Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 

June 29, 2018

DIgitalBy Rob Nadler and Swati Patel

Digitalization is set to take a strong hold of all business models, transforming how companies access, monitor, engage with and service customers. Today’s customers are not passive consumers; they rely on real-time digital access to information to make purchasing decisions. Businesses must consider how to apply digital technologies and digitized data to connect with customers to help reshape their paths to purchase. This digital lens provides improvements to business functions, operations and overall processes by creating stronger insight and knowledge so businesses can take action.

The path towards digitalization has put the electrical supply channel at an important crossroad: the entire electrical value chain (suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, customers) will need to strongly consider how to move from a traditional model that has served the market well for decades, towards a new model that is connected, smart and highly efficient. But how does the industry evolve from a traditional model to an integrated ecosystem?

The goods news is that digitization is somewhat familiar territory for the electrical industry. The industry has made great strides in the digitization of electrical products. Intelligent products such as lighting, controls, sensors and breakers are increasingly connected with Cloud-based systems and IoT platforms to provide users with new levels of data access, control, flexibility and application. The use of digitally astute electrical products support the automation of robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain and autonomous vehicles other cross-functional operations, transforming how companies design, manufacture, distribute, deliver, install and service to meet customers’ needs. 

“Let’s Get Digital” research 

Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) has conducted a research study that looks at the value-add of digitalization in the Canadian electrical industry, specifically as it relates to supply chain networks. The resulting report emphasizes the service factor. Digitalization offers an opportunity for the electrical channel to advance its service abilities by embracing new technologies that digitize processes so that we can access, engage, customize, connect and collaborate with customers and other value chain partners. 

In EFC’s study, 75% of survey respondents recognized service as a key driver for digital transformation. Service is widely understood as our channel’s main strength: the personal connections that we have with customers are very important. These relationships have allowed us to work with customers to identify business opportunities, build strategies and provide services that cannot be matched by new market players.

But a word of caution: these connections run the risk of becoming weakened if we don’t address changing customer needs, which are being fuelled by B2C digital experiences that are forcing B2B practices to evolve. The prowess of digitalization has the potential to render legacy services obsolete. Sensors, robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, autonomous vehicles, and other technologies will alter how operational functions are performed and serviced. 

The threat of digital inaction could have huge consequences. In recent years, digitally native competitors have surfaced with a keen eye towards the wholesale distribution market. The Globe and Mail published an article that noted that “Amazon’s interest in the B2B wholesale and distribution market is said to stem from the inefficiencies that exist within the space. Amazon Business is purpose-built to address the concerns of B2B purchasers and professional procurement teams concurrently.” (Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/amazons-next-mountain-b2b-procurement/article37519274/). 

Digital transformation among electrical channel partners must happen now: “The race to digitalization is no longer coming, it’s already here. There is no longer time to delay in implementing strategies and executing tactical plans…there is still a general feeling in our industry that we have time. We don't.” (EFC member survey respondent)

Our industry’s goal must be to collectively transform the electrical supply chain into one that is more agile, transparent and robust. Explore these another opportunities in EFC’s “Digitalization” research report, and learn what our channel and your business will need to consider for digitalization to gain adoption. Request your copy at www.electrofed.com/market-insights/industry-research.

Rob Nadler is Executive Vice President at Stanpro Lighting Systems Inc. and Aimlite. Swati Patel is EFC’s Director, Research & Communications.

Swati Vora-PatelTalent availability continues to be a key concern among business leaders in the electrical industry: in fact, over 60% of EFC members surveyed said they do not have a robust talent pipeline in place. This pipeline is even further constrained as a result of ongoing employment challenges spurred on by the pandemic.

A global phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation” is underway which reflects a wave of workers who are strongly considering leaving their jobs in search for work that is more closely aligned with their interests with employers who provide flexible accommodations and serve a strong purpose. 

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Building Permits - September 2021The total value of building permits rose 4.3% to $10.1 billion in September, led by Ontario (+6.3%). Construction intentions in the residential sector were up 8.2%, while the non-residential sector decreased 3.2%.


On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), building permits increased 3.4% to $6.9 billion.

Ontario drives residential permits up

High-value permits for two new condo buildings valued at over $300 million in the cities of Mississauga and Toronto helped push Ontario's multi-family permits up 40.4% to $1.7 billion in September. 

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John KerrBy John Kerr

Consolidation is a natural evolution in any industry: technology changes, customers demand more, and the need to drive costs all contribute to this activity. The Canadian electrical market is mature but opportunities still exist in its related segments.

The reality is we are entering a new stage driven by how we define ourselves and how we respond to customer needs. We all understand segmentation today more than ever and desire to provide end users with greater value. 

 

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Gross domestic product by industry - August 2021Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.4% in August, led by increases in accommodation and food services, retail trade and transportation. The continued easing of public health restrictions and further reopening across the country increased demand across many close contact service industries.


Overall, 15 of 20 industrial sectors were up as growth in services-producing industries (+0.6%) more than offset a decline in goods-producing industries (-0.1%).

 

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Changing Scene

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AD GrowthAD’s Electrical-Canada Division virtually welcomed members and supplier partners for its five-day 2021 Virtual North American Meeting on Oct. 25 - 29, 2021 with the goal of facilitating strategic conversations that help the division devise new ways to stay ahead of the competition.

The event facilitated over 1,200 face-to-face meetings with 40 member companies and 62 supplier companies, cultivating relationship, allowing participants to share best practices and enabling open communication.

 

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EvolutionExpanding its North American footprint, leading control and automation manufacturer RTI today announced that it has named Evolution Home Entertainment Corp., a wholesale distributor of residential technology products, as the second RTI distribution partner for the Canadian market.


Evolution serves over 500 dealers across Canada, who now have the opportunity to get certified for the full line of RTI smart home control and automation products. With products shipping nationwide from its warehouse in Concord, Ontario, Evolution will also offer training and local dealer support to its dealers installing RTI systems.

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SignifyThird quarter 20211


• Signify's installed base of connected light points increased from 86 million in Q2 21 to 92 million in Q3 21

• Sales of EUR 1,643 million; Comparable Sales Growth of -4.8%, impacted by global supply chain disruptions

• Order book increased by 90% in Q3 21 vs. Q3 20

• LED-based sales represented 83% of total sales (Q3 20: 82%)

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Greg WalkerThe Continental Automated Buildings Association begins a new chapter with the appointment of Greg Walker as CEO, succeeding Ron Zimmer. Greg has been with CABA for almost 8 years working closely with the Board of Directors and leading the CABA research program and general operations. 

Mr. Walker is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with over 15 years of experience working with associations, government agencies, universities, not-for-profit and Fortune 500 organizations. He holds a B.A. and B.Sc. from the University of Windsor and an M.Sc. from Dalhousie University.


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Peers & Profiles

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Kerith RichardsBy Alyssa Kerslake

This past July, Kerith Richards, who has worked for Service Wire Company for the last seven years, was selected as one of tED Magazine's prestigious "30 under 35" winners. 

"I was so surprised and totally honored. It meant a lot to me that my boss, and my company, thought highly of me to nominate me - and then to be compared and chosen from the other surely incredible nominees was pretty cool, too," said Richards of earning the distinction. "I was running out of time, I'll be 35 at the end of this year, but I feel like I'm just getting started in this industry." 

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