Roofing manufacturer Owens Corning has unveiled its Distributor Academy, a free collection of webinars, videos and other resources to help distributors enhance their business and improve customer relations.

Launched this week, Distributor Academy is a new section of its Owens Corning University [OCU] platform dedicated to roofing distributors and suppliers. Jon Gardner, senior leader, strategic partnerships and learning and development, said the aim is to help distributors become a knowledgeable resource for their contractor customers, whether it’s assisting with product choices or scaling their business.

“This is 100% focused on helping our distributor partners advance their skillset,” he said. “Distributor Academy is taking all of the successes we’ve had with our contractors and building out a platform exclusively for our distributors.”

Available online 24/7, courses are broken down into multiple sections, including: an overview of Owens Corning and its products; videos of experts discussing Owens Corning products; insights into the latest roofing industry trends; technical documents; and application videos containing proper installation and job site tips.

While many in the industry are likely familiar with these concepts, Gardner said in distribution, you often have new employees coming into the business that know nothing about roofing, let alone about Owens Corning. Distributor Academy is meant to give them a better understanding of the roofing industry and help them become more productive in their respective branches.

“Our distributor partners, they’re representing thousands of lines, and their salespeople have to be experts in basically everything that’s on those shelves, and that’s a daunting task,” he said. “We start off big with Owens Corning, we get a little deeper with the product and the system performances and what that’s all about.”

The meatiest portion of the academy, with more than 60 resources, is titled, “Helping Your Contractors Succeed.” The section offers ways roofing distributors can become a go-to source for customers with business-building tips and product insights. It covers everything from lead generation, drones, and hiring advice to what virtual tools can boost their business.

“Distributor partners can learn more about the systems, the resources, the tools … and then have better conversations with contractors to understand where their pain points might be and marrying them or bridging the gap between Owens Corning resources and what that contractor’s problems are,” Gardner said. “The more that we can help our contractor and distributor partners, the more successful we’ll be collectively.”

Along with the online academy, Owens Corning University includes live and on-demand webinar series. A library of on-demand webinars is also available.

In September, Owens Corning released its revamped “2.0” version of its OCU for contractors, providing both new content and capabilities. These included tracking, so-called “smart snacks” of content that take 15 minutes or less to complete, and a vault for owners to upload their own learning content.

OCU content is free of charge and available to all members of the Owens Corning Roofing Contractor Network. Contractors in the Owens Corning Roofing Contractor Network can access the new OCU here