Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Rick McCarten

October 13, 2017

By Rick McCarten

Fall is the best time to eat apples. They are great until mid-October and then they transform back into grocery store apples: less crisp, less tart, and softer. The importance of timing is also true for corn. My father used to say the best corn is steamed minutes after being picked, because when the cob is taken from the stalk, the sugars immediately start turning into starch.

In fact, the time factor is important for all living things. Once they are plucked and put on a shelf, they begin to degrade. Their value, their nutritional content, diminishes.

Let’s take this a step further and apply the same notion to data. Before data are “plucked,” they are a living thing. Once pulled from their source, they too lose their freshness.

Here’s an example: as of 2:45 pm on Saturday, a local apple orchard sold 305 bags of apples. These data are captured. Then at 3:45 pm on the same day, the sales numbers went up 15%. The first bit of information is informative, but it is not as “fresh” as the next reading at 3:45 pm.

Four hours later, the 2:45 pm sales data lose even more significance, and at closing time when total sales for the day are calculated, the older data are no longer significant. At the end of the week, the mid-day sales data mean even less, and less again at the end of the month, until you reach a point where the data become like an apple past its time, and just need to be discarded.

One of the most important services Electro-Federation Canada provides is data. I know that because our members tell us. Members continually rate our statistical program as the most valuable service. We provide monthly sales to manufacturers, and distributors receive quarterly sales totals. Companies use the data to analyze market share, observe overall growth or decline, and look for trends.

The collection of data is about to change. Take super computers, faster speeds, more algorithms and the new potential for data collection, and the detailed information back to you is phenomenal.

For years, Epicor, an ERP solutions provider, has been offering a service called Vista. Vista allows sales data to be collected and downloaded nightly to a central location. The “bot” in the system collects the sales and UPC of an item. This is a select service for a distributor and its main suppliers, but now that ability can be taken nationally and all distributors can have their sales data downloaded to a central repository.

In theory, if all distributors allow access to their sales, just think what would be possible. Manufacturers would be able to receive next day end-customer sales by geographic location. They could also see their end customer market share broken down by product description. Point-of-sale information would replace branch transfer. Next day market share would replace last month’s data. Sales and marketing programs would provide real-time results.

Distributors would get real-time market share and be able to relate cause and effect much more closely. They would be able to work with their suppliers in real time on success and failures.

Sounds very interesting, but how do you get everyone to participate? Our industry, and many industries like us, have been very reluctant to share sales information. But now we are in the digital age and that changes everything. The value of fresh data exponentially overrides stale data, or even worse, unused data.

The issue is not about exposure, but rather about competition. If we do not utilize the latest technology to improve our customer value and efficiency, then someone else will, and they will end up competing with us.

Our sister organization, the National Association of Electrical Distributors, is now embarking on this project. They are well backed by the industry, both distributors and manufacturers, to get a data system, as described above, in place for the electrical industry in America.

In Canada, the time is right to set aside concerns of exposure and begin to build a system that will keep providing “crisp” data to our members so we can leverage real market opportunities, avoid data obsolescence and remain competitive.

Rick McCarten is VP, Operations, Electro-Federation Canada.

David Gordon

Over the past few months as we’ve sat in strategy development meetings with distributors, reviewed distributor purchasing information, and talked to manufacturers’ reps and contractors, we’ve seen a purchasing trend that is roiling the industry. The trend, which mirrors what is happening in lighting with “unfamiliar brands,” is accelerated growth and acceptance of less familiar brands for infrastructure type products (electrician supplies, boxes, fittings, etc … consumables and products that go within the wall). This then begs the questions, “What is the value of a manufacturer’s brand,” and “What are the implications for manufacturers and distributors?”

Many have seen this as driven by...

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As part a family company, I have heard my father talking about business ever since I was a little boy. Although it had always interested me, I had never thought I would end up working alongside my father and my uncle in the company my grandfather started a long time ago.

I had been working in sales ever since I was 16 years old in many different markets than the one I was about to enter, but I thought it would be relatively easy to handle. Very quickly I started noticing the challenges of being a 22-year-old sales rep for electrical products entering a world where most of the manufacturers’ agents had been in the business for a long time.

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Changing Scene

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Do you know an industry member who has greatly contributed to the Canadian electrical industry and ...
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Pilz Canada has added Marcus Graham to its family. Marcus is now serving a wide base of customers ...
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Effective April 24, 2017, Dave Syer will report directly to CEO Roger Little, and will be a member ...

Peers & Profiles

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  Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & ...
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I didn’t wake up one day and go, “I want to work for my dad!” Actually, it was ...
    Ouellet Canada is celebrating 50 years in the Electrical Heating ...
  On February 27th Lumen opened their 36th branch in Ottawa, Ontario. ...
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Laura Dempsey

Owen Hurst

Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for over 15 years, and is a member of the BCEA U40 network of young professionals. She lives in Langley, BC and is proud of her position and work with E.B. Horsman, particularly as she is the second Dempsey generation to work for the company.

Laura’s mother Shelly has worked at E.B. Horsman for over 25 years, and instilled in Laura a determination to succeed. Laura followed in her mother’s footsteps after witnessing how much her mother enjoyed her work and the people she works with at E.B. Horsman.

Read more: Laura Dempsey

Looking Back

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  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...
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  The public’s strong interest in energy-saving products should continue in the ...
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Electrical distribution companies operating in British Columbia will continue to get larger while ...
Golden anniversaries are celebrated by the mature, and our industry is allowed to celebrate ...
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The ceiling that had been placed on membership fees remained a point of contention among ...
The year 1982 started on a relatively good note for electrical distributors. Sales in the first ...

Canadian Electrical Wholesaler is surveying Canadian Electrical Industry Businesses. This short survey (5 multiple choice questions) will aid in determining the the state of Canadian electrical businesses and provide valuable insight into industry shifts. 

We thank you for your time in filling out this survey.

Take survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CEWbusinesssurvey

 

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