Canadian Electrical Wholesaler



Marc LaplanteJune 14 2016

Marc Laplante

A few years ago I had the honour of sitting on the board of NEMRA (National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association) after having been chair of CEMRA here in Canada. It was a period of immense change for NEMRA. The previous president had retired, the offices moved to Portsmouth NH, a new president was in place, and a big preoccupation that often came up in board meetings was, “How do we change our image?” For those who remember, the NEMRA logo used to be a man with a briefcase. For as long as I can remember, that’s how I saw my father leave to go work every day. “You’re nothing without a nice attaché case,” my dad always said. 

If only my father could see us now. Tablets, smartphones, Cloud-based files, Dropbox, Repfiles, CRMs… you name it, we’ve got it. Not always by choice either. Were did the unwritten rule of “24 hours for a reply to an email” go? Now, no sooner has the client seen the “read reply” in his Inbox then your phone rings: “So,” he says to you, “what do you think?”

Independent reps have had to change dramatically the way they go to market. We’ve changed the way we market and sell our products, but mostly we’ve changed the way we market and sell ourselves to manufacturers, distributors and customers. The independent rep has had to invest huge amounts of money on technology but also on employee training. Product “specialists” are now a common thing in the new era agency. In the competitive market that we live in, knowledge is power. The knowledge we bring to customer presentations is the power that can mean the difference between getting and losing an order. In my previous article (What Is an Independent Manufacturer’s Sales Representative), I said that independent sales reps “live and breathe for the sale, for closing the deal, for getting that PO.” The level of knowledge we have had to develop in the products we represent has increased as dramatically as the technology linked to them. 

Today, customers get on the Internet and educate themselves on business problems, products and solutions, read independent reviews, join communities, and consult peers — all in a matter of minutes. Because of this, the independent reps have had to become much more self-sufficient and less dependant on information being funnelled to them. We go hunting for the information needed to secure that buying decision. Take contractors, for example: time is money. It’s what can make the difference between making money or losing money on a project. They all purchase products at relatively the same price. What can make the difference? Installation time. “How easy is it to install your product? – Click on the link I texted you and it’ll take you to the YouTube video.” 

That being said, there is one thing that has not changed: human relationships. They are still the key to the independent reps success. We have spent decades, and in certain cases, generations, in developing those relationships. Technology is changing at a pace that most of us cannot follow. Our relationships with our manufacturers, distributors and customers may evolve WITH the technology, but not BECAUSE of the technology. Manufacturers will always need people who can help them open that door. Independent reps will always be there to open it for them: with their Bluetooth Ocular contact linked to the infra red sensor on the automatic door opener.

As a manufacturing agent, Marc Laplante of Laplante and Associates represents a full range of products used in the sectors electricity, mechanics and ventilation, as in residential, commercial and industrial and also at the level of original equipment suppliers; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more on Manufacturing in CEW from Marc Laplante below:

What Is an Independent Manufacturer’s Sales Representative


Swati Vora-PatelTalent availability continues to be a key concern among business leaders in the electrical industry: in fact, over 60% of EFC members surveyed said they do not have a robust talent pipeline in place. This pipeline is even further constrained as a result of ongoing employment challenges spurred on by the pandemic.

A global phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation” is underway which reflects a wave of workers who are strongly considering leaving their jobs in search for work that is more closely aligned with their interests with employers who provide flexible accommodations and serve a strong purpose. 

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Building Permits - September 2021The total value of building permits rose 4.3% to $10.1 billion in September, led by Ontario (+6.3%). Construction intentions in the residential sector were up 8.2%, while the non-residential sector decreased 3.2%.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), building permits increased 3.4% to $6.9 billion.

Ontario drives residential permits up

High-value permits for two new condo buildings valued at over $300 million in the cities of Mississauga and Toronto helped push Ontario's multi-family permits up 40.4% to $1.7 billion in September. 

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John KerrBy John Kerr

Consolidation is a natural evolution in any industry: technology changes, customers demand more, and the need to drive costs all contribute to this activity. The Canadian electrical market is mature but opportunities still exist in its related segments.

The reality is we are entering a new stage driven by how we define ourselves and how we respond to customer needs. We all understand segmentation today more than ever and desire to provide end users with greater value. 


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Gross domestic product by industry - August 2021Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.4% in August, led by increases in accommodation and food services, retail trade and transportation. The continued easing of public health restrictions and further reopening across the country increased demand across many close contact service industries.

Overall, 15 of 20 industrial sectors were up as growth in services-producing industries (+0.6%) more than offset a decline in goods-producing industries (-0.1%).


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Changing Scene

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Electro Federation Canada (EFC) is pleased to recognize the 2021 EFC Marketing Award ...
Sean Dunnigan, President of Techspan Industries Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of ...
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This year’s EFC Conference hosted over 500 members from all across Canada for two full days of ...


AD GrowthAD’s Electrical-Canada Division virtually welcomed members and supplier partners for its five-day 2021 Virtual North American Meeting on Oct. 25 - 29, 2021 with the goal of facilitating strategic conversations that help the division devise new ways to stay ahead of the competition.

The event facilitated over 1,200 face-to-face meetings with 40 member companies and 62 supplier companies, cultivating relationship, allowing participants to share best practices and enabling open communication.


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EvolutionExpanding its North American footprint, leading control and automation manufacturer RTI today announced that it has named Evolution Home Entertainment Corp., a wholesale distributor of residential technology products, as the second RTI distribution partner for the Canadian market.

Evolution serves over 500 dealers across Canada, who now have the opportunity to get certified for the full line of RTI smart home control and automation products. With products shipping nationwide from its warehouse in Concord, Ontario, Evolution will also offer training and local dealer support to its dealers installing RTI systems.

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SignifyThird quarter 20211

• Signify's installed base of connected light points increased from 86 million in Q2 21 to 92 million in Q3 21

• Sales of EUR 1,643 million; Comparable Sales Growth of -4.8%, impacted by global supply chain disruptions

• Order book increased by 90% in Q3 21 vs. Q3 20

• LED-based sales represented 83% of total sales (Q3 20: 82%)

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Greg WalkerThe Continental Automated Buildings Association begins a new chapter with the appointment of Greg Walker as CEO, succeeding Ron Zimmer. Greg has been with CABA for almost 8 years working closely with the Board of Directors and leading the CABA research program and general operations. 

Mr. Walker is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with over 15 years of experience working with associations, government agencies, universities, not-for-profit and Fortune 500 organizations. He holds a B.A. and B.Sc. from the University of Windsor and an M.Sc. from Dalhousie University.

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Peers & Profiles

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 This past July, Kerith Richards, who has worked for Service Wire Company for the last seven ...
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In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...



Kerith RichardsBy Alyssa Kerslake

This past July, Kerith Richards, who has worked for Service Wire Company for the last seven years, was selected as one of tED Magazine's prestigious "30 under 35" winners. 

"I was so surprised and totally honored. It meant a lot to me that my boss, and my company, thought highly of me to nominate me - and then to be compared and chosen from the other surely incredible nominees was pretty cool, too," said Richards of earning the distinction. "I was running out of time, I'll be 35 at the end of this year, but I feel like I'm just getting started in this industry." 

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