Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 internetBy David Gordon

With so many people growing up with astounding computer skills, a number of distributors are wondering how to utilize these skills in future business plans.

Most distributors got “pushed” into an ERP (enterprise resource planning) computer system because they thought it was a good way to print invoices. Some loaded their product data from people who aggregate product such as Trade Service, and some hand-typed the product descriptions, prices and unit of measures. Eventually, some moved to IDEA in hopes of matching data with their manufacturers so they could order, receive advance shipping notices, invoices and eventually sought to reach for the brass ring of three way matching thus gaining productivity.

Many distributors built, or had built, a web storefront where they learned, to their horror, that all that gibberish product data they had in their ERPs was not readable by customers seeking to buy product through their storefront. 

So, many have worked like beavers to clean up their product data and add pictures and better descriptions so that someone coming to their web storefront could actually order product without talking to anyone in that distributor's firm (or they’re subscribing to get attributed/catalogue data from IDEA or Trade Service). The reward, for some, was that customers still price shopped the distributor.

Third parties sell electrical products

 

Amazon (along with others) spent a boatload of money making it really easy for people to buy products and they did something else ... sell add on products through suggestions to the buyer. So Amazon made room for some of the larger electrical distributors to sell product, and the vast majority of distributors thought they would see poaching across defined territories. That meant to some that distributors that they no longer had protected territories. And this is becoming more of an issue with the launch of Amazon Supply.

Orders float in. Quotes quadruple and more 

Much to the surprise of some, internet sales grew slowly and then began to pick up. Some orders were redirected from Amazon and the distributor took on another partner, shrinking their margins. Quotes abounded, quadrupling or more in comparison to orders. But if the customer came through Amazon, many distributors were stuck with fees. Margins take another hit.

The question for many distributors was how to get rid of those fees.

The courtesy quote

A couple of electrical distributors I know have started offering a time-limited “courtesy quote” on their websites. The time limit is usually several hours. The potential customer is allowed to click on a button that makes them think that their order has been saved and is in a file to be regenerated, added to or for an order to be placed.

When the potential customer is unable to find the quote and only the header, they are directed to call the distributor's Web department. 

The customer is told that their quote was a “virtual quote” and that they are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused the customer. They direct the customer to go back to the distributor's site and give log-in instructions. 

Human connection is established. And by the way, a chance to upsell.

The distributor's web department brings up the quote and in the background on the customer’s screen suggested items appear that other people have purchased with their order. Obviously the web department's job is to add two or more highly priced items to the order, thus increasing the total profit on the order.

Does this work for you and your company?

David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group helps manufacturers and distributors in the construction and industrial trades generate ideas to accelerate revenue through strategic planning, marketing planning and coaching and market research initiatives. He can be reached at 919.488.8635.

 

 

Rick McCartenBy Rick McCarten

What how much does the electrical industry have to improve to complete with upcoming disruptions in the supply chain?

In May of this year, the delegates at Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s annual conference voted on when our industry would be hit with supply chain disruption. The group collectively agreed that our industry in Canada has only three years to prepare for major disruption. We need to act fast!

 

 

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David GordonBy David Gordon

The rep alignment dilemma… whom to align with to generate sales? End-users? National chains? Independent supportive distributors? Any distributor who will support the manufacturer? The manufacturer? But, the bottom line becomes, what will generate sales to meet manufacturer expectations?

It’s complicated, and channel consolidation and channel diversification will make this more complicated.

 

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Stephanie MedeirosBy Blake Marchand

Stephanie Medeiros leads ABB Canada’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure team, as well as transit bus charging in the United States and Canada. She has been with ABB in various positions for 10 years, compiling a diverse skillset that includes work all over the world. 

After receiving a degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University, Medeiros got her start in the industry by volunteering with the Canadian government as an electrical engineering intern, where she travelled to Peru to help improve their water treatment infrastructure. 

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Wholesale SalesWholesale sales rose 0.6% to $64.1 billion in June, partly offsetting the 1.9% decline in May. Sales were up in four of seven subsectors, representing 54% of total wholesale sales.

In dollar terms, two subsectors — miscellaneous, and machinery, equipment and supplies — contributed the most to the increase in June, while the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector posted the largest decline.

 

 

 

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Investment In Building ConstructionTotal investment in building construction decreased 0.9% in June to $15.1 billion, the first decline in eight months. A slight increase in non-residential investment (+1.0% to $4.8 billion) was offset by a decrease in the residential sector (-1.8% to $10.3 billion). On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction decreased 1.1% to $12.7 billion. Despite the monthly decrease, total investment grew 1.6% year over year in the second quarter.

 

 

 

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Changing Scene

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ImarkDuring the recently held IMARK Canada 2019 meeting in Niagara Falls, executives from 14 of the leading manufacturers in the Canadian electrical and lighting industry participated in the IMARK Canada Product Stampede on September 13th.

Select manufacturer executives had precisely five minutes to present a key product with superior growth potential to the members of IMARK Canada. Distributor member executives then rated each supplier based on the quality of the presentation and the perceived sales potential of the product being demonstrated.

 

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Endress+HauserEndress+Hauser has broken ground for its new $28 million Customer Experience Centre for Central and Eastern Canada. When construction of the approximately 47,000 sq ft facility in Burlington is completed late next year, it will provide customers from Manitoba to Atlantic Canada with a generously equipped, state-of-the-art training and support hub for selecting and familiarizing themselves with the company’s latest innovations for process automation.

Last week’s official groundbreaking included a traditional Land Acknowledgment Ceremony performed by Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations.

 

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Ariel Technology Inc.Heritage Sales and Marketing Group was created in late 2015 by Jack Eva, the former owner and operator of Electra Supply Inc., a four-branch independent distributor in South Western Ontario, which he sold in 2012 to the Franklin Empire organization based in Quebec Canada. Heritage Sales is an active member at Electro Federation Canada (EFC) & Canadian Electrical Manufacturers’ Representatives Association (CEMRA).

 

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Lori BagazzoliBy Blake Marchand

Lori Bagazzoli, Regional Sales Manager for Viscor, is a 20-year industry veteran that has built an interesting career from the bottom up. Beginning as a 19-year old just out of college in customer service with EXM, she gained an intimate knowledge of the electrical and lighting supply business by working her way through various organizational levels.

“I was definitely able to learn the different roles, and understand all the different aspects of the business,” she said, “starting so young, I really had to put in my time to be able to move up.”

 

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Louis BeaulieuBy Line Goyette

Neither a Millennial nor a Baby Boomer, Louis Beaulieu embraces new technologies and new markets, but remains faithful to family traditions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in management from Laval University and is the General Manager of Ouellet Canada. A perfect profile for a career in the family business.

When I ask him if, as is often the case in a family business, he had always known that he was going to join the company, he replied, “Not at all. When I was young, I spent my school holidays at my older brother’s farm at Ile d’Orléans.

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Looking Back

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