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.


       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)



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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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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