Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 walmart vs amazonBy Rick McCarten

In a recent edition of Economist Magazine (week of February 3), there was an article about Walmart taking on Amazon. What struck me most was the article’s comment about Amazon’s shipping costs being less than Walmart’s.

Unless you have been studying Walmart, you may not appreciate the huge implication this difference has.
Here’s some history: shipping costs have played a huge role in Walmart’s success. Walmart invented cross-docking back in the late ’70s. Its arch-rival at the time was K-Mart. K-Mart’s suppliers were responsible for shipping their sold goods directly to each of K-Mart’s stores. In effect, the K-Mart stores became distribution centres and the supplier was required to be in the shipping business.

By contrast, Walmart’s cross docking allowed suppliers to focus on manufacturing while Walmart designed their logistics to maximize savings. The result was a saving of 1% over K-Mart. This 1% savings in retail is a huge advantage; in the end, K-Mart ended up declaring bankruptcy.

Walmart’s cross-docking logistics also paved the way for Chinese importers who could sell into North America without building a large logistical infrastructure.
Since then, third-party logistics companies have developed to allow a somewhat logistically-neutral playing field. If the Economist article is true, this movement could have huge ramifications for the retail world that plays with such small margins.

The questions I then asked myself are:

1. What makes Amazon’s costs lower?
•    no trucks, all third-party shipping
•    no pre-purchase, all consignment
•    money prepaid by credit card, then supplier paid
•    only warehouses are needed, not showrooms
•    no advertising, no sales staff, no greeters

2. What makes Amazon more expensive?
•    comprehensive website, maintenance
•    huge fulfilment centres
•    all shipments go individually to the home or business (this cost is assumed by the purchaser when shopping at a Walmart store)

Now, the really interesting thing is that Walmart is trying to go toe-to-toe with Amazon on the Web, which means all of the expenses listed above will be added to Walmart’s existing costs.
I still recall when Walmart first began opening their big box stores in small towns across North America. The first thing that the little shops tried to do was match Walmart’s prices. The harder they tried to match the Walmart model, the faster they went out of business. The stores that didn’t go out of business were those that maintained status quo; they kept their service, kept what made them unique in the first place. They may have lost business to the novelty and the excitement of a new store, but their service and culture brought their customers back.

Perhaps Walmart has lost its own unique service and connection to its customers. To this end, I suggest the following:

1. Always keep your value to your customer front and centre.

2. Examine the best way to ship products to your end customers, and how you can take advantage of the change.

By: Rick McCarten, Vice President, Electrical Council, Electro-Federation Canada

Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

EFC kicked off 2021 with an outstanding webinar featuring Janice Gross Stein, renowned Canadian political scientist, founder of the Munk School of Global Affairs and recipient of the Order of Canada. Ms. Stein has spoken at previous EFC conferences, earning many accolades, and this session was no different as we learned what to look for as the Biden Administration takes hold of the White House.

Our close economic ties to the U.S. means that Canadians must “keep up with the Administrations” to survive. Janice focused her discussions on industrial policy and climate change within an active intervening government.

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Canadian Business Counts - December 2020The COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter the business landscape. Some businesses have closed permanently, some have grown and others have been temporarily closing or reopening. In October, for example, the number of business openings (41,910) exceeded the number of business closures (32,420) for the fourth consecutive month.

As a result, the number of active businesses in October edged up 0.6%. Despite the slight increase, the number of active businesses was down 6.7% from February 2020.*

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David GordonBy David Gordon

Gene Biben, formerly President and CEO of Biben Sales, joined Channel Marketing Group earlier this month. Gene’s avowed desire is to “give back” to the industry, to help people work together. He will help reps achieve their goals and manufacturers optimize their performance, and relationship, to and with manufacturer reps. He’ll additionally support Channel Marketing Group clients’ research needs.

While Gene is well known by many manufacturers, we thought it would be interesting to ask him to consider changes he has seen over the years.

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Darci SpiteriBy Darci Spiteri 

This past month marked one year since stepping onto a job site and starting my electrical apprenticeship. Little did I know 2020 would throw in some curveballs, but it was a pretty fantastic year for self-development when I sit back and reflect. 

Enter Pandemic, worldwide lockdowns, and my Jobsite shutting down for a month. Losing hours was a downside and with my apprenticeship being based on the number of hours worked, moving onto my second year will take a little extra time. 



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Changing Scene

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Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) announced the recipients of their Awards of Excellence ...
Guillevin International has announced the creation of a new division, Guillevin Datacom, ...
Website visitors to the freshly designed IMARK Group website will learn about all of the benefits ...
WESCO International, Inc. has announced its results for the fourth quarter and full year ...
Deschenes Group Inc. (DGI) has acquired Daltco Electric effective February 1st, 2021.   ...
With 28 years of commitment to Canadian independent distributors, and as a sign of its focus on ...
Rexel announced it has acquired the Canadian Utility business of WESCO International (WESCO Canada ...
Liteline announces the appointment of ISTED TECHNICAL SALES for representation of their products in ...
Signify Canada has announced David Grinstead, Market Leader, Canada, Signify will retire at the end ...
Bartle & Gibson has announced that Greg Stephenson has officially joined the ...


Seth Cook and Kerith RichardsService Wire Co. promotes Kerith Richards to Regional Sales Manager – Canada and expands Seth Cook’s sales territory to better serve the commercial and industrial markets.

Kerith Richards will serve as Regional Sales Manager based out of Service Wire’s corporate headquarters, where she will be responsible for commercial and industrial sales in all provinces. In addition, Richards will continue her role as Sales Representative for Saskatoon, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador. 



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Guillevin International Acquires Wesco's Canadian Datacom BusinessGuillevin International has announced the creation of a new division, Guillevin Datacom, which will be dedicated exclusively to various network infrastructure products. To support this new division and ensure its success, Guillevin acquires the Canadian Datacom business of WESCO International, whose team will join Guillevin's Canadian operations.

"We have targeted the WESCO business to launch our Datacom division because of the team's agility, expertise and in-depth knowledge of products from the industry's leading suppliers", said Luc Rodier, Guillevin's President and CEO. 


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IMARKWebsite visitors to the freshly designed IMARK Group website will learn about all of the benefits that accrue to members and suppliers in all IMARK divisions (Electrical.

HVACR, and Plumbing/Irrigation) as well as Luxury Products Group which supports decorative showrooms and IM Supply which is a national account sales solution for IMARK Group members. The website features videos from group leadership as well as an introductory video on the home page.




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Peers & Profiles

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“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. ...
Ariane Cardinal is Director of Planning, Purchasing, and Distribution with Stelpro.   ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...

EHRC Leader of the Year Stephanie SmithBy Blake Marchand

“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. “Leadership in 2020 has certainly been a challenge for everybody in the world let alone the nuclear industry or the electricity industry.”

An engineer by trade, Smith spent the majority of her career with Ontario Power Generation (OPG). She was the first woman to be certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station where she served as Plant Manager and was recently named the first President and CEO of CANDU Owners Group. Smith is also a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion.

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