Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Rick McCarten

November 9, 2017

By Rick McCarten

I was fortunate enough to attend a recent technical meeting that focused on barn fires caused by overheated wires that come into contact with flammable objects. It was noted at this meeting that most of these barn fires occur in Ontario, and 40% are due to human error and environmental factors. Barns are considered hazardous locations that receive lots of malus. People misuse power, foreign items find their way into panels and switches, and barn environments have a lot of humidity, water and, of course, animals, which create waste and chemicals that can corrode connections.

Many of the farmers at this meeting complained that the hazardous-proof materials they need are difficult to find; not available at local distributor branches. They also expressed concern with the vague definitions of what a barn is, versus a shed or a commercial building. Loosely defined measures make it difficult for inspectors to enforce rules.

I can only imagine how many farms across Canada would be shut down if provincial electrical inspection agencies were to treat barns to the same standards as urban commercial factories.

Interestingly enough, this is where farming is going. The “pig farmers” around the table call themselves “pork producers.” Their operations are getting larger, and they should be treated like a commercial factory on all levels — workforce safety, cleanliness and electrical safety.

So, back to the farmers’ complaint that they can’t get hazardous proof material from the supply chain. I can see how this works out. When a farmer needs a receptacle for hazardous locations, they visit a local branch, which may not carry the receptacle they need. If a branch does carry the products, the price is restrictive so the farmer often settles for an alternative and the sales and inventory system doesn’t record the need. A branch doesn’t stock it, special orders cost more money, which deters further demand. All well and good until the barn burns down. 

It seems to be me that there is an opportunity to turn this around. It involves changing our mind set and the way we understand the market. EFC’s next research study will be on the supply chain, and one of the areas that we will explore will be how to improve visibility within the supply chain. Each channel partner needs to not only know about their customer, they need to understand their customer’s customer. Manufacturers need to know the needs of contractors, and distributors need to know the needs of their contractor’s customer. With e-Commerce trends in our industry, the gap that lies in the path of internet sales is the assumption that our channel knows what the end customer needs, and that the customer even knows what they need.

Our industry might want to begin exploring the farming industry. What are the specific requirements for a modern pig barn? How can distributors standardize packages for them? Can a customer become the expert in pig barns for Ontario? It is up to our industry to encourage more safety and better installations, which will ultimately result in the sales of more products at the right locations.

Is the farming market big enough? I can’t tell. However, I do know that this industry needs more service. 

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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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

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  I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part ...
  Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & ...
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. ...
John Baron is President of Elec-Tech Sales Ltd., a manufacturing agent with headquarters in ...

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

Laura Dempsey

Owen Hurst

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 ...
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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 ...
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 ...

 

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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Online

Building a simple customer experience that satisfies your customers’ expectations is a starting point (or evolution) in your digital journey. You might be asking yourself, “How do I know what my customer wants?” The data are available from their behaviour online, and many of your customers will tell you what they want. Putting the pieces together can appear complex, but it can be simplified if you segment the optimization of your customers’ experience into three buckets: design, usability and search.

Design, usability, and search pertain to how you can serve your customer. In order for your website to create value in the eyes of the customers, you have to optimize your website so that it is accessible to the greatest number of your ideal customers. Value increases with the number of customer touchpoints that the customers use.

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