Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Forces of ChangeBy Rick McCarten

I recently attended a seminar that featured a presentation by a successful distributor in the container and packaging business. The presenter was Andrew Berlin of Berlin Packaging out of Chicago. Berlin’s presentation turned distribution inside out and offered a unique way to run wholesale distribution. 

This presentation was facilitated by Guy Blissett, author of Facing the Forces of Change, Reimagining the Distributor. Guy will also be presenting at the Electrical Council conference in Montreal next week. 

Berlin began his presentation with the first thing a company needs: the right mind set “to improve our customers’ bottom lines.” 

That means increasing their sales, reducing their costs and improving their productivity. To do that, Berlin has set up a number of divisions in his company: a division that develops packaging solutions, another division that handles financial services, one that does global purchasing, and still another to offer operational consulting to their customers and build long-term relations. 

Rather than offer his customers products and services, Berlin offers them services that save them money. He is not looking for a way to get customers to pay for his services; rather, he is explaining to the customer how much they are saving by using his services. It is not about cost to the customer, it is about savings for the customer. 

To that end, Berlin closely tracks his company’s performance and prepares it in a way that shows the customer how they are saving money using his services. The company tracks how much money they save for each of their long-term customers, and produces a yearly report for each customer on agreed-upon dollars of savings. Last year alone, they saved their core customers $85 million. They track the savings and they let their customers know. 

Once you start on this path, it becomes more clear what next steps your company needs to take. “We are evolving to focus even more on the emotional drivers for our customers and us,” says Berlin. 

When you are into saving your customers money, you can develop a completely different relationship than if you are perceived as being an expense. On one side, you are in the tent helping to reduce outside costs, and on the other, you are outside the tent as one of the obstacles that need to be reduced. Like an employee, you are either viewed as an asset or as an expense.   

How does this apply to our industry?

Every wholesale distributor saves their customers money: from timely deliveries, to credit, to solutions. What is the cost to a factory to shut down because of a broken part that cannot be replaced that day? What is the cost of a project that is delayed because of the wrong product delivered?  

Some companies arguably must save their customers more money than others (better, faster deliveries, more helpful and informed staff, better inventory, better solutions). In fact, some businesses are using this service advantage to differentiate themselves from their competitor. They are letting their customers know just how great their service is by showing it to the customer in saved dollars.  

Note: years ago, the Electrical Council worked with a consultant named Tim Underhill to develop a book entitled, Value-added Selling. This book, which is still available, goes through how you can break down all of your services into dollars — dollars that are being saved by your customer. At the time, some of our distributors used the concepts in this book with their customers and developed something similar to what Andrew Berlin referenced in his presentation.  

If you are interested in receiving a copy of this book (no charge to Electrical Council members), please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rick McCarten is Vice President, Electrical Council, Electro-Federation Canada.

 

 

ABBDuring E.B. Horsman & Son’s (EBH) Annual General Meeting on March 5, 2019, ABB Canada was presented with the 2018 EBH Supplier of the Year award by Tyson Carvell, VP of Marketing. The award was received by Ed Atkinson, ABB Commercial & Construction Sales Manager for BC, on behalf of Rob Ruys, ABB Regional Manager for Western Canada.

Each year E.B. Horsman & Son monitors the sales and operations of each of their 600+ supplier partners. 

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SouthwireIn March 2018, Southwire announced the investment of more than US$9 million back into the lives of employees through one-time employee bonuses, expanded parental leave and a strengthened commitment to education through the Bridge Scholarship Program, a one-time opportunity for eligible hourly employees seeking to further their education through a two-year degree, four-year degree or technical certification. One year later, 64 employees have been awarded the Bridge Scholarship.  

“Building organizational capability is vital to maintaining our great culture and driving business results,” says Kelley Park, Executive Vice President of Human Resources.

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CEW 6 HR 400People with low levels of coping skills are at higher risk for mental health issues and mental illness than those with high levels. Gaps in coping skills inhibit the ability to solve problems and to make healthy and effective decisions.

To examine how coping skills can predict health outcomes, Dr. Bill Howatt facilitated a doctoral research study that examined the question: “What role does an individual’s coping skills have in predicting psychological and physical health outcomes?” The study found that coping skills mattered and were, in fact, a moderator that partially explains why some individuals had better physical and psychological health outcomes than others. The study concluded that when combining a person’s coping skills with their perceived stress levels, coping skills were significant in predicting which employees were at more or less risk for health issues.

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Changing Scene

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GE has completed the sale of its Current, powered by GE business unit to American Industrial ...
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During E.B. Horsman & Son’s (EBH) Annual General Meeting on March 5, 2019, ABB Canada was ...
Desdowd Inc. has been chosen to serve as Thermon’s manufacturer's agent for the province of Quebec ...

CREECree, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit, which includes the LED lighting fixtures, lamps and corporate lighting solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications, to Ideal Industries, Inc. for approximately US$310 million before tax impacts, including up-front and contingent consideration and the assumption of certain liabilities. Cree expects to receive an initial cash payment of US$225 million, subject to purchase price adjustments, and has the potential to receive a targeted earn-out payment of approximately US$85 million based on an adjusted EBITDA metric for Cree Lighting over a 12-month period beginning two years after the transaction closes.

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EHRC WLNElectricity Human Resources Canada is delighted to have announced its new partnership with Women Leadership Nation™ (WLN) on International Women’s Day.

Electricity Human Resources Canada is delighted to have announced its new partnership with Women Leadership Nation™ (WLN) on International Women’s Day. This strategic alliance will offer EHRC members and Leadership Accord signatories with training, development and strategy support in their efforts to make progress in closing the Gender Gap.

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ABB Showcases Its Vision of Leadership in Digital Industries at ABB Customer World 2019

Show ReportBy Line Goyette

Leaders and innovators from business, government and the education sector gathered for this ABB premier collaboration event. More than 11,000 delegates attended the bi-annual ABB Customer World Houston 2019 from March 4 to 7 in Houston, Texas. ABB’s latest pioneering technologies were displayed over 150,000 sq ft of a colourful, buzzy display of futuristic conveyor belts and robots, an ABB Formula E Generation 2 car, and much more groundbreaking technology.

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Peers & Profiles

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On a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a ...
First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing ...
Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
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Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...

 

National ManufacturingExcellence in Manufacturing Consortium EMC’s Advantage through Excellence: Future of Manufacturing Conference is a 2½ day event exploring the competitive advantages, opportunities and successes that can be achieved by manufacturers through a variety of learning forums — up to 40 workshops, panel sessions, keynote presentations and best practice plant tours — providing delegates with outstanding opportunities for benchmarking, peer networking, learning and sharing of hundreds of best practices. An estimated 500 to 900 manufacturing leaders and stakeholders from across Canada are expected to attend. 

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Rick McCartenBy Rick McCarten

I think it was Bill Gates who said the Internet will not have an effect on society short term, but will have a profound effect on us long term. 

Long term versus short term fascinates me. Making the call for one over the other can determine the success (or failure) of companies today. 

Using Bill Gates’ long-term Internet effect example, means that business decisions about the Internet will not necessarily show short-term gain, but will show “profound” gain in the long term.

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CEW 3 Perspective 400

We often learn how to look forward by first looking back, or at the very least we realize that despite our best efforts we have not truly advanced quite so much as we had thought. Sure, technology is rapidly advancing. That’s beyond question. But what about our approach to selling it? Have we changed that much in the last 20, 40, 60 years? Inevitably there have been advances and changes in marketing, the Internet causing the biggest shift, but many of the concerns and directives that have driven the distribution and marketing of industrial electrical products remain, or at least planted the roots of the concerns of manufacturers and distributors today. 

To gain perspective of the perceptions and directions of electrical product distribution in 1960, we turn to Edwin H. Lewis. In 1960 Lewis published “The Distribution of Industrial Electrical Products” in the Journal of Marketing.

To fully define electrical product distribution in 1960, Lewis broke his study into several categories. We will follow his direction and provide his insights on the industry in each of the categories he identified.

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Looking Back

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The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
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Bnei AkivaBy Blake Marchand


Lior Levy, along with Josh Kantrowitz, led a team of 21 students earlier this year as they travelled to Hartsville, South Carolina for the annual Bnei Akiva Habit for Humanity trip, in partnership with Legrand. As a frequent supporter of Habitat for Humanity, Legrand donated the funds required to purchase the construction materials for the project.

Ms. Levy, a pre-med student from Toronto who recently received her BA in Biology while attending Yishiva University in New York.

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Looking BackLooking BackIn the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent companies like Horsman, Ashdowns, Brettell, Marshall Wells, Electrical Supplies Ltd., etc.

Small electrical distributors just were not acceptable for membership as they did not carry the main-line manufacturers’ goods, publish a wiring device catalogue, or employ four to five salesmen as CEDA requested.

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