Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Mar 24, 2020

Dawn WerryBy Dawn Werry

It’s no surprise that the coronavirus is impacting manufacturing, with production site shutdowns and travel and meeting restrictions. In fact, last month, IHS Markit estimated that manufacturing was the third most impacted industry, behind wholesale and services.

This has hit manufacturers in various ways. Some companies, even those whose primary products or components are manufactured in the hardest hit regions, have seen little or no impact on their ability to meet customer demand. 

On the other end of the spectrum, some companies or industries simply cannot get products or components, and many have already announced they will not meet their customer or financial goals. Still others have actually explored new business opportunities because they are able to fill the gap and meet demand for production outside of hard-hit areas.

Even when all the production sites have come back up, we can expect supply chain disruptions as backlogs slowly clear.

Focus on supply chain continuity

No matter how companies are affected, one thing is obvious: nearly everyone is looking at the continuity of their own business, their supply chains, and their ability to meet customer demand now. They’re looking both at securing their own supply and making sure they fit into their customers’ supply chains going forward.

This focus on supply chain continuity makes sense for both the current situation and to better prepare for future supply chain disruption. 

Manufacturers always have the risk that their supply chains will suddenly stop production, especially if they rely on one supplier or location. If they’re carrying low inventories, just a short shutdown can have a significant impact on their ability to do business. 

On the other hand, if businesses are prepared and can fill the gap as customers’ needs change daily, they should be in a better position to continue operating and create value when unexpected shutdowns occur.

Be a part of the solution

So, what are some things manufacturers can do to secure their supply chains and the ability to operate during this crisis — and even help others with supply chain issues?

Secure your ability to operate and communicate that to customers

As a manufacturer, you must first secure your own supply chain and then make sure customers understand how you fit into theirs. Check where your raw materials are coming from (and where your suppliers’ raw materials are coming from) and consider ahead of time how you would produce if your production was directly or indirectly impacted by the outbreak.

Also recognize that customers are worried about it, and they may be out shopping for alternatives not knowing that you are able to supply. Many manufacturers are being asked by their customers daily whether they are impacted by recent shutdowns. 

For every customer asking about a manufacturer’s ability to supply, there are likely others concerned but not asking… and that’s dangerous, because they may assume the worst and then go elsewhere without ever consulting you. Be proactive to let them know whether or not your ability to produce is impacted — and if there is an impact, work with them on contingency plans and timing.

Plan how you will operate during and after a shutdown

With restrictions on gathering and workers calling in sick, are your HR policies prepared for the crisis? Many companies can adopt liberal leave or work-from-home policies, but manufacturing does not always have that option. If you need to retain people to man production lines, how do you make sure they’re willing to stay home when needed— or stay with you afterward if they don’t get paid for time away from the site?

In just the last week, many companies have adopted liberal leave or work from home policies. The most prepared ones planned ahead and were ready with contingency plans. They knew the plan and exactly what indicators, such as local school closings, would tell them when to adopt the new policies.

Of course, how you operate for those on site is critical as well. Ensure you have the right hygiene practices and consumables in place for workers. One company even went as far as to tape off manufacturing workstations to allow social distancing for their essential employees at the manufacturing site.

So, make sure HR policies clearly define when people should and shouldn’t come to work, how to reduce the spread and work, and what happens during and after a shutdown.
Help others through the crisis

Now that you can supply, it’s possible that your customers or prospects can’t get products from elsewhere or are struggling with their own production teams. Can you help them through the crisis and perhaps turn that into an opportunity and a competitive advantage that lasts long after the crisis has passed? Consider these examples:

• Some companies were in a bind because their plastic parts providers temporarily shut down. They couldn’t go to other injection moulders because they didn’t have extra tooling on hand. So, customers called Forecast 3D, an additive manufacturing company with production scale 3D printing capabilities, to see if they could supply the parts instead. In normal situations, additive manufacturing might not be the right way for these customers to get their parts. However, it requires no tooling and can often turn around parts in as little as a day. For a customer who just needs enough volume to get through the crisis, this can effectively bridge the gap. Of course, the situation changes daily, and it’s critical to be able to flex as the customers’ needs change. Now, as the healthcare community struggles to get essentials such as masks, Forecast 3D is in a position to quickly manufacture mask components to help solve this issue.

• Years ago, when the H5N1 virus was circulating, DuPont made cleaning and disinfection products for industrial and hospital use. The company re-packaged these products, along with instructions on good hygiene, to create office disinfection kits. Essentially, they re-packaged existing products into kits to make it easier for offices to keep their workspaces clean and reduce the chance of spreading the virus. Again, a simple change could be part of the solution.

The question for any business is whether you can and should be part of the solution. Can you help train people and re-package or re-direct your products so they’re easier to use in case of a disaster? Can you supply people who otherwise can’t get products because they’re not manufacturing, or an essential component is stuck somewhere? Could you reallocate your product to a business in need, like groceries or hospitals? Are you in a position to supply extra inventory to customers now in case they can’t get product in the future?

Be prepared

This latest pandemic is a great opportunity to look at your company’s policies and practices. Use it as motivation to review your risk and adjust your risk mitigation plans, such as qualifying secondary suppliers for your approved vendor list.

While no one wants to see this situation again, it’s a wake-up call to be prepared. Sudden major supply chain disruptions may be uncommon but can be catastrophic to your business, causing you to under-serve and lose customers you may never win back. Being prepared now can mean the difference between under-resourcing and losing customers or winning business for the future.

Dawn Werry is a CMO for Chief Outsiders and the former marketing leader at DuPont, Milliken and Brinks. Dawn works with mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies in the scientific, manufacturing, material, and service industries to create a competitive advantage, drive the sales funnel and achieve outsized growth.

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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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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