Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Paul Eitmant

January 25, 2018

By Paul Eitmant

What are we leaving behind to the next generation?

The landscape in the electrical industry has changed in the last 35 years. To my point, we have numerous companies that have been family owned and operated for years. It’s been a pleasure to see companies continue the growth in which the first generation started.

Today through many acquisitions in the electrical distribution channel we have two out of four companies controlling the majority of our industry in Canada. It is interesting that neither of these companies were household words in 1970. In the same time period, similar acquisitions occurred in the manufacturing sector.

Throughout this change our industry is still growing in profitability.

A few weeks ago, I became aware of a book written by my friend Bill Robinson. The title is, “Better lives for Our Grandchildren.” After reading more than a few sections I became aware that we have a responsibility in our industry to make it better than it was when the first generation started their companies many years ago.

Appearing below is a brief background of Bill Robertson.

A retired marketing executive of a $40 billion oil and gas corporation, Bill Robertson has led an interesting life. Growing up in Niles, Michigan, he attended Harvard Business School, ran a marathon, scaled Mt. Rainier, played a round of golf with Neil Armstrong, met President Reagan, and made six holes in one. He also survived a devastating airline disaster aboard United Airlines Flight 232, which crashed in Sioux City, Iowa. The crash changed his priorities and his life. Spending time with a growing family became his top concern, and he worried for the future of his six grandkids. The future looked bleak. His grandkids’ generation might be the first to have a lower standard of living than their parents. This book, Better Lives for Our Grandchildren: A Plane Crash Survivor's Perspective on Politics and Life, shows how he applied his extensive marketing experience to examine the direction of the country by taking the reader on the journey that led to the election of Donald J. Trump as president. The country wanted change, and Bill’s book identifies why there was so much angst and what the country is doing to change direction.

Sometimes I think we have lost connection with the first generation of our industry. I know we are bigger and profitable and are always adapting to new products and technologies. At the same time, I think we need to consider how we can leave behind a better workplace for the next generation.

Bill’s book also gives perspective on the political climate in the USA that does have an effect on the Canadian marketplace. These sections are important for all of us because I firmly believe most of the comments have not been heard enough within our industry.

I think it is important we step back and consider if we are givers or takers within our industry. Remember it up to us to act and change to leave a better industry for the next generation.

If you’re interested for additional ideas and viewpoints, the book is available on Amazon and in Barnes & Noble bookstores.

Paul Eitmant is President and CEO of IP Group International, which serves the needs of business-to-business enterprises in over 30 countries worldwide by adding specialized expertise to the business planning and implementation process; Tel: 480.488.5646; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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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Electro-Federation Canada’s 6th Annual Future Forum, Thinking Smarter — Channel Products, Energy, ...
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Blueway has been added as a division within Sonepar Ontario, reporting directly to Sonepar Ontario ...
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Christopher Balleine has been appointed Stelpro’s Sales Representative, Maritimes, ...
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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.

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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.

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Looking Back

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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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