Canadian Electrical Wholesaler


December 13, 2016 

Part 1 of this article reported on research that found most companies go through joint business planning with their major partners, but the process is not optimal. Of the six steps in the process, three function relatively well and three need major improvement. The research was based in part on a survey of manufacturers and electrical distributors, in-depth interviews with key decision-makers and a deep dive into the important topic of rebates, which is also a driver of joint business planning. Here in Part 2, opportunities identified through the research for improving the process.

The research, conducted by Channel Marketing Group in partnership with Verde Associates, identified these three areas for improvements:

1. Topics covered by JBP

·     focus on value-add issues

·     broaden customer needs discussions

·     extend time horizon

2. Quality and granularity of market research used to generate insights

·     regional and trading area-level insights

·     end-customer research

3. Value received from the process

·     meaningful and actionable outcomes

·     minimize efforts/maximize results

4. JPB effectiveness

·     implementation in the field

·     periodic measurement and accountability

What we found is that manufacturers and distributors are looking for more relevant and meaningful topics that truly uncover joint opportunities. This is directly connected to the quality of research that goes into finding these opportunities, especially local market and end-customer research. Increasing the value of the process is of high importance, again, because of its resource intensity, but, more importantly, a lost opportunity to find growth where there is very little of it occurring naturally. And, finally, the effectiveness of the process that comes from measurement, accountability, and holding all parties responsible for results.

In a nutshell, the process does exist and is exercised but it has a ways to go to produce the results that companies want and expect from it.

When asked about top value topics that drive the JBP process, manufacturers and distributors agreed that sales, market share and strategic alignment were the key contributors.

The third area of value centred on customers, specifically customer training, events and account-specific strategies – in essence, all customer engagement and relationship-oriented tactical elements. The focus is clearly tactical. There is an opportunity to extend the discussion to include strategic, long-term objectives, such as customer loyalty, customer acquisition and revenue retention.




Figure 3







Our research showed that rebates have a very special place in the JBP process. In particular, over 50% of distributors feel that planning improves their potential of achieving goals tied to rebates. We discovered that rebate achievement is a “hope” strategy for many rather than a carefully planned and executed plan. We also saw that, in some instances, a rebate is table stakes for manufacturers to engage distribution.

Market research is an underutilized strategic and joint business planning tool. Few use it to uncover opportunities to achieve incremental growth. Resources do exist to facilitate this, however, typically manufacturer sales personnel are not exposed, educated, or trained on the tools or information.

There is also a marketing research dichotomy. Manufacturers think they do a better job leveraging research during the planning process with distributors than distributors feel they do. While distributors were either Dissatisfied or Very Dissatisfied with the market research that manufacturers put into JPB presentations, almost half of distributors feel the research is only adequate. So the issue becomes - how do you amplify knowledge without amplifying costs? The key is to determine what information is needed to address the issue and drive the business and then seek appropriate information. Every industry / market has information available. Sometimes it helps to have a third party to help decipher and find it.

Much opportunity lies in measurement and accountability, as both are integral to a successful JBP. None of the survey participants said that any of their implementations were Extremely Effective. The overall feeling is that while in-field implementation (sales planning) does take place, it could use improvements to really deliver on agreed upon goals (see Figure 4)

Figure 4








On the positive side, it works if the plan is executed correctly and measured consistently and if follow through and periodic reviews takes place.

Our research showed that there is inconsistency in JBP development and execution within a company and nationally. JBP is highly dependent on distributor and manufacturer engagement and can be directly proportional to the level of management involved as well as pre-meeting information sharing. Respondents also pointed out that implementation needs follow-through and accountability, coupled with razor-sharp focus to achieve desired results.

The takeaway from the research is that individual companies that seek above average growth need to change their JBP planning process to capture sales and market share. The question becomes “Are companies committed to making a change or is it lip service?”

 When asked about their willingness to change their joint business planning process for the 2017 planning cycle, the majority of manufacturers and half of distributors said yes. In particular, the following improvement opportunities were identified:

·     more transparency

·     pro-activity

·     more granular information sharing

·     making the process more valuable and selective, implementing a clear set of metrics with rigid periodic reviews

·     require higher efficiency through better preparation and better tools, build in tracking and accountability, and focus on most valuable opportunities

To summarize, here are some recommendations to improve your joint business planning effectiveness:

·     Commit to extract value from planning and to remember that it’s a revenue driver, not an obligation. Without accountability there will be no delivered value and that others will not respect what is not expected… and compensated or recognized. Hope is not a viable strategy.

·     Come to meetings prepared and expect the same of your planning partner.

·     Determine if the meeting objective is revenue generation or profit improvement (or what % each). Research shows that manufacturers always want to focus on sales, whereas distributors are primarily focused on profitability and secondarily on sales growth.

·     Excellent ability to develop and deliver on JBP plans can be a differentiator and reputation builder for both manufacturers and distributors. People, and companies, want to work with those who are committed to helping them grow… and can do it by executing upon a plan.

·     Engage at appropriate levels and drive communications downstream.

·     Remember: data identify, quantify and prioritize opportunities. Discussion determines if there is a desire to pursue them.

·     Consider selective and customized planning approach. Not all “partners” are created equal.

·     Planning must be important to management and be management-driven, otherwise it is usually poorly executed and a waste of time.

The key to JBP? Develop the plan, implement it, measure achievement to identify areas ongoing improvement and you’ll get the planned results.

Read part 1 here:

David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group, a strategic planning, marketing planning and market research firm focused on supporting manufacturers and distributors in the construction and industrial trades. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 919-488-8635.

Victoria Gustafson is a partner at Verde Associates. Verde works with companies to accelerate growth through data-driven decision-making and process improvement. The two collaborate on clients to bring multiple perspectives and skill sets to bear on client challenges.



Economy EmploymentAs a result of widespread measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian economy contracted 11.6% in April, following a 7.5% drop in March. By the end of May, many businesses had begun to adapt to the new reality by shifting to teleworking, reducing hours, laying off staff, applying for government funding or seeking rent relief.

As pandemic-related restrictions were gradually lifted throughout the summer, the business climate began to improve slightly. For example, real gross domestic product grew 1.2% in August, the fourth consecutive monthly increase, which continued to offset the steepest drops in Canadian economic activity on record that were observed in March and April. 

Read More


Swati Vora-PatelBy Swati Vora-Patel

“As a distributor, we need to build capabilities around experiences, data and the technologies that are driving change… It’s important that we listen, experiment and help lead our customers forward.” Chief Marketing Officer, Distributor — from the book Innovate to Dominate: The 12th Edition in the Facing the Forces of Change Series

Mapping your company’s digital transformation begins with an outside-in approach. 

Read More


COVID AirBy Angela Jamieson and Marc Laplante

The importance of clean air has been thrust into the spotlight with the emergence of COVID-19 and the rapidly spreading infections related to it. Examples have emerged around the world showing how aerosols may be playing a role in transmission; the choir practise in Washington State where over 80% of their members were infected (primary or secondary)1 after their final practice before shutting down for COVID restrictions, or the restaurant in Guangzhou, China where COVID-19 was theorized to have spread according to the air movement from an air conditioning system2. 

Read More



Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

When it comes to marketing and customers, some things never change, while some things are always evolving! The parts that never change for marketers are that we need to be where our customers are, when they need us, and with the right information. The parts that are in constant flux are our customers’ buying behaviours and the technologies available to intervene and influence the customer experience.

COVID-19 has forced us all into new habits both personally and in business. For instance, social isolation has caused us to rely more heavily on technology to fill in the gaps. 

Read More


Changing Scene

  • Prev
Schneider Electric announced today the promotion of Adrian Thomas to country ...
The Zigbee Alliance, an organization of hundreds of companies creating, maintaining, and ...
ETIM North America (NA) is pleased to announce that the National Electrical Manufacturers ...
Strong rebound in Q3 2020;Revenue up +1.3% organic - Full Year 2020 targets upgraded...   ...
Power management company Eaton Corporation plc announced that earnings per share were $1.11 for the ...
 We may not be able to celebrate in person this year, but EFC would like to invite you to ...
Since 1945 the Stamm family has proudly owned Powrmatic of Canada. Despite this 75 yearlong history ...
The Stelpro Group, owner of Stelpro, the NorthThe Stelpro Group, owner of Stelpro, the ...
IMARK Canada is pleased to announce that Concord Electric Supply, Concord, ON is a member of IMARK ...
E.B. Horsman & Son is excited to announce EMPOWER, their Employee Share Ownership Plan ...


Zigbee AllianceThe Zigbee Alliance, an organization of hundreds of companies creating, maintaining, and delivering open, global standards for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced an important movement within the Project Connected Home over IP initiative, forming a team dedicated to the development and promotion of the standard for commercial markets.

This move is in alignment with the overall vision for the initiative, which is to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard, simplifying development for manufacturers and increasing compatibility for customers and consumers.

Read More


EatonPower management company Eaton Corporation plc announced that earnings per share were $1.11 for the third quarter of 2020. Excluding charges of $0.05 per share related to acquisitions and divestitures and $0.02 per share related to a multi-year restructuring program, adjusted earnings per share were $1.18.

Sales in the third quarter of 2020 were $4.5 billion. Organic sales were down 9 percent, and the divestitures of the Lighting and Automotive Fluid Conveyance businesses reduced sales by 8 percent, partially offset by 2 percent growth from acquisitions.



Read More


CEW Stelpro flextherm 400The Stelpro Group, owner of Stelpro, is pleased to announce that it has acquired Flextherm, the electric floor heating industry. Flextherm was founded in 1991 by Philippe Charron, who brought a new vision to the market. Sustained work with the standard-setting bodies made it possible to revolutionize the industry by certifying heating cable installations directly on plywood, making the technology accessible to a greater number of people.

Many other innovations, including a complete range of heating cable products and controls and focus on quality and service helped build a strong brand over the years and raised the company to the enviable status it has today. 

Read More


Adrian Thomas and Annette ClaytonSchneider Electric announced today the promotion of Adrian Thomas to country president, Canada, effective January 1, 2021. Mr. Thomas succeeds Susan Uthayakumar, who held the role of country president for the past three years. Mr. Thomas will report to North American CEO & President, Annette Clayton.

Susan Uthayakumar, has been appointed as the global leader for Schneider Electric's Sustainability Business Division, reporting to Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Olivier Blum. 


Read More


EFC 2020 Industry Awards

EFC 2020 Industry AwardsWe may not be able to celebrate in person this year, but EFC would like to invite you to their premier Industry Awards in a new and exciting virtual format. 

This year’s Electro-Federation Canada's 2020 Industry Awards will recognize member recipients through a virtual presentation honouring their strong leadership and commitment to contributing to the health of the industry. EFC's National Advisory Council chairman, Steve Branscombe, Independent Electric Supply, will emcee the Awards on Thursday, December 10th, 2020 at 4:30 pm EST.


Read More



Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Mercury Lighting services national retail, ...
“Never forget to look at the big picture.” These words of advice are from the father of Jason ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Tim King, Southwire Canada’s new President and first Canadian to assume the role, has taken the ...
Bogdan Botoi is Division Manager for Automation and Control with E.B. Horsman out of British ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...

MercuryBy Blake Marchand

Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Mercury Lighting services national retail, multi-residential/commercial property management, energy service companies (ESCO), and auto dealerships.

“From design to specifications, we offer turn-key services that go beyond the typical distributor model,” explained Mercury Lighting Vice President, Eric Tordjman. Their value-added approach leverages well-established supplier relations to help clients find a lighting solution that suits their needs.



Read More


Jason PrevostBy Line Goyette

“Never forget to look at the big picture.” These words of advice are from the father of Jason Prevost, his first mentor, who worked as a marketing specialist. Jason has repeated them often over the past two years during what might have been the hardest personal crisis of his life.

At a time when he was forced to reassess his professional future, his wife and the mother of his two teenage children was diagnosed with a virulent cancer.


Read More


Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2020 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil