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.

 

ABBDuring E.B. Horsman & Son’s (EBH) Annual General Meeting on March 5, 2019, ABB Canada was presented with the 2018 EBH Supplier of the Year award by Tyson Carvell, VP of Marketing. The award was received by Ed Atkinson, ABB Commercial & Construction Sales Manager for BC, on behalf of Rob Ruys, ABB Regional Manager for Western Canada.

Each year E.B. Horsman & Son monitors the sales and operations of each of their 600+ supplier partners. 

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SouthwireIn March 2018, Southwire announced the investment of more than US$9 million back into the lives of employees through one-time employee bonuses, expanded parental leave and a strengthened commitment to education through the Bridge Scholarship Program, a one-time opportunity for eligible hourly employees seeking to further their education through a two-year degree, four-year degree or technical certification. One year later, 64 employees have been awarded the Bridge Scholarship.  

“Building organizational capability is vital to maintaining our great culture and driving business results,” says Kelley Park, Executive Vice President of Human Resources.

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CEW 6 HR 400People with low levels of coping skills are at higher risk for mental health issues and mental illness than those with high levels. Gaps in coping skills inhibit the ability to solve problems and to make healthy and effective decisions.

To examine how coping skills can predict health outcomes, Dr. Bill Howatt facilitated a doctoral research study that examined the question: “What role does an individual’s coping skills have in predicting psychological and physical health outcomes?” The study found that coping skills mattered and were, in fact, a moderator that partially explains why some individuals had better physical and psychological health outcomes than others. The study concluded that when combining a person’s coping skills with their perceived stress levels, coping skills were significant in predicting which employees were at more or less risk for health issues.

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Changing Scene

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CREECree, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit, which includes the LED lighting fixtures, lamps and corporate lighting solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications, to Ideal Industries, Inc. for approximately US$310 million before tax impacts, including up-front and contingent consideration and the assumption of certain liabilities. Cree expects to receive an initial cash payment of US$225 million, subject to purchase price adjustments, and has the potential to receive a targeted earn-out payment of approximately US$85 million based on an adjusted EBITDA metric for Cree Lighting over a 12-month period beginning two years after the transaction closes.

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EHRC WLNElectricity Human Resources Canada is delighted to have announced its new partnership with Women Leadership Nation™ (WLN) on International Women’s Day.

Electricity Human Resources Canada is delighted to have announced its new partnership with Women Leadership Nation™ (WLN) on International Women’s Day. This strategic alliance will offer EHRC members and Leadership Accord signatories with training, development and strategy support in their efforts to make progress in closing the Gender Gap.

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ABB Showcases Its Vision of Leadership in Digital Industries at ABB Customer World 2019

Show ReportBy Line Goyette

Leaders and innovators from business, government and the education sector gathered for this ABB premier collaboration event. More than 11,000 delegates attended the bi-annual ABB Customer World Houston 2019 from March 4 to 7 in Houston, Texas. ABB’s latest pioneering technologies were displayed over 150,000 sq ft of a colourful, buzzy display of futuristic conveyor belts and robots, an ABB Formula E Generation 2 car, and much more groundbreaking technology.

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Peers & Profiles

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National ManufacturingExcellence in Manufacturing Consortium EMC’s Advantage through Excellence: Future of Manufacturing Conference is a 2½ day event exploring the competitive advantages, opportunities and successes that can be achieved by manufacturers through a variety of learning forums — up to 40 workshops, panel sessions, keynote presentations and best practice plant tours — providing delegates with outstanding opportunities for benchmarking, peer networking, learning and sharing of hundreds of best practices. An estimated 500 to 900 manufacturing leaders and stakeholders from across Canada are expected to attend. 

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Rick McCartenBy Rick McCarten

I think it was Bill Gates who said the Internet will not have an effect on society short term, but will have a profound effect on us long term. 

Long term versus short term fascinates me. Making the call for one over the other can determine the success (or failure) of companies today. 

Using Bill Gates’ long-term Internet effect example, means that business decisions about the Internet will not necessarily show short-term gain, but will show “profound” gain in the long term.

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CEW 3 Perspective 400

We often learn how to look forward by first looking back, or at the very least we realize that despite our best efforts we have not truly advanced quite so much as we had thought. Sure, technology is rapidly advancing. That’s beyond question. But what about our approach to selling it? Have we changed that much in the last 20, 40, 60 years? Inevitably there have been advances and changes in marketing, the Internet causing the biggest shift, but many of the concerns and directives that have driven the distribution and marketing of industrial electrical products remain, or at least planted the roots of the concerns of manufacturers and distributors today. 

To gain perspective of the perceptions and directions of electrical product distribution in 1960, we turn to Edwin H. Lewis. In 1960 Lewis published “The Distribution of Industrial Electrical Products” in the Journal of Marketing.

To fully define electrical product distribution in 1960, Lewis broke his study into several categories. We will follow his direction and provide his insights on the industry in each of the categories he identified.

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Looking Back

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Bnei AkivaBy Blake Marchand


Lior Levy, along with Josh Kantrowitz, led a team of 21 students earlier this year as they travelled to Hartsville, South Carolina for the annual Bnei Akiva Habit for Humanity trip, in partnership with Legrand. As a frequent supporter of Habitat for Humanity, Legrand donated the funds required to purchase the construction materials for the project.

Ms. Levy, a pre-med student from Toronto who recently received her BA in Biology while attending Yishiva University in New York.

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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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