download the presentation here.

Price Book Corrections | So, um, yeah. Some few (dozens) of items were regrettably incorrectly marked as discontinued in the price book, mostly in the thermostatic shower category. Unfortunately, this error was not discovered before the price books were sent to the printer, so American Standard has also issued a correction booklet. You can find the updated pricing documents and list of affected SKUs below:
Updated 10-Minute "Expert" (American Standard Edition) Training Brochure | American Standard offers so many products and so many options, you can't really cover it in 10 minutes. Just look at their phone book– I mean, price book. But of course that hasn't stopped us from trying. Hot off the presses for May, you can a look at our updated version here.

American Standard "Top 5" Faves | Guess what? American Standard also offers fantastic "Top 5" videos, that's what. But you already knew that. Here are our top five Top 5s (see what we did there?) if you want to check them out:
Commercial Callouts Video Training | Speaking of Top 5 videos, American Standard also does a fantastic video series called "Commercial Callouts" (on the topic of commercial products, oddly enough). Should you have a commercial project, you can take a look at the videos here.


MTI Configurator Training | MTI's counter-sinks are ground breaking in the industry with what they can offer in quality, features, and especially customization. Did you know you can actually design your own counter-sink? Well, you can – and if you check out this pre-recorded training presentation you can learn how, using the MTI counter-sink configurator. 

MTI SculptureStone Presentation | And while you're at it, you might as well learn a little something about what the counter-sinks are made of: SculptureStone. Check it out here.

10-Minute "Expert" (MTI Edition) Training Brochure | And if presentations aren't your thing, you can always take a look at the MTI 10-Minute "Expert" training brochure here.


Geberit Tech Videos | Geberit does technical and installation videos better than most – which makes sense, because they do a lot of things better than most. Your installer customers will really appreciate how helpful these can be when it comes to installation, trouble-shooting and maintenance – but honestly, our favorite part is the animation. Adorbs! Take a look at their collection of videos here.

10-Minute "Expert" (Geberit Edition) Training Brochure | It's not as cute as the installation videos – but we did update it, so here's the current (non-cute) Geberit 10-Minute "Expert" training brochure.

Design with the Best | Also, if you missed Geberit's webinar on Design with the Best, you can see the presentation here.

Amber's May Fave

What’s training without a little eye candy to go with it? Despite what some Mr. or Mrs. Homeowners may think, plumbing isn’t simply about function, but also about aesthetic. A toilet is a toilet is a toilet... and goodness I do hope that whatever model you are quoting for your client has longer than a one-year warranty, and comes with the reassurance of performance, technical support, and an ease of installation – but what about the style? How can one possibly narrow down all the options of fixtures and brass out there to help the client build their dream space? If you find yourself with a little more time on your hands these days, or you simply need to go down the rabbit hole of good design and dang good inspiration, might I suggest popping over to the various Pinterest pages of our incredible brands? There they have loaded up images of inspiration, their own products, installations, project work, etc., to help spark the design imagination (my favorite is DXV).


10-Minute "Expert" (DXV Edition) Training Brochure | There wasn't a ton of updating in the DXV 10-Minute "Expert" brochure this round, but there will be soon (Spoiler Alert: Belshire Collection). But if you haven't had a chance to learn about DXV yet, it will all be new to you, so take a look here.

DXV "Top 5" Faves | And if you want a little more training on the industry's most gorgeous brand – and who wouldn't – here are our fave Gray Uhl's Top 5 training videos.


10-Minute "Expert" (Steamist Edition) Training Brochure | Steam isn't difficult to spec once you learn how – and there's no time like the present. And even if you already know everything about steam (of course you do, you smarty-pants you), maybe you need to brush up on Steamist's product offering? Either way, we just so happen to have your updated 10-Minute "Expert" training brochure right here.

Steamist Training Presentations | Also, in case you missed these in the past, here's Steamist's complete listing of online training presentations.

Trim to the Trade

Product of the Month: Finish-Matched Angle Stops | So you know when you're finishing up a beautiful bathroom project with a gorgeous designer finish across every detail – from trip lever to overflow – except for the angle stop sticking out like a chrome-plated sore thumb? Annoying, right? Well, you know we're not going to point out a problem without offering the solution (we only do that to our sales managers). Anyway, we just happen to know that Trim to the Trade offers angle stops in designer finishes. I know, right? Oh. Em. Gee. Check them out here.

Derek's Tech Tip: GROHE SmartControl &
the Inconveniently-Named "A" Port

[Editor's note: This month’s issue covers an installation error that is one of Derek's pet peeves, so he took over for Tom this month.]

SmartControl is extremely adaptable in its application, but this flexibility also creates some installation complexity. If an installer chooses to plumb by the seat of their pants, there is one particularly easy error, and one that is particularly painful to recover from: Plumbing a single- or dual-function layout using the A outlet port.

Yes, I checked the German alphabet, and A still comes first, but that’s not how this works. Let me start with a sad story.

So imagine you've installed this groovy new GROHE shower valve rough-in for the SmartControl (the SmartBox) for a shower design with a shower head and hand shower. First you remove the cover from the mudguard (noting the interesting chart with A, B, & C and icons), trim the mudguard flush with the finished wall, insert the flow control on the back of the thermostatic cartridge, and assemble and mount the dual-function trim (in Brushed Cool Sunrise™). Then you install the shower head and the hand shower, and you go turn the water main on. As you walk back to the bathroom and push the left button on the valve trim,  you expect the hand shower to turn on – but you get both the hand shower and the shower head. “Curious,” you think. So you try the right hand button, and it does... nothing??!! “Oh bother,” you say (or perhaps some other choice words). Repeated pushing and twisting only confirms that the hand shower and shower head seem to be controlled by the left volume control, and nothing seems to be controlled by the right one. When you call your Western rep of choice to complain about this defect, she will tell you that the problem is not with the product. You have used the A port to plumb the hand shower.

“But,” you protest, “A comes before B!”

“That’s not how any of this works,” she replies. “You really only have one option to fix it: Open the wall, re-plumb the hand shower to port C, and plug port A."

How did you end up here, watching your profits dribble away? You missed page 2 of the installation instructions where it tells you to look at the charts on pages 11 -14 that show you which port you should use (and which you should plug) for specific function layouts. As you can see, there is no version of a single- or dual-function layout where you should plumb out the A port. (As noted before, in case you miss the charts on pages 11-14, GROHE helpfully also prints the same information on the mudguard cover.)

But why, you ask? Fantastic question. The short answer is "because GROHE said so." The long answer didn't survive revisions because it was approaching encyclopedic lengths – so it's a story for another time. Suffice it to say, skipping instructions isn't worth the time is "saves," as anyone who's ever had to re-plumb a shower can tell you.

Okay, end of story. Just remember: With the GROHE SmartControl, “A” only comes after “B” and “C”!

Question: Your client loves the gorgeous look of the SmartControl, and wants a shower head and hand shower. According to the chart or instructions, which shower outlet should be plumbed to which ports?

Send the correct answer to by May 25, 2020, and receive a $5 Starbucks card.

Thanks for reading our newsletter!

Best regards,

Lauren Slankard
Western Sales Company
Copyright © 2020 Western Sales Co, All rights reserved.

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