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Moen's Thoughtful Design Process Delivers

Striving to meet the wants and needs of installers and end-users is a winning formula.

Moen’s Thoughtful Design Process Delivers

It used to be that as long as a pipe and faucet were watertight, not much else mattered. Those days are long gone and today, kitchen and bathroom fixtures can do so much more. The latest plumbing products hold and deliver water just as they’re supposed to, but also offer more features, are available in styles and platforms to fit any space, and most importantly for plumbers, are faster and easier to install and service.

Driving this evolution is the principle of thoughtful design, a vision the team at Moen Incorporated û the number one faucet brand in North America û keeps at the forefront of its new product development process. The principle dates from 1937, when Al Moen, founder of the company, burned his hands using separate hot and cold faucet taps. There had to be a better way, he reasoned; there was, and he invented it: the first single-handle mixing faucet. With that, Moen gave the world the gift of warm water and the idea of thoughtful design was born.

Thoughtful Design: What Works Best for Plumbers …and Their Customers

“Thoughtful design considers fully all of the different aspects of how a consumer interacts with a product,” explains Jack Suvak, senior director of Consumer & Market Insights for Moen. “It’s making sure that we’re launching the most meaningful mix of innovation, benefits, performance and installation features in the end product, so that consumers and the trade are able to have an experience that has been deliberatively and thoughtfully crafted.”

The result is faucets in styles and designs that consumers want and need, valves and controls that are as easy to install as they are to use, and much more.

Moen’s most recent example of thoughtful design in installation can be found within its new freestanding tub-filler faucets. Freestanding tubs continue to grow in popularity with both consumers and designers. To make the installation of this new “must-have” in the bathroom easier and more secure, Moen has developed a proprietary installation system to accompany its new floor-mounted tub fillers.

“Moen’s installation system significantly reduces the ‘wobble’ that typically accompanies other freestanding tub fillers currently on the market,” said Mike Reffner, Wholesale group product manager at Moen. “Instead of leaving it up to the installer to secure materials and develop their own bracket system, Moen’s was thoughtfully designed for ease of installation and provides stability and adjustability to the product. The innovative adjustable mounting bracket system provides an efficient and predictable solution for installers.”

The M•PACT® Common Valve System is another product within Moen’s thoughtful design portfolio. What’s easier than changing a light bulb? Moen has parleyed that idea into M•PACT, where changing a bath or shower faucet style is just as simple. After installing an M•PACT valve, plumbers, designers or consumers can change the faucet at any point in the decorating or construction process û or switch to a different style or finish û without replacing any plumbing. Since the changes can be made above the deck or in front of the wall, it takes less time and money to install new bathroom fixtures, keeping plumbers more profitable.

Flushmount body sprays are another thoughtful design innovation. The fixtures, with modern looks, fit cleanly against a wall, minimizing trim and accessories that extend into shower space. Without the clutter, flushmount body sprays provide for more generous water coverage. A simplified installation process û with all of the necessary components provided by Moen û makes flushmount units attractive to installers, as well. Adjustable mounting brackets simplify the alignment of body sprays to meet the needs of the shower configuration, and the bracket and body sprays fit within standard two-by-four construction. The looks and performance of flushmount body sprays mean happy consumers, and simple installation means that plumbers can move quickly to the next job.

Innovations Keep Coming, and Strengthen the Plumber-Consumer Bond

It’s obvious how innovations such as the tub filler installation system, M•PACT and flushmount body sprays demonstrate the value of Moen’s thoughtful design process to plumbers, as well as their customers.

“When working with our products, plumbers see how much effort has gone into trying to make these products easier to install,” explains Andrea Conroy, senior director of Wholesale marketing, Moen. “They don’t get callbacks from their customers because something is broken or doesn’t meet their needs.”

And the innovations don’t end there.

Moen brought hands-free convenience to the kitchen sink with its line of MotionSenseÖ faucets. áThese products utilize advanced sensors to detect movement in two sensing zones, setting water flow in motion, as if on command. “MotionSense was created to respond directly to consumers' behaviors and preferences in the kitchen," explains Suvak. "With the wave of a hand or by placing a cup beneath the spout, you experience a faucet that intuitively understands exactly what you are trying to do, and responds immediately to your needs."

The installation of a MotionSense faucet is just as simple as operating one. Each is straightforward to install, having very few components and no complex sub-assemblies, which saves time during the process. The battery pack is housed conveniently under the sink, for easy access and quick replacement. But Moen didn’t stop there: a special valve design fully supports manual and digital modes, meaning the hands-free feature works any time û even when the handle is in the "off" position. It also means that the faucet will always function in manual modeà even if it loses power.

In the bath, thoughtful design is also a driver for Moen’s ioDIGITAL® line of shower and bath products, which include a simple interface that allows users to set and maintain personalized water temperature and flow with digital precision. Sounds like a great idea, but isn’t installation difficult? Not at all.

ioDIGITAL requires only one valve per system, and includes push-fit connectors that work easily with a wide array of plumbing materials like PEX, CPVC and copper. In addition, all ioDIGITAL valves fit within two-by-four framing, and plug into a standard 110-v power outlet. The shower or bath controller can be installed as far as 30 feet from the valve, providing flexibility in valve location and easing the installation process. With ioDIGITAL, maximum allowable temperature can be set via a dial control, saving time over calibrating a standard thermostatic cartridge found in mechanical valves. In addition, the controller is easy to program, uses very few components and can be installed in just a few steps.

These are just a few of the ways Moen demonstrates its commitment to thoughtful design û creating innovative products that benefit customers while easing installation. This attention to the needs of both users and installers not only simplifies plumbing tasks while delivering looks, reliability and performance that consumers love, but strengthens the customer-plumber bond.

“Thoughtful design is about how trade professionals build credibility and trust with customers,” concludes Mike Pickett, vice president of global strategic development for Moen. “When a builder, showroom consultant or a plumber makes a recommendation to a consumer, it’s really important that the product delivers a great experience to the user.”