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.

 

OlsonBy Katrina Olson

A recent CEW article by David Gordon caught my eye. The headline was, Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

As a marketing consultant, writer, and trainer, I recognized the challenges and barriers that David was writing about. We agree on many issues (and their causes) facing electrical distributors and marketers. But I also hear from marketing people all the time that the C-Suite is hindering their efforts which, in turn, hinders the company’s growth.  

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Study


A confirmation: the winds of change are now howling.

Several years ago, in a workshop at Electro-Federation Canada’s annual conference, a roundtable session described and debated the numerous disruptive technologies that are forcing us to think differently.

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Looking BackIn the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent companies like Horsman, Ashdowns, Brettell, Marshall Wells, Electrical Supplies Ltd., etc.

Small electrical distributors just were not acceptable for membership as they did not carry the main-line manufacturers’ goods, publish a wiring device catalogue, or employ four to five salesmen as CEDA requested.

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Changing Scene

  • Prev
Flextherm Celebrates 25 Years With a Big Bang PHOTO: EIN-37/CEW-18-CS-Flextherm-400.jpg The floor ...
Electro-Federation Canada’s 6th Annual Future Forum, Thinking Smarter — Channel Products, Energy, ...
In partnership with Habitat for Humanity Québec, Convectair is donating two heating units ...
Do you know an industry member who has greatly contributed to the Canadian electrical industry and ...
Kendra Smith will be joining the company’s Nationals Accounts team as the Key Accounts ...
Blueway has been added as a division within Sonepar Ontario, reporting directly to Sonepar Ontario ...
Pilz Canada has added Marcus Graham to its family. Marcus is now serving a wide base of customers ...
Christopher Balleine has been appointed Stelpro’s Sales Representative, Maritimes, ...
Based in Ottawa, Lafontaine will be responsible for building on Schneider Electric’s ...
Bill Smith from Electrozad Supply Company Limited has been selected as this year’s recipient ...

Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the ...
Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...
Gordon MacDonald is a cheerful, driven individual who loves to be challenged, a trait that suits ...
  Jordan Prins is an account manager at Wesco Distribution in Abbotsford, British Columbia. ...
Mike Marsh, President and CEO of SaskPower, has been a leading figure in Saskatchewan’s electricity ...
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. ...

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.

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Laura Dempsey

Line Goyette

I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the newsletter’s Editorial Board. His contribution was regular and sustained. Always present to answer my technical questions, and refer me to the right person for additional information as needed. Always available despite his role as senior leader of an influential company.

Over the past five years, many industry insiders have cited John Sencich when I asked them to name someone who had made a difference in their lives or had inspired them as a leader.

Read more: John Sencich

Looking Back

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  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...
The resource-based industries of the Maritimes are looking to electronics to make their operations ...
  Electrical distributors must remain in both the electronic and electrical ends of the ...
  The public’s strong interest in energy-saving products should continue in the ...
  Even in a principally agricultural province like Saskatchewan, the impact of electronics ...
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 ...
The last 50 years have been exciting ones for the electrical industry but they won’t compare to ...
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 ...

DIgitalDigitalization is set to take a strong hold of all business models, transforming how companies access, monitor, engage with and service customers. Today’s customers are not passive consumers; they rely on real-time digital access to information to make purchasing decisions. Businesses must consider how to apply digital technologies and digitized data to connect with customers to help reshape their paths to purchase. This digital lens provides improvements to business functions, operations and overall processes by creating stronger insight and knowledge so businesses can take action.

The path towards digitalization has put the electrical supply channel at an important crossroad: the entire electrical value chain (suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, customers) will need to strongly consider how to move from a traditional model that has served the market well for decades, towards a new model that is connected, smart and highly efficient. But how does the industry evolve from a traditional model to an integrated ecosystem?

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EFC 2018 Scholarship Program

This year Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) will award $156,250 across 62 scholarships supported by manufacturers, distributors and associations.

The annual EFC Scholarship Program reflects an industry that understands its responsibility to attract future talent. In the face of technological, demographic, and socio-economic evolution, the employment landscape is in constant transformation resulting in substantial challenges for companies as they work to define and redefine their recruitment practices. Furthermore, as competition for the brightest and the best of the next generation of business leaders intensifies, it’s more important than ever to engage young people. 

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