Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Today's Business EnvironmentDavid Gordon 

In today’s business environment, if you’re uncomfortable you’re probably in a stagnant mode, gross margins are decreasing, costs are rising, you have inefficiencies in your business, key associates are quietly looking for new opportunities, your competitors are quietly increasing their share within “your” customers, you’re seeing more customer churn, succession issues are creeping up and you’re losing some sleep at night.  But you’re comfortable and aren’t having to make tough decisions like … “How do I improve my business?”

Okay, a little harsh and some of you are thinking “We’re not experiencing any of that but we’re comfortable?” and others are thinking “Why should comfortable be bad?”

The reason a state of comfortability should be a warning sign is that your customers, your prospects, your associates, your competitors, your suppliers and other economic and regulatory environments are in a state of constant change. The key to tomorrow’s success is how you anticipate opportunities and continuously invent and reinvent yourself.  Consider the quality concept of “continuous process improvement” – how should this be applied throughout your company … and quicker than ever before!

I was recently at a client’s sales meeting and the president of the company spoke for a few moments… but powerful words.  He was pleased that his company has come so far in 30- plus years but even more so in the past 5-7 years.  He said he lives in a state of “constant uncomfortability” and wanted his management team and salespeople to also live in this state.

This “state of constant uncomfortability” enables him, and he feels them (the company) to:

- keep a pulse on the market

- sense change (from customers, in suppliers, the need for staff development / recruitment, new service / product development, etc)

- continuously challenge themselves

- adapt to capture opportunities

- identify areas for prudent, profitable investments on a regular basis to better support their customers while at the same time improving processes and gaining cost / process efficiencies

- upgrade staff

He essentially said that change is key to success.  It’s a required attribute of a company and an integral aspect of their culture. He knows that yesterday is different than today and that today may not be the roadmap for tomorrow (his words). Consider, the past and the present do not have to be precursors of your future.

An interesting message to give to a management team and sales organization.

Now that we’ve crossed the halfway point of the year, some companies start to think about their 2015 planning. Perhaps:

Set an annual goal to have change … in sales approach, offering, services, operational processes, customer approach, marketing strategies / tools, etc.  

Review your strategies and ask 

“What could I change?”

“What should I change?”

“What needs to change?

(When I managed IMARK’s marketing initiatives, I had a rule that any strategy that didn’t generate at least 25% membership participation needed to be overhauled or cancelled.  Other initiatives were reviewed for change.  The result – a reallocation of marketing funds and ensuring membership was satisfied (25% was set due to membership diversity.)

And change ensures you have something to communicate to customers, suppliers and staff … change is about insuring tomorrow.

And as Stan Rydzynski says “Every attempt to move forward requires the knowledge of the past and present to formulate a strategy to grow profitably”.

How does your company embrace change?

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 or by email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.channelmkt.com, or www.electricaltrends.com

More in CEW by David Gordon:

Innovation Takes Culture, Not Only Books: Part 1

Innovation Takes Culture, Not Only Books: Part 2

The Amazon Supply Threat

Selling Lighting or Selling Data?

10 Tips for Taking Share

Is it Time to Hit the Reset Button?

Boosting Performance at Your Webstore

Amazon Upgrades from Supply to Business

Evolving the Role of Marketing Within Your Distributorship

Strategies in Light Observations: Distributor LED Opportunities

Are You Ready To Sell LEDs Differently?

16 Distribution Industry Trends for 2016

Lighting the Way to Demand Creation

Sales Making Excuses?

Converting Emails Into Sales Through Thoughtful Communications

Learning from Amazon and Generating Ideas

Turning Your Staff into a Competitive Advantage

Internet is Impersonal

Sales and Marketing - How Can Joint Sales Calls Become More Effective

Creating Demand to Drive Profitable Growth

Is Your Company a Kool-Aid Drinker?

What Manufacturers (and Their Reps) Don't Know About Distributor Joint Sales Calls

What is Marketing's ROI?

Not All Is Meant for Online

Point of Sale… Profits Lost?





 

 

 

OlsonBy Katrina Olson

A recent CEW article by David Gordon caught my eye. The headline was, Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

As a marketing consultant, writer, and trainer, I recognized the challenges and barriers that David was writing about. We agree on many issues (and their causes) facing electrical distributors and marketers. But I also hear from marketing people all the time that the C-Suite is hindering their efforts which, in turn, hinders the company’s growth.  

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2018 Electrical North American MeetingOn October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This event attracted 151 first time attendees and representatives from over 362 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Attendees benefited from a variety of agenda topics, including: Network Meetings, Emerging Leaders Session, and Country-specific Business Meetings. New to this year’s agenda was a SPA Optimization Workshop led by industry veteran Mo Barsema. In addition, members and suppliers also attended a panel discussion on managing and measuring your digital success.

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Changing Scene

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 EFC Announces 2018 Marketing Awards Winners

2018 Marketing Awards WinnersElectro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence and innovation within the Canadian electrical manufacturing and distribution industry. Winners of this year’s awards were recognized at EFC’s 8th Annual Future Forum, held earlier this month. (Shown in photo: EFC President and CEO Carole McGlogan with representatives from Bartle & Gibson, winners of the Integrated Marketing Award — distributor under $50 million.)Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence...

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Peers & Profiles

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 Young Leaders: Taylor Gerrie

Taylor GerrieOn a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a Q&A. It’s a way of recognizing industry movers and shakers, and helping our readers get to know them better. 

Recently we launched an initiative with Electro-Federation Canada's Young Professionals Network to include profiles of up-and-coming leaders. We provided the list of questions below to Taylor Gerrie, Automation Account Specialist at Gerrie Electric Wholesale Ltd. in Burlington, Ontario. Here are Taylor’s responses.

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Susan Uthayakumar, President of Schneider Electric Canada: Driving Success

Susan UthayakumarBy Owen Hurst

First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing with a friend than conducting an interview with the Canadian president of one of the world’s largest electrical manufacturers. Of course, she exudes the confidence and knowledge her position demands, but equally identifiable are an open and engaging nature.

In a recent sit-down, we learned a little about Susan’s history and what drives her to succeed.

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Looking Back

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Looking BackThe best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. The welcome they gave to me, all of them men. (In those days there were not many women in business.) This welcome I will always remember. CEDA has played a very important role in my success.

One year our conference was in Hamilton, Ontario. Mr. Caouillette, our speaker, got lost and instead of going to Hamilton went to Toronto. I think that that was the longest cocktail hour that CEDA ever had… waiting for him to arrive. Certainly that night the head table and everyone were in good spirits.

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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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