Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

April 18 2016

David Gordon

Innovation. It's a magical word. It conjures up images of patentable products that customers clamour for and that result in untold revenue growth, of services that enthrall customers and engenders undying loyalty to your company, of operational efficiencies that generate untold millions in productivity improvements and profitability. In other words, nirvana.

Much has been written and discussed regarding innovation for distribution channels, and that “distributors need to innovate to survive.”

In fact, did you know that according to Amazon there are 73,933 business books related to “innovation”? Unfortunately, it is not a new subject.
And with so many books you would think just reading could provide company executives with the answer to their innovation challenges.

Distributors are innovators

The reality is that many distributors are innovators and continue to innovate… for their customers, suppliers and themselves. In many cases, the original innovator within a distributor, manufacturer or manufacturer’s rep was the founder. They found a need (perhaps an unserved market), took a risk, and invested in a business.

Companies have a continual need to innovate. Sometimes it is incrementally, sometimes a major new product / service, sometimes to support a customer’s needs (or a market niche).

And then there are the “ah ha” moments where someone has an epiphany, new products or services are developed and new revenue streams are developed.

Which is more frequent?

Culture drives innovation

Before highlighting potential approaches to becoming more innovative or to addressing organizational challenges, it is important to emphasize a key tenet of innovation: the culture of your company and the personality of the people within your company are the determinants of how innovative your company either is or can be.

Innovation cannot be mandated. Nor can it be structured as a process. It needs to be inherent in your organization and cultivated in an open, safe environment where idea generation and communication is encouraged and where change is desired, expected and acted on. The organization must be decisive, seek to serve customers (internal and external, upstream and downstream) by soliciting feedback, be willing to resource new initiatives, analyze performance and measure activities to determine if defined "success" is achieved. Once achieved, the success should be communicated, recognized and ideally celebrated.

And there is one other foundational criterion... a willingness to take risks. Sometimes it is “bet the farm” types of decisions, other times it is “let's take a chance.”

If you have this type of culture, honestly, then you are ahead of 98% of companies.

If not, it could be a senior management issue, a reluctance of middle management to buy in to initiatives, or it could be your hiring process.

It all starts with people and it takes communication

Innovation takes intellectual curiosity. People need to want to explore change, to find a “better / different” approach to addressing an opportunity or issue.

People within your company need attributes relating to

• risk taking
• initiative
• creativity
• resourcefulness
• attitude

Moe Glenner, president of Entredex, integrates these into exercises to calculate an Innovator’s Predictive Index that helps assess company management and key new hires. Moe is the author of “Selfish Altruism: Managing and Executing Successful Change Initiatives” and “Plus Change: Genesis of Innovation.”

Once people are identified as being “intellectually curious,” they then need to expand their frame of reference to be exposed to ideas and tools from others within the industry, from complementary and non-complementary industries where they can ask, “How could that work for me?”

Throughout my career I've had exposure to over 60 different industries. One thing I've learned is that many companies have similar issues, albeit expressed slightly differently; they use different terminology and have industry specific tools that can be expanded, or adapted, to your industry.

Once you view an issue as industry agnostic, different ideas can be explored and developed. And to get through the naysayers within your organization, use the 5 Whys iterative approach to reach the root case, and perhaps you will get to the "true" reason.

In Part 2 of this article: four ways to expand your frame of reference and generate innovative new ideas.


David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group develops market share and growth strategies for manufacturers and distributors and develops market research. CMG’s specialty is the electrical industry. He also authors an electrical industry blog, www.electricaltrends.com. He can be reached at 919-488-8635 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More in CEW by David Gordon:

Innovation Takes Culture, Not Only Books: Part 2

The Amazon Supply Threat

Selling Lighting or Selling Data?

Are You Uncomfortable? Good.

10 Tips for Taking Share

Is it Time to Hit the Reset Button?

Boosting Performance at Your Webstore

Amazon Upgrades from Supply to Business

Evolving the Role of Marketing Within Your Distributorship

Strategies in Light Observations: Distributor LED Opportunities

Are You Ready To Sell LEDs Differently?

16 Distribution Industry Trends for 2016

Lighting the Way to Demand Creation

Sales Making Excuses?

Converting Emails Into Sales Through Thoughtful Communications

Learning from Amazon and Generating Ideas

Turning Your Staff into a Competitive Advantage

Internet is Impersonal

Sales and Marketing - How Can Joint Sales Calls Become More Effective

Creating Demand to Drive Profitable Growth

Is Your Company a Kool-Aid Drinker?

What Manufacturers (and Their Reps) Don't Know About Distributor Joint Sales Calls

What is Marketing's ROI?

Not All Is Meant for Online

Point of Sale… Profits Lost?





 

 

       Partnering For The Next Step                                                                     

Siemens CanadaWelcome to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit brought to you by Siemens

How quickly can you react to changing conditions and demands in your market? How can you ensure your production will run securely at any time in the future?

Industry’s digital and technological transformation is the answer for meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and market needs.

With the right digitalization and automation solutions, expertise won from practical experience, and a partnership approach that benefits all involved parties.

To explore these possibilities, we’re bringing together top-level speakers, specialists and decision-makers from various industries and experts from Siemens to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit under the motto “Partnering for the next step.”   

This virtual summit will be an interactive digital event featuring first-hand experiences and success stories achieved with industrial digitalization and automation solutions, and cutting-edge technologies.

Join us on July 16 and learn from customers and experts how you can respond efficiently, flexibly and safely to the changing market environment.

To cover as many different time zones as possible, we offer two almost identical live sessions – you can also watch them on demand at your convenience:

Sessions runs from :  9:30 am to 2:15 pm ET (3:30 pm to 8:15 pm CEST)


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John JefkinsBy John Jefkins

In 2011, I started working in the electrical arena and quickly noticed that there was a high employee retention rate within the industry. Today, I regularly engage with Electro-Federation Canada members with 20, 30 and even 40 plus year tenures. Other industries I had worked in previously, such as telecommunications, had higher turnover rates.

Our industry faces an increasing need for talent, with new retirements and product/process innovations and modernization driving the need for specialized roles — some not even known yet.

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Digital Twin MarketA recent Markets & Markets report estimates the Digital Twin market will grow from US$3.8 billion in 2019, to US$35.8 billion per year by 2025, at a CAGR of 45.4%. Digital Twin software is already revolutionizing industries such as healthcare, architecture, aerospace, defence, and automotive and transportation.

Furthermore, the global smart infrastructure market, which includes the Digital Twin sector, is expected to thrive at a considerable CAGR between 2020 and 2025 as demand for the smart infrastructure has been a booming year on year, reports Market Research Explore - details. 

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PNNL StudyBy Craig DiLouie

The U.S. Department of Energy has released the results of a study examining authentication vulnerabilities in connected lighting systems (CLS). Particularly as emerging CLS incorporate distributed intelligence, network interfaces and sensors, they can serve as data-collection platforms that enable a wide range of valuable new capabilities as well as greater energy savings in buildings and cities. However, CLS technology is currently at an early stage of development, and its increased connectivity introduces cybersecurity risks that are new to the lighting industry and must be addressed for successful integration with other systems.

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David GordonBy David Gordon

COVID-19 has heightened the benefit of, and interest in, eCommerce for electrical distributors. Our second and third COVID-19 Electrical Market Sentiment Reports have shown that those with an eCommerce offering have seen online sales increases. Further, from conversations with distributors, their site activity increased. The benefit is that these companies had lower sales declines (and some increases), and were able to better serve their customers.

A further benefit is that their remote workforce had access to an online resource, other than manufacturers, for quick, easy, product research.

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Changing Scene

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2020 q2 Pulse of Lighting FindingsChannel Marketing Group’s 2020 Q2 Pulse of Lighting Report projects that the lighting market, through electrical distribution, contracted by 20%.

The survey, conducted the third week in June, received responses from 164 individuals who equally represented industry stakeholders.

Distributor Performance
Very few distributors reported either flat or positive performance with over 30% reporting declines of over 30% for the quarter.

 

 

 

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EikoEIKO has announced the the introdutction of EiKO Marketplace, a digital storefront, located in the EiKO Portal. Developed to market and sell promotional specials and excess inventory including generational, overstock, and niche products; the EiKO Marketplace presents an opportunity to offer high-quality lighting at incredible savings.

Due to the rapid development and generational changes of LED technologies the timing is perfect to launch the EiKO Marketplace as an outlet to sell high quality, value-priced products.

 

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LevitonLeviton Canada is pleased to announce the nomination of Thomas Supinski as Sales Director for Alberta and the Prairies as of June 1st, 2020, as Julie Marineau will be moving to Montreal along with her family. Julie will be promoted to Vice-President, Retail at Leviton Canada’s head office.

Thomas has been residing in Calgary since 2003 and has a deep understanding of the regional market and its specific needs.

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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  Sonepar is excited to introduce Anju Uddin as the new Marketing Manager for their Ontario ...
Electro-Federation Canada’s Young Professional Network (YPN) is a fantastic tool for industry ...
Sean Bernard is the Intelligent Controls Manager, Canada for Ideal Industries. Sean resides in ...
Christina Huang is a Senior Contracts Manager for Schneider Electric. She has a varied, technical ...
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With over 60-years of experience in the lighting industry, CBC Lighting has established itself as a ...

 

Anju UddinBy Blake Marchand

Sonepar is excited to introduce Anju Uddin as the new Marketing Manager for their Ontario Region! Anju has more than 15 years of experience as a marketing expert, which includes running an independent agency working with a multitude of businesses in various industries and geographies from around the globe. 

With a passion for reinvention and finding success through a commitment to education and innovation, Anju has utilized her exceptional creativity and business acumen to engineer seamless brand experiences...

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