Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Reset Button

David Gordon

We’re at that time of year. The doldrums days of summer. The time when it gets hot and many people naturally become a little more “laisser faire.” When we use the excuse of mid year, summertime, the July 1 holiday, vacations or just being “too busy” as reasons why we need to keep things on autopilot.

But have you looked historically at what percentage of your business is conducted between January and June vs. July and December? For many distributors the answer is 45% vs. 55%. And for some, this year it could be 40/60, given the challenging first quarter, in order to achieve any growth.

Is it time to hit the reset button?

As we head into summer, consider:

• If you had a plan coming into this year, are you on track? If not, what needs to be adjusted?

• If joint plans were developed with manufacturers (or with your distributors, reps or salespeople), are they being implemented? Are you on track for achieving goals and rebate objectives? If not, is it time for some adjustments? Are you confident that your existing plan will deliver, or are you “hoping” it will (and you know what they say about hope being your strategy)?

• Are your salespeople on track? Do they need to reset, or identify, some target accounts for Q3, and then reload for Q4?

• In purchasing, are you taking advantage of quarterly/mid year supplier return policies to right size inventory and minimize excess and obsolete inventory (and maximize the benefits you’ve earned from a manufacturer)?

• Is your marketing department reconsidering their initiatives and identifying shorter-term strategies that can impact this year’s business?

• Do you have scheduled mid year reviews with your salespeople and key suppliers?

• Are margins challenged? Have you reviewed pricing to see where you can get some quick benefits and re-evaluated your SPA utilization? Speaking of SPAs, are you current on filing for claims?

• Is now the time to be opportunistic in expanding your sales organization? Two reasons: increase your coverage and prepare for next generation. Hiring now enables you to train them in your systems / methodology through the remainder of the year while possible reaching new customers and reassigning under-performing (or lacklustre) accounts that your existing sales organization doesn’t have time to reach.

• Consider reviewing your information and look at

o customers who are growing at a faster pace … why are they?

o identifying product categories where you are underperforming or overperforming? Why? What could be rectified / emulated?

o identifying customers whose stock business is growing at a accelerated rate? What could be emulated with others? How could you further help them?

o whether your team aware of supplier new products? How could you better promote these?

o what services are under promoted to your customer base?

o which distributors are making the market for you vs. being happy with the tide? Focus a little more effort on those who proactively support you … in essence “double down on winners.”

o whether your salespeople carry too many accounts. Force them to stop calling on, or servicing, accounts less than $x (for some companies this is $25,000, some $50,000, some $100,000) and ensure that they spend more time with their top 5-10 customers (maybe less). Experience has shown that less can deliver more.

Have every major department, and salesperson, should develop a 1 page (max) second half plan consisting of one paragraph, providing a first half analysis / evaluation and the remainder focusing on second half objectives and initiatives with defined timelines, responsibility assignments and support needs.

It’s easy to keep the ship steady, put the company on summertime autopilot, get caught up in the heat of activity and say, “it’s summertime and everyone’s too busy,” and then come back in September and say, “We need to start thinking of 2016.″ Where will six months have gone?

Sometimes staying the course is the right course. Sometimes you need to take the fork in the road to reach your destination.

If not now, when? Now is the time to re-energize plans and your team to ensure you finish the year strong and meet your objectives. Odds are your competition will take the summer off.

And sometimes it helps to have a 3rd party perspective for a day …

Should you do a mid year review within your company and hit “reset”? 

Perhaps powering down for a 1/2 day to a day to hit “reset” can help you adjust and gain a different perspective. After all, isn’t that how we diagnose many tech problems… push the reset button or power down?


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.

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?

Are You Uncomfortable? Good.

10 Tips for Taking Share

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?





 

 

CEW market research 400By John Kerr

The past nine weeks have been to say the least a challenge across the electrical industry. From agents to suppliers, from end users to the electrical channel, all have been affected, all have been forced to think differently and all have begun the journey to retooling the way we operate.

This is the third report in our series quantifying and exploring how electrical wholesalers have had to adapt and how they are looking to find a way forward. For this we have taken a different approach from our previous reports in that we have incorporated the results from our recent survey alongside personal interviews and discussions with electrical distributor teams across Canada

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arkest Before the Dawn, Part 2

CEW 9 JK Figure 1 700By John Kerr

I spoke in my previous article about my father’s quote darkest before the dawn. Well, he had another saying clearly brought forward by his growing up in the depression. He would say, “Money is not everything. It just helps,” and at a time like this when there are so many storylines of effort above and beyond the call, and so many initiatives underway by electrical distributors, there will be a rallying right across the country. The electrical distributors are moving, reacting, and more adaptable than ever before. 

The current situation we find ourselves in is to say the least fluid, dynamic and somewhat disconcerting for many, but underlying it is a focused, disciplined approach to addressing the new norm and new reality. Some branches remain closed, some open with minimal staff, and others rotating staff and working differently than ever before.

Recent public reports by Wesco and Rexel have indicated drops approaching 23% through mid April and clearly ones that demonstrated a slowdown from mid March. Our discussions with both distributors and end users/contractors alike confirm their buying and purchasing activity were curtailed more aggressively in early April.

Over 106 electrical distributors responded to our recent survey with 73% from corporate and branch management. 

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Gurvinder ChopraBy Gurvinder Chopra

This June, Canadians will commemorate Electrical Safety Month; June also marks the fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic national lockdown. For many Canadians, working from home has become the new normal. As confinement continues, the demand for constant power feed to connect to the world we now live, work, and play in at home has grown substantially. Homes are being equipped with new technologies that offer plenty of benefits, but they also place high demand on electrical systems at home, potentially causing serious safety risks. 

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David GordonBy David Gordon

In talking with distributors and manufacturers it is clear that many are actively in the planning and pivoting mode, moving from survivability to thriveability. They’ve stabilized their business financially, emotionally (from a staff viewpoint) and operationally. Now they are looking at “doing business,” and more financially secure ones are identifying ways to take share.

This doesn’t mean that others are not planning and pivoting. Some didn’t miss a beat; others typically don’t do much planning and live in the moment. 

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Building Permits - MarchThe total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities decreased 13.2% to $7.4 billion in March, with declines reported in seven provinces and two territories. The $1.1 billion national decrease was the largest since August 2014. This reflected notable drops in Ontario (-12.9%), Quebec (-18.1%) and British Columbia (-19.4%), which coincided with efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 Value of residential permits down

The total value of residential permits decreased 13.1% to $4.6 billion in March.

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EIN evolve 400As we continue to respond to the changing status with the COVID-19 outbreak, EFC is taking preventative measures to protect conference delegates from any further risks associated with this virus. After much consideration and consultation, the EFC Board has decided to cancel EFC’s Industry Conference in Banff which was rescheduled from late May to September 1 - 3, 2020. This decision was difficult but necessary for the safety of our members, employees, and the community.

One of EFC's key mandates, is to deliver a premier national thought-leadership conference for industry members, partners, and affiliates. 

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Sonepar's Gaurav SharmaA new video featuring Sonepar’s Vice President of eCommerce and Digitalization, Gaurav Sharma, answers COVID-19 related questions regarding Sonepar Canada’s digital solutions, his team, and the future of eCommerce in the electrical wholesale industry.

Among new solutions introduced by Sonepar: customers can now create an online account through a simple text message. Traffic on Sonepar’s website has tripled since the pandemic began, and the number of new accounts has doubled. Many Sonepar locations also feature curbside pick-up.

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Schneider ElectricThe Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Hugo Lafontaine, Vice-President Digital Energy at Schneider Electric Canada. CABA is an international nonprofit industry association that provides information, education and networking to help promote advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings.

“We are delighted to welcome Hugo Lafontaine to CABA's Board,” said Ron Zimmer, CABA President & CEO “He brings a stellar background in building systems integration and the building automation market, and a wealth of insight into the digital platforms and solutions that will define smart-building innovations now and into the future.”

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Harold HayesHarold Hayes, a stalwart of the electrical industry, passed away peacefully in Scarborough, Ontario at the age of 90 on May 9, 2020.

Harold joined the industry as an apprentice at age 18, working first for his father’s business, Power Cable Installations, and then for Comstock. Among his later accomplishments, he formed Federal Pioneer Electric’s electric heating division, served as president of the Ontario Electric League in 1985, and while in his 80s consulted for Intellimeter Canada Inc.

 

 

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Sarah SilversteinBlake Marchand

Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. Together, they lead the company founded by their father, Steve Silverstein, who retired in 2018.

Although she initially pursued a career in outdoor education, Sarah was instrumental in the company’s expansion into architectural lighting and the U.S. market. She joined Liteline as a project manager in between stints working in outdoor education. Now she leads Liteline’s U.S. distribution arm and marketing department.

 

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