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.

       Partnering For The Next Step                                                                     

Siemens CanadaWelcome to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit brought to you by Siemens

How quickly can you react to changing conditions and demands in your market? How can you ensure your production will run securely at any time in the future?

Industry’s digital and technological transformation is the answer for meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and market needs.

With the right digitalization and automation solutions, expertise won from practical experience, and a partnership approach that benefits all involved parties.

To explore these possibilities, we’re bringing together top-level speakers, specialists and decision-makers from various industries and experts from Siemens to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit under the motto “Partnering for the next step.”   

This virtual summit will be an interactive digital event featuring first-hand experiences and success stories achieved with industrial digitalization and automation solutions, and cutting-edge technologies.

Join us on July 16 and learn from customers and experts how you can respond efficiently, flexibly and safely to the changing market environment.

To cover as many different time zones as possible, we offer two almost identical live sessions – you can also watch them on demand at your convenience:

Sessions runs from :  9:30 am to 2:15 pm ET (3:30 pm to 8:15 pm CEST)


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John JefkinsBy John Jefkins

In 2011, I started working in the electrical arena and quickly noticed that there was a high employee retention rate within the industry. Today, I regularly engage with Electro-Federation Canada members with 20, 30 and even 40 plus year tenures. Other industries I had worked in previously, such as telecommunications, had higher turnover rates.

Our industry faces an increasing need for talent, with new retirements and product/process innovations and modernization driving the need for specialized roles — some not even known yet.

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Digital Twin MarketA recent Markets & Markets report estimates the Digital Twin market will grow from US$3.8 billion in 2019, to US$35.8 billion per year by 2025, at a CAGR of 45.4%. Digital Twin software is already revolutionizing industries such as healthcare, architecture, aerospace, defence, and automotive and transportation.

Furthermore, the global smart infrastructure market, which includes the Digital Twin sector, is expected to thrive at a considerable CAGR between 2020 and 2025 as demand for the smart infrastructure has been a booming year on year, reports Market Research Explore - details. 

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PNNL StudyBy Craig DiLouie

The U.S. Department of Energy has released the results of a study examining authentication vulnerabilities in connected lighting systems (CLS). Particularly as emerging CLS incorporate distributed intelligence, network interfaces and sensors, they can serve as data-collection platforms that enable a wide range of valuable new capabilities as well as greater energy savings in buildings and cities. However, CLS technology is currently at an early stage of development, and its increased connectivity introduces cybersecurity risks that are new to the lighting industry and must be addressed for successful integration with other systems.

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David GordonBy David Gordon

COVID-19 has heightened the benefit of, and interest in, eCommerce for electrical distributors. Our second and third COVID-19 Electrical Market Sentiment Reports have shown that those with an eCommerce offering have seen online sales increases. Further, from conversations with distributors, their site activity increased. The benefit is that these companies had lower sales declines (and some increases), and were able to better serve their customers.

A further benefit is that their remote workforce had access to an online resource, other than manufacturers, for quick, easy, product research.

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2020 q2 Pulse of Lighting FindingsChannel Marketing Group’s 2020 Q2 Pulse of Lighting Report projects that the lighting market, through electrical distribution, contracted by 20%.

The survey, conducted the third week in June, received responses from 164 individuals who equally represented industry stakeholders.

Distributor Performance
Very few distributors reported either flat or positive performance with over 30% reporting declines of over 30% for the quarter.

 

 

 

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EikoEIKO has announced the the introdutction of EiKO Marketplace, a digital storefront, located in the EiKO Portal. Developed to market and sell promotional specials and excess inventory including generational, overstock, and niche products; the EiKO Marketplace presents an opportunity to offer high-quality lighting at incredible savings.

Due to the rapid development and generational changes of LED technologies the timing is perfect to launch the EiKO Marketplace as an outlet to sell high quality, value-priced products.

 

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LevitonLeviton Canada is pleased to announce the nomination of Thomas Supinski as Sales Director for Alberta and the Prairies as of June 1st, 2020, as Julie Marineau will be moving to Montreal along with her family. Julie will be promoted to Vice-President, Retail at Leviton Canada’s head office.

Thomas has been residing in Calgary since 2003 and has a deep understanding of the regional market and its specific needs.

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Anju UddinBy Blake Marchand

Sonepar is excited to introduce Anju Uddin as the new Marketing Manager for their Ontario Region! Anju has more than 15 years of experience as a marketing expert, which includes running an independent agency working with a multitude of businesses in various industries and geographies from around the globe. 

With a passion for reinvention and finding success through a commitment to education and innovation, Anju has utilized her exceptional creativity and business acumen to engineer seamless brand experiences...

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