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.

 

 

Taylor GerrieBy Taylor Gerrie

Technology is our greatest ally and accomplishment, but do the costs outweigh the benefits? In my opinion, they absolutely do! As consumers we use technology in almost everything we do. We use it for entertainment when we watch television, we use it to control the temperature in our homes, we use it when driving to destinations we have never been to. Technology has made our lives so much more convenient and efficient. Technology has brought out these benefits in the workplace as well. This technological phenomenon has also had a huge impact in the electrical industry. 

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CybersecurityDuring a recent Industrial Control Systems Joint Working Group meeting, representatives from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and International Society of Automation (ISA) outlined a new program to address the growing risk of unprotected and under-protected building control systems in the U.S. and abroad.

Building owners, users, and manufacturers of control systems continuously work to find practical ways to create safe and more secure environments.

 

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Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

No one likes to hear that they are behind. And that is exactly what the results are when it comes to diversity within Electro-Federation Canada’s membership. Most within our industry already know this, but does everyone understand what the impact could be on our businesses? There are many studies and reports that show that diversity improves competitiveness. A study by McKinsey shows that top quartile performance in diversity yields between 15% and 35% improvements in profit. 

 

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Kim QuelchBy Kim Quelch

What a great conference that Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) has put on once again this year in beautiful Quebec City. We as YPNs (Young Professionals Network) had the opportunity to take part in the proceedings with a panel discussion centred on the future of the electrical industry. Three members from EFC’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) participated in this panel discussion a few weeks ago (Dave Branscombe, Independent Electric; Lori Bagazzoli, Viscor; and Jonathan Perlis, Standard-Stanpro and Chair of Quebec Region’s YPN committee).

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AztecAztec Electrical Supply is one of the most dynamic, fastest growing electrical and automation distributors in Canada. The supplier has four Ontario locations, in Concord, Cambridge, Burlington and Mississauga.

They specialize in supplying quality automation and electrical products to electrical contractors, manufacturing plants, OEMs and custom machine builders. Their comprehensive inventory includes electrical and pneumatic products for breakdowns and emergencies, as well as everyday contractor and MRO requirements. They also work closely with their partners to source specialty products that may be required for major projects.

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Changing Scene

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Jules comes to us with over 30 years of experience selling Power Electronic products, most recently as the Electrical Sales Manager at Mersen. He has also worked for a Distributor and for a Manufacturers Rep Agency, which has given him a broad understanding of the entire electrical channel. Jules brings with him proven leadership and technical sales.

 

 

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From small construction to sophisticated industrial projects, House of Electrical stocks electrical supplies for a wide range of applications. For over 30 years, they have been servicing clients in the industrial, OEM, entertainment and construction markets across the greater metropolitan Toronto area. Their product solutions range from electrical, automation, safety, lighting and portable power distribution.

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