Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 May 10, 2018

CanadaBy John Kerr

In our work as publishers we have a wonderful perspective on the market here, its structure and its business models. Over the past few years we have witnessed a few key trends that may be a concern in the market here.

As consolidation has taken place the landscape in the supplier and channel continue to evolve. Bigger firms with more resources and scope and scale are being created while smaller firms from both the distribution and supply sides are being established. Clearly, they see a void.

And we sense this void is being closer to the market. Consolidation will always be there, and consolidation will always spawn new ideas and directions as the market reacts and shifts, but is consolidation hurting Canada’s ability to market and communicate effectively?

We are called on often to work with these Canadian teams to help them in defining Canada as a market first and helping them explain the differences in structure and makeup. It’s important to them to be able to explain the differences here, squash perceptions that Canada operates like the U.S. or Europe, and reinforce the adage of act globally think locally.

One great example we use is General Motors’ Latin American launch of Chevy Nova's flop, where “no va” means “don't go.” Another analogy we use is comparing Canada to Texas or California. This works well in setting the stage.

The first premise we look at is how and where the parent firm is in its local market development. Just because they have been doing certain things a certain way for years does not guarantee a quick cut and paste solution here. The first hurdle is to modify a product, get CSA, adjust pricing, and possibly rethink distribution.

Our next discussion centres on Canada’s unique needs and how they differ from existing markets. We discuss the Canadian market in terms of the Total Available market and we look at the product offering to see the fit, look at the competition and what is the buyers or specifiers journey.

Then we focus on the markets, the segments, the potential channels and speed to market, and try to validate and build a path forward.

One common misunderstanding is U.S. and global media don’t cover Canada, while another is the channel is so consolidated in Canada one need only to lever an exiting offshore relationship.

Another common thing too here is Canadian firms are driven mostly by a sales focus, one that is customer facing and must carry the load and responsibility of selling and growing share without all the tools other subsidiaries may have at their disposal.

In Europe, the need to have solid and sophisticated marketing communications strategies that are designed specifically for a country don’t always migrate over here, while U.S. programs tend to be limited to south of the boarder and Canadian teams are not given all the resources they need to do what needs to be done.

Over the years there have been many success stories here and underlying every one of them has been a solid strategy to support and communicate, and to understand. So here are a few of those key success factors from those who are winning here and that could help you in your efforts to define Canada.

  1. Commit to the market — listen and understand the real needs
  2. Get involved and increase visibility
  3. Be dogmatic about why Canada is different and be prepared to do that every day
  4. Develop a solid and direct link to the end users
  5. Be tough on partnering — don’t be all things to all people
  6. Segment, segment and segment again — understand where the sweet spots for growth are and attack
  7. Be prepared to think beyond today’s job description to get done the things your need to build awareness, and understand that resources sometimes follow scale

John Kerr is Publisher of CEW and CEO of Kerrwil Publications. Photo source: Pixabay.

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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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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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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Peers & Profiles

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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.

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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.

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Looking Back

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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 ...

 

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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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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Free Trade Agreements and the Evolution of Wholesale Sales in Canada

As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of the history of wholesale sales in Canada.

Canada has a long trading history, which started before Confederation. Because wholesalers play an important role in the import and export of goods, free trade agreements have had a notable influence on the evolution of the wholesale sector.

 

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Free Trade Agreements and the Evolution of Wholesale Sales in Canada

The BCIT Student Innovation Challenge is an annual competition allowing British Columbia Institute of Technology students to launch entrepreneurial ideas, inventions, or applied research projects. E.B. Horsman and Son is “Visionary” sponsor of the challenge.

The goal is to create an inclusive space for innovation, encouraging students to turn their bright ideas into business plans and prototypes of commercial products. The BCIT Student Innovation Challenge is an annual competition allowing British Columbia Institute of Technology students to launch entrepreneurial ideas, inventions, or applied research projects. E.B. Horsman and Son is “Visionary” sponsor of the challenge.

 

Read more: E.B. Horsman & Son Sponsors BCIT Student Innovation Challenge and Students ...

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

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