Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

April 30, 2018

Hannover MesseBy CEW Editorial Team

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. 

And as our team returns from the 2018 edition of Hannover Messe, we are more cognisant of the new models, new methods and new channels that are all coming together to challenge the status quo today. The convergence of electrical and electronic, data and functionality, and value-added services are on the move and coming faster than we think. And the applications address process, industry residential and infrastructure.  

Take the Mechatronics phenomenon, the multidisciplinary field that combines mechanical engineering, electronics, telecommunications/IT engineering, systems engineering, and control engineering. At Hannover we saw technical systems that are more and more complex and integrated. 

So, what does this mean to the full-line distributor? Perhaps nothing if the long-term focus is residential alone, perhaps a lot as the smart home is evolving, or perhaps everything if you are an industrial focused player. 

Hannover 2At Hannover we met many channel players from around the world who are watching the trend and confirm the channel is changing. The best, most obvious precedent may be in Europe where there is an ever-widening gap between full-line commodity focused product distributors and solutions provider-based speciality distributors.

In Canada we are seeing this happening too, and it’s accelerating. Of interest here, control and lighting products that once were almost the exclusive domain of the full-line wholesaler are now being sold in new specialty and on-line distributors. In fact, the control distributor now controls a 50% share in Canada today, but the question is will this grow further and faster.

Attending Hanover allowed us to meet many Canadian end users, and it’s evident from their attendance and comments they are looking for solutions, from product to engineering, from integration to commissioning. And to a person they want these products at a faster pace and are prepared to pay for convenience and delivery.

In Canada’s electrical channels the relationship and being close to the customer was the competitive edge but today those customers can source, research and see and have more choice than ever before. 

Hannover 3So today the challenges are price is traded for delivery and product knowledge trumps existing relationships.   There are numerous examples in Canada where electrical wholesalers are looking to new models and methods and looking to adapt to the change. In-house services, such as enclosure modification, wire cutting, project management, integration design and even in-house manufacturing and panel building, are now dotting the landscape and investments in logistics and product knowledge are being made daily.

Food for thought for sure, but those winds of change are howling and the change we witnessed over the past five years will not look like anything close to what we will experience through 2023.

 

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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2018 Electrical North American MeetingOn October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This event attracted 151 first time attendees and representatives from over 362 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Attendees benefited from a variety of agenda topics, including: Network Meetings, Emerging Leaders Session, and Country-specific Business Meetings. New to this year’s agenda was a SPA Optimization Workshop led by industry veteran Mo Barsema. In addition, members and suppliers also attended a panel discussion on managing and measuring your digital success.

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Changing Scene

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 EFC Announces 2018 Marketing Awards Winners

2018 Marketing Awards WinnersElectro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence and innovation within the Canadian electrical manufacturing and distribution industry. Winners of this year’s awards were recognized at EFC’s 8th Annual Future Forum, held earlier this month. (Shown in photo: EFC President and CEO Carole McGlogan with representatives from Bartle & Gibson, winners of the Integrated Marketing Award — distributor under $50 million.)Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence...

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Peers & Profiles

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 Young Leaders: Taylor Gerrie

Taylor GerrieOn a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a Q&A. It’s a way of recognizing industry movers and shakers, and helping our readers get to know them better. 

Recently we launched an initiative with Electro-Federation Canada's Young Professionals Network to include profiles of up-and-coming leaders. We provided the list of questions below to Taylor Gerrie, Automation Account Specialist at Gerrie Electric Wholesale Ltd. in Burlington, Ontario. Here are Taylor’s responses.

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Susan Uthayakumar, President of Schneider Electric Canada: Driving Success

Susan UthayakumarBy Owen Hurst

First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing with a friend than conducting an interview with the Canadian president of one of the world’s largest electrical manufacturers. Of course, she exudes the confidence and knowledge her position demands, but equally identifiable are an open and engaging nature.

In a recent sit-down, we learned a little about Susan’s history and what drives her to succeed.

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Looking Back

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Looking BackThe best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. The welcome they gave to me, all of them men. (In those days there were not many women in business.) This welcome I will always remember. CEDA has played a very important role in my success.

One year our conference was in Hamilton, Ontario. Mr. Caouillette, our speaker, got lost and instead of going to Hamilton went to Toronto. I think that that was the longest cocktail hour that CEDA ever had… waiting for him to arrive. Certainly that night the head table and everyone were in good spirits.

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Looking BackLooking 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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