Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Sept 9, 2019

CEW PP IES Brandscombe 400

By Blake Marchand

Canadian Electrical Wholesaler had the opportunity to table a few questions with Independent Electric Supply’s Dave Branscombe. Dave serves as IES’s Vice-President of Purchasing, Marketing & Information Technology. He has been with IES for nearly 20 years, and is “still enjoying this wonderful industry.”

Born in Toronto, Dave earned degrees in Economics and Psychology from York University, continuing his education at The Schulich School of Business. As an industry veteran, Dave hasn’t lost enthusiasm for the industry, which is likely a result of multiple factors. No doubt among them would be the rapidly changing technological landscape, alongside the professional community facilitated by the Electro-Federation Canada’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) as well as working for a family owned and operated business like IES.

His role in purchasing often brings emerging products and technologies to his attention and embracing new trends and tech is certainly crucial to success amid the industry 4.0 landscape. Which is something that aligns with Dave’s philosophy, as well as something he enjoys.

In the interview below, Dave provides some interesting insight into trends he is witnessing in the wholesale industry, right now, his involvement with EFC’s YPN, and challenges associated with his role. He also touches on a certain mindset in his industry he’d like to see evolve. That being “the lowest price is always the right price.” Which alludes to the importance of multi-criteria decision making. Using multiple factors beyond those that can be plainly defined in financial terms provides a broader insight into the real cost/benefit of an investment. Decision making models (Analytic Hierarchy Processes or modified benefit to cost ratios, for example) that factor strategic and performance criteria along with financial considerations allow for a more educated evaluation of investment value.

As Dave mentions below IES is a family owned company, and maintaining that atmosphere is a key component to their success as a company. A full-line electrical distributer established in 1921 they operate out of Scarborough, Ontario, servicing the Greater Toronto Area, Rexdale, and Barrie area – stocking over 300  manufacturers and offering same day supply logo

And with that I will turn it over to Mr. Branscombe:

What is your role with YPN, how/why did you get involved, and how has it impacted your career?

I have been an active member in the YPN since its inception.I have been part of the group in a variety of capacities over the years and representing the YPN on various EFC boards. It has been an extremely positive impact on my career.  Through the YPN I have had the pleasure of meeting many members and enjoy spending time with them at events and conferences. It has definitely expanded my personal and professional social network.

Programs like the YPN help bring people together. I have met so many amazing people from Manufacturers, Agents and other Distributors. It has given me personal relationships that makes it easy to reach out to solve issues collaboratively through open communication and understanding.

What are some of the work-related challenges you face as VP Purchasing, Marketing & Information Technology?

Balancing the workload is definitely the most challenging part of my position. I like to stay organized and on task to complete projects, however as most people experience these days, the issues that arise quickly take you off track. I also find that each of my areas of responsibility requires a different type of thought process, which can be challenging to constantly switch between.

Being in a management/leadership position, what are the decisions you find most difficult?

I find that the most difficult decision is when I have to end someone’s employment. Our company is a family owned and run business and all of our employees are part of the family. It has never gotten any easier.

What do you think is next for your industry? Are there any emerging trends that you see becoming more prominent?

Our industry is primarily a sales industry, not a technology industry. The next logical step would be the integration of technology into our business processes to improve efficiencies and lower operating costs so that we can refocus on what we do best; sell. A common trend I see is the emergence of subscription services that could aid us in this effort.  Why build and own proprietary technology when you could subscribe to it and always have the latest version without depreciation costs.  Which ties into another trend that I see in our industry; the employment of young tech savvy talent to help integrate this technology into the business processes as well as the business processes into the technology.

What aspect of the industry interests you the most?

I love technology; I am always in the early adopter group when it comes to new products.  I really enjoy the Purchasing aspects of my job because I am the first one to see new technologies as they are about to be introduced into the market. I still get excited.

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

The mindset that the lowest price is always the right price.  Especially in an era of over abundance in product and manufacturer choices coming from all parts of the world.  The value proposition cannot be that black and white; there is always a critical intersection on the trade-off between price and quality. 

What is the importance of mentorship in your industry, is there someone that has been a source of inspiration or a mentor to you?

I have been extremely lucky that I have family in the industry, which have also been my mentors. I have learnt a lot about the industry from my father and continue to learn from him daily.  I also rely a lot on my brother for mentorship, he always has another way to view situations and I find that invaluable.

Blake Marchand is Assistant Editor with Kerrwil Electrical Group.


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“Re-envisioning Electrical Switchboards”: For light commercial applications, the status quo is no longer enough

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