Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

May 17, 2019

Automation LabourforceBy: Thomas Donato, Rockwell Automation

We all are consumers. We all have expectations of quality and service.

When I talk to our customers, I do so with that experience and mindset. If we don’t deliver – we lose. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. It’s as simple as that.

I just lived through a great example of this. Every morning I use our blender. One of the parts broke, and the manufacturer made it quite difficult and cumbersome to get a replacement.

Ironically – and frustratingly – I received a questionnaire about the service before I received my new part, which landed three towns away and came weeks after I bought a new blender from a different manufacturer.

Not only was the maker non-responsive, but the process was not transparent.

They did not think like a customer, and because of that, they lost one. I will not buy from that company again.

 

2018 Corporate Responsibility Report: How we help customers achieve sustainability goals.

Emotion Behind Decisions

When you are talking to customers, you need to think like one.

That might sound easy… but is it something you practice? 

I’m sure the maker of that blender had good intentions in sending me a survey about my experience, except they didn’t realize the problem wasn’t solved. That’s an enormous disconnect made more prominent by the lack of connected systems that would tell the company I was not in a place to do a survey – yet.

Let me take you in the completely opposite direction. My wife’s activity tracker wasn’t working. She sent an email to the company and got an immediate response with several options (including getting a new tracker), and then another email following up on the experience and offering additional support.

We would buy from the company again.

These two completely different experiences proved to me what differentiates a company:

  • Support and how easy it is to get a resolution to a problem
  • Service beyond the obvious obligation
  • Understanding what customers require (and translating how technology helps them achieve outcomes)
Blog: The Extra Mile: How Our People Make a Difference.

Digital Transformation Provides Seamless Experience

Addressing the issue with the fitness tracker was a seamless experience – from identifying the problem to identifying resolutions. The maker understood what consumers wanted to do with their product. Any interruption in that experience was too great.

Technology helps us provide a fast, clear solution, so why would we ever want to a customer to experience anything less?

Public Opinion Matters

Like many shoppers, before I purchased my replacement blender, I went online and dug deep into public opinion. What did other users think?

Those comments mattered and influenced my buying decision.  A consumer not currently buying from you will be more likely to look at you if others are speaking positively about you.

Most of us are risk-averse consumers, whether that is buying an activity tracker, a blender or an automation system.

I was meeting with customers in Brazil who were quite outspoken (a trait I appreciate as I want all the information I can get).

The theme of their comments: I want to work with your company because you respond. If there in an issue, you make it right. Our support, they said, made a difference.

I thought about those comments, about what I’ve learned over many years. The support this customer valued is not an initiative or a fiscal year priority; it’s part of our company’s culture.

You can have great products (the blender) but if you lack support, people will move on. And they won’t come back.

Making the Connection

In our company, we know that higher employee engagement scores directly correlate to increased customer satisfaction. Engaged employees create loyal customers.

We have made “customer” a core focus. We talk about customer experience at every level.  Our strategy is to bring The Connected Enterprise to life. The ways we do that all include customer – understanding their opportunities and simplifying their experience.

Our ability to do those things relies on our ability to create and sustain a company culture where everyone can do their best work, operating in a transparent environment that produces tangible results.

It’s not easy, but it is simple.

See the original post HERE

CEW market research 400By John Kerr

The past nine weeks have been to say the least a challenge across the electrical industry. From agents to suppliers, from end users to the electrical channel, all have been affected, all have been forced to think differently and all have begun the journey to retooling the way we operate.

This is the third report in our series quantifying and exploring how electrical wholesalers have had to adapt and how they are looking to find a way forward. For this we have taken a different approach from our previous reports in that we have incorporated the results from our recent survey alongside personal interviews and discussions with electrical distributor teams across Canada

Read More 

 

arkest Before the Dawn, Part 2

CEW 9 JK Figure 1 700By John Kerr

I spoke in my previous article about my father’s quote darkest before the dawn. Well, he had another saying clearly brought forward by his growing up in the depression. He would say, “Money is not everything. It just helps,” and at a time like this when there are so many storylines of effort above and beyond the call, and so many initiatives underway by electrical distributors, there will be a rallying right across the country. The electrical distributors are moving, reacting, and more adaptable than ever before. 

The current situation we find ourselves in is to say the least fluid, dynamic and somewhat disconcerting for many, but underlying it is a focused, disciplined approach to addressing the new norm and new reality. Some branches remain closed, some open with minimal staff, and others rotating staff and working differently than ever before.

Recent public reports by Wesco and Rexel have indicated drops approaching 23% through mid April and clearly ones that demonstrated a slowdown from mid March. Our discussions with both distributors and end users/contractors alike confirm their buying and purchasing activity were curtailed more aggressively in early April.

Over 106 electrical distributors responded to our recent survey with 73% from corporate and branch management. 

Read More 

 

 

 

Gurvinder ChopraBy Gurvinder Chopra

This June, Canadians will commemorate Electrical Safety Month; June also marks the fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic national lockdown. For many Canadians, working from home has become the new normal. As confinement continues, the demand for constant power feed to connect to the world we now live, work, and play in at home has grown substantially. Homes are being equipped with new technologies that offer plenty of benefits, but they also place high demand on electrical systems at home, potentially causing serious safety risks. 

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David GordonBy David Gordon

In talking with distributors and manufacturers it is clear that many are actively in the planning and pivoting mode, moving from survivability to thriveability. They’ve stabilized their business financially, emotionally (from a staff viewpoint) and operationally. Now they are looking at “doing business,” and more financially secure ones are identifying ways to take share.

This doesn’t mean that others are not planning and pivoting. Some didn’t miss a beat; others typically don’t do much planning and live in the moment. 

Read More

Building Permits - MarchThe total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities decreased 13.2% to $7.4 billion in March, with declines reported in seven provinces and two territories. The $1.1 billion national decrease was the largest since August 2014. This reflected notable drops in Ontario (-12.9%), Quebec (-18.1%) and British Columbia (-19.4%), which coincided with efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 Value of residential permits down

The total value of residential permits decreased 13.1% to $4.6 billion in March.

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Changing Scene

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EIN evolve 400As we continue to respond to the changing status with the COVID-19 outbreak, EFC is taking preventative measures to protect conference delegates from any further risks associated with this virus. After much consideration and consultation, the EFC Board has decided to cancel EFC’s Industry Conference in Banff which was rescheduled from late May to September 1 - 3, 2020. This decision was difficult but necessary for the safety of our members, employees, and the community.

One of EFC's key mandates, is to deliver a premier national thought-leadership conference for industry members, partners, and affiliates. 

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Sonepar's Gaurav SharmaA new video featuring Sonepar’s Vice President of eCommerce and Digitalization, Gaurav Sharma, answers COVID-19 related questions regarding Sonepar Canada’s digital solutions, his team, and the future of eCommerce in the electrical wholesale industry.

Among new solutions introduced by Sonepar: customers can now create an online account through a simple text message. Traffic on Sonepar’s website has tripled since the pandemic began, and the number of new accounts has doubled. Many Sonepar locations also feature curbside pick-up.

Read More

 

 

 

 

Schneider ElectricThe Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Hugo Lafontaine, Vice-President Digital Energy at Schneider Electric Canada. CABA is an international nonprofit industry association that provides information, education and networking to help promote advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings.

“We are delighted to welcome Hugo Lafontaine to CABA's Board,” said Ron Zimmer, CABA President & CEO “He brings a stellar background in building systems integration and the building automation market, and a wealth of insight into the digital platforms and solutions that will define smart-building innovations now and into the future.”

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Harold HayesHarold Hayes, a stalwart of the electrical industry, passed away peacefully in Scarborough, Ontario at the age of 90 on May 9, 2020.

Harold joined the industry as an apprentice at age 18, working first for his father’s business, Power Cable Installations, and then for Comstock. Among his later accomplishments, he formed Federal Pioneer Electric’s electric heating division, served as president of the Ontario Electric League in 1985, and while in his 80s consulted for Intellimeter Canada Inc.

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Sarah SilversteinBlake Marchand

Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. Together, they lead the company founded by their father, Steve Silverstein, who retired in 2018.

Although she initially pursued a career in outdoor education, Sarah was instrumental in the company’s expansion into architectural lighting and the U.S. market. She joined Liteline as a project manager in between stints working in outdoor education. Now she leads Liteline’s U.S. distribution arm and marketing department.

 

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