Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

May 2 2016

Line Goyette

One Laplante brother, Paul, arrived in 1978 in the family business founded by their father in 1955; the other, Marc, in 1987. It is often said that opposites attract. The brothers speak of complementarity. Together they evolve in a changing market, the strengths of each allowing them to adapt to these changes relatively smoothly. Their approach has never really changed. It was inherited from their father: respect and integrity first. The brothers say their father was known as a gentleman before becoming a businessman. It seems that Paul’s son, the third generation coming to join Laplante & Associés, also shares this philosophy.

Paul arrived at the company at the end of his university studies, just as he was about begin a career in production management. His father was experiencing health problems and asked him to join the company, which operated at that time from home. As for Marc, a similar scenario presented itself almost 10 years later at the end of his university studies in biology (he wanted to become a veterinarian). Asked to lend a hand after the company had just lost an employee, he never left. “Our integration was easy. We already knew everybody, they were part of our lives since our childhood,” explain the two brothers. “In our field, family ties and business links intersect often.”

Following the evolving marketplace

These connections and this network that allowed them to grow have also, they say, allowed them to follow the current in an ever-changing industry. “In our father’s time, electrical distribution was related to the retail market. Everything having an electrical outlet was part of electrical distribution, which was then beginning to take shape in Quebec. Then, electrical distributors started focusing on products and electrical components, and away from appliances or other power tools intended for the retail market. Lighting products were then part of the electrical supply.”

In the 1960s, their father was closely associated with lighting products. “It was then an export and specialty market,” they explain. “In the 1960s, our father was an agent for the company H&L Ironcraft, better known under the name of Snoc Lighting. He sold luminaires. One could say that the majority of churches in Quebec were lit with their massive custom-made luminaires.

“This market has been revolutionized by the arrival of agents specializing in lighting products, and more recently LED lighting. Since the arrival of LEDs, many consolidations and mergers have taken place. Major manufacturers occupy the largest share of the market, but independent agents can also satisfy market needs, and this is what we do.”

The Laplante brothers define their business as a multi-market agency, and according to them this is their strength. They can thus follow trends and satisfy the needs of their construction and renovation clients. “Our market expertise is well recognized and our relationships date from the founding of the company. We work closely with entrepreneurs and try to project the market ahead of us.” To do this, Paul analyses industry trends and projections, and Marc sits on the boards of CEMRA, NEMRA and most recently on the council of Electro-Federation Canada’s Québec section. “For a business to sustain itself and grow, it must reinvent itself. This requires knowing the market, learning, and taking part in discussions. The electrical market cannot thrive forever, it is our complementary offerings and our expertise in related fields that allow us to continue adding value for our customers.”

In addition to technological change, have you seen other transformations on the market?

“It is certain that the Internet has changed how we do things. Customers are more informed, which is good. On the other hand, they want a much faster response. Before, we had 24 hours to respond to a request. This is no longer the case. Our personal and professional lives tend to overlap. Everyone must stay connected at all times.”

They also note that the Internet has changed the relationships between people. “Agencies are service providers, and the added value is in the service given. We are specialists in the products of the companies we represent. For us, direct contact is essential. We can give our customers custom solutions. Our customers are better informed, and want answers faster, but customer service doesn’t play out in front of a screen.”

Paul has been in the business for almost 30 years, and Marc for 20. Where will they be in 10 years?

There is no hesitation in their response. The company will always be there. Paul’s son Patrick recently joined the team and is very active with clients and networks of young professionals. Succession is assured, they say, but Paul says that he has no plans to retire. Marc thinks of stopping working some day, but adds emphatically that it seems unlikely in the immediate future. He finds separating his personal life from his professional easier than his brother does. Equal partners in the business, their two personalities have sometimes forced them to compromise, and they are happy to say that most of the time they made the right decisions. They’re proud of never having to let staff go for lack of work.

“In 10 years, the agencies will be probably more specialized, what we call ‘focus agencies.’ This goes a little against what we’re doing now, but regardless of where the market will go, we will go with it. It’s our philosophy and our strength.”

As a manufacturing agent, Laplante and Associates represents a full range of products used in the sectors electricity, mechanics and ventilation, as in residential, commercial and industrial and also at the level of the original equipment suppliers.


Line Goyette is Managing Editor of CEW; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More Peers & Profiles from Line Goyette in CEW:

Among the Dunnigans of Techspan Industries: a Sense of Adventure from One Generation to Another

David Beron — A Resolutely Scientific Spirit in a World that May Not Be Moving Fast Enough

Running Man: Stelpro’s Yves Chabot

Cara Backman— Open to Everything, Even Life’s Surprises

Nathalie Pilon: A Woman Who Knows Her Own Mind

David Nathaniel: A Talent for Being There at the Right Time

From One Generation to the Other, New Ideas Help the Company Grow

Daniel Peloquin: Just Do It, But Fail Fast

Lina Rishmawi — A New Canadian Who Loves Challenges

Juan Macias — A Commitment to Sustainability and a Call for Innovation

Michelle Branigan

 

Latest Articles

  • Prev
Leaders and innovators from business, government and the education sector gathered for this ABB ...
Hitachi has a deal with industrial giant ABB to purchase 80% of their Power Grids division for ...
I can still remember August 5, 2014 like it was yesterday. This date marks my first day as a ...
In setting growth plans for the coming year, one should ask, “What percentage of my customers might ...
The stigma behind dealing with contractors has forever been “they are a tough group to build a ...
Perhaps the better question is, “Why does it matter what young marketers want?” The answer is that ...
The Channel Marketing Group / William Blair Q3 2018 Pulse of Lighting Report shows that the ...
Following months-long renovations, Deschenes officially opened a renovated service counter at its ...
A question I sometimes ask managers and salespeople when I speak at conferences is, “How much ...
A few weeks ago Kim Quelch, National President of Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Young ...

 

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.  

Read More

 

 

 

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.

Read More

 

 

 

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.

Read More

Changing Scene

  • Prev
Desdowd Inc. has been chosen to serve as Thermon’s manufacturer's agent for the province of Quebec ...
Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited’s website has a fresh new look but continues to offer the same ...
Following a record 2018, Westburne continues its investment in its British Columbia team with two ...
Cree, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit, which includes the ...
On March 1 Eaton announced intentions to spin off its lighting business, creating an independent, ...
John Wade’s tenure of over 25 years working in the electrical industry in various capacities were ...
At least 17 privately-owned companies in Canada’s electrical industry continue to earn Canada’s ...
From February 25 to 27, 2019, AD welcomed more than 280 AD independent distributors and service ...
Liteline Corporation has named Eric Teacher as Liteline's newest Regional Sales Manager — ...
  The Canadian Electrical industry is at the forefront of innovation. Our products help ...

 

 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...

Read More

 

 

 

CEW 6 ShowReport 400Leaders 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. ACW attendees also took part in keynote sessions and seminars focused on realizing the tremendous productivity and performance improvements that digitalization delivers for companies of any size and from any industry.

In his keynote address at the event, ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer explained how ABB was shaping its business for leadership in digital industries to support its customers in a time of unprecedented technological change and digitalization. He was joined by Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri. 

Read More

 

Changing Scene: 

Cree logo 2 400Cree, 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.

The agreement continues Cree’s strategy, announced in February 2018, to create a more focused, powerhouse semiconductor company, providing growth capital for Wolfspeed, its core Power and RF business, and equips Cree with additional resources to expand its semiconductor operations. The deal also enables Cree Lighting to gain additional global focus, channel support and investment as it becomes a growth engine for the IDEAL team.

Read More

Looking Back

  • Prev
The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
In the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent ...
Prior to the late 1950s there was little if any involvement in CEDA by the so-called “national ...
  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...

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.

Read More

 

 


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.

Read More

 

 

 

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2019 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil