Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Nov 18, 2019

EIN Alex Southwire 400By Blake Marchand

Alexander Couckuyt, Director of Operations for Southwire Canada, spent the majority of his formative years in Belgium where he undertook his schooling in Business Marketing and Sales before entering an Electrician Apprenticeship program, and working as a licenced electrician as well as an independent contractor for three years.

His work as a contractor would eventually lead him to his current position. Working with suppliers as an electrician, Alex was presented with an opportunity to work for CEBEO, one of Sonepar’s operating companies. He accepted an Inside Sales Rep position, working on the opposite side of the contractor/supplier dynamic.

Alex worked there for two years before moving back to Canada and taking a job with Southwire Canada as an Account Manager. Born in Canada, Alex moved to Belgium at the age of seven. He had always intended on moving back to Canada at some point, he noted.

Alex made his way up the company quickly, moving from his initial role into a Supply Chain Analyst followed by a Logistics position, where he worked for 9 months before becoming Supply Chain Manager. In that capacity Alex held responsibility for both for Southwire Canada’s Supply Chain as well as their Mississauga Customer Service Centre. He stayed in that role for just over two years and was recently promoted to Director of Operations in July.

Being responsible for all Southwire Canada’s Operations for Alex includes, he explained, “two Customer Service Centres, one in Mississauga and one in Calgary. Then we have our supply chain department, taking care of, obviously, supply chain and inventory management and our Canadian Customer Experience Team, which is a team of Account Managers that support our customer base from the inside sales point of view. So, my responsibilities, basically, span from the initial quote request to final delivery.”

“I started as an Account Manager, then moved into Logistics – at this point, we didn’t really have a robust logistics and supply chain department within the Canadian Organization,” he said, something Alex was tasked with building up. “As I moved through the organization, I took those responsibilities with me, and really looked at streamlining how we can operate and supply our customers in the Canadian market.”

Alex’s schooling and work history, up until he took a position with Southwire, provided him with a solid academic and technical knowledge base which really prepared him to excel in the way he has with the company. Similarly, transitioning the way he did within the Southwire organization, from a commercial role to Supply Chain, Operations and Management, has allowed him to develop a broad experience base and ultimately given him firsthand knowledge of the of the areas under his purview. That also includes the end-user. Having the perspective of the customers, which Alex has from his experience as an electrician, is crucial to providing robust, well rounded Customer Experience.

“Going through that variety of academically focused schooling followed by trades has had a significant impact on my perspective in every role that I’ve held in my career. Starting off as a licenced electrician first – from a products point of view being an end-user of our products, then moving into working for a distributor really helped me understand the needs and the opportunities there are for our end-users to provide solutions that make their lives easier,” he said.

“Now working for a manufacturer really provided me with a broad perspective of the various companies and people in that supply chain, going from manufacturing, making the product, right down to the end-user who is actually handling and installing it.”

His current role comes with the challenge of bringing all those components together with the added layer of leadership responsibilities. Alex explains it well as, “Looking at how to leverage people, process, and technology. You need all three to really work well, align well together. When I look at what really challenges me, what interests me,” he said, “fostering that culture of continuous improvement, optimizing the talent of the people you have as well as building out your teams to help drive your company to the next level.”

That has been a positive challenge for Alex, particularly in his most recent roles, and one that he enjoys taking on.

Another focus for him is operational efficiencies. “How we can operate and execute as efficiently as possible and, again, how that all ties together with optimizing our talent and always continuing to improve.”

With respect to the mentality Alex describes as continuous improvement, the state of the energy industry from the technological perspective makes it an exciting time with plenty of opportunity. Particularly for those with a forward-thinking mindset. “The whole sector really is transforming,” he said, “From a technology point of view, the exciting impact and opportunities we’re seeing come up from renewable energy resources, looking at things like the need for improving our energy storage capabilities, the creation of micro grids; wind farms, solar farms, transitioning from that centralized model of having one big powerplant providing energy for large groups of consumers.”

The internet of things is also proving major opportunities for wire and cable, increased connectivity requires an increase in electrification. Making it an exciting time to be in the wire and cable industry.

From the business side of things, Alex noted there is a “rapidly changing competitive landscape.”

“There’s a lot of consolidation within the industry, large companies consolidating is definitely a trend impacting us” he said. Customer expectations are also rapidly evolving. Alex referred to ‘the Amazon-effect’, where customers are expecting increasingly quick turn around times on deliveries. Which includes increased visibility into the supply chain. Furthermore, with the progression of technology in this space there are certainly increased efficiencies to be had. Manufacturers, vendors, distributors must work closely to provide an optimal supply chain solution.

It all comes down to keeping the customer at the centre of their focus, being attuned to customer needs as the industry evolves, ultimately ensuring “the right products are in the right place, at the right time.” In order to that, Alex explained, they must continue to leverage technology and align those advancements with the skills of their talented employees. “We have a really good team up here in Canada, a strong professionalism, and we’re going to continue to focus on optimizing that talent and leveraging it further.”

Often, and as Alex advised in our interview, success comes from a convergence of hard work and opportunity. In the four and a half years he has been with the company, Alex has certainly found a great deal of success. And that comes down to hard work, dedication, and the skills that result. But also, from the opportunities Southwire trusted him with. Which is why Alex took the time at the end of our discussion to express his gratitude for the opportunities Southwire has provided him with. Particularly Kelly Hanson, President of Southwire Canada, who he mentioned to be an exceptional leader and mentor. With his steady progression into Director of Operations, it is clear they provided him with an opportunity to prove himself within the organization by putting him in a position to succeed. And he has no doubt proved them right in doing so.

Blake Marchand is an Assistant Editor for Kerrwil Electrical Group

Latest Articles

  • Prev
The history and scope of Guillevin in Canada is immense. One of our oldest wholesale brands its ...
As we enter the decade of the 20s, technology continues to open a world of opportunities for ...
By Line Goyette With Industry 4.0 on our doorstep, we are facing significant technological and ...
Britech Corp, one of Canada’s largest heating cable companies has signed a formal agreement with ...
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 ...

 

 

Impact of the Manufacturing DeclineThis study quantifies the impact of the manufacturing decline on the wages and employment rates of Canadian workers in their local labour markets. The estimates, drawn from census data from 2000 to 2015, indicate that the decline in manufacturing employment had a sizable adverse effect on the wages and full-year, full-time employment rates of men — especially less educated men. In contrast, relatively few groups of women appear to have been negatively affected by the decline in manufacturing employment. 

 

 

Read More

 

Jeff MowattBy Jeff Mowatt

“It drives me crazy when my salespeople complain our prices aren’t competitive.” This was a manager who brought me in to work with his team. He continued, “How do I get my team members to stop selling on price?” After years of training numerous sales and service teams (whose prices weren’t the lowest), I’ve discovered five simple strategies for making price less relevant.

 

 

 

Read More

Investment In Building Construction - NovemberTotal investment in building construction decreased 2.0% from October to $13.7 billion in November. Both the residential (-2.2% to $9.4 billion) and non-residential (-1.6% to $4.3 billion) sectors declined. On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction decreased 2.1% to $11.6 billion.

In the residential sector, investment in single dwelling construction was down 2.0% to $4.9 billion, while investment in multiple dwelling construction (which includes doubles, row homes and apartments) declined 2.5% to $4.5 billion.

Read More

 

Changing Scene

  • Prev
After six years as president of AD’s Electrical Business Unit and chief marketing officer, Ed ...
WESCO International, Inc. and Anixter International Inc. have announced that their boards of ...
Wesco seems to be swinging the scale to its favour with its most recent bid to acquire Anixter ...
Rexel has aquired Rogers Electrical Wholesale in Summerside, PEI.      
 Liteline Corporation is pleased to announce Paul Wybrow as Ontario Sales ...
Guillevin International announces the acquisition of Electrical Wholesaler Edmonton Ltd (EWEL). ...
OmniCable has announced the promotion of Chip Barrett to Vice President of Supply Chain and ...
Tom was an entrepreneur, father, grandfather, partner, brother, uncle, friend and humanitarian who ...
AD reported a 13% increase in member sales across its 12 divisions, totaling $35 billion in the ...
Anixter International has entered into a definitive agreement with an affiliate of Clayton, ...

Affiliated DistributorsAs part of its 2020 LLC board of directors’ election, AD is announcing a new director and two reelected directors among its complement of 12 board members and committee chairs. Member-owned AD, the contractor and industrial products wholesale buying and marketing group, has more than 120 of its 800 member companies providing leadership on corporate and divisional boards.   

President of Border States Electric David White is AD’s newest director. White served on the board previously while he was president of Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, which joined in 2016 with Border States. -Along with his election, White has been appointed by the board to its organizational development committee. 

Read More

 

 

 

 

HRAIBranch management is one of the most vital roles in a multi-location distribution company.  Unfortunately, they are often thrown to the wolves when it comes to training and management directions.  We want to change all that.  The goal of this seminar is to help new, and experienced, branch managers learn how to operate a profitable location from the ground up.  We have been offering this course privately through sponsoring trade associations for the past 5 years. Now, it’s open to everyone.  

 

 

Read More

 

HPSHammond Power Solutions (HPS) will be opening a new warehouse in Reno, NV in early 2020. The new facility will replace the existing warehouse in Compton, CA, with plant operations in Compton being unaffected.

The new warehouse will better accommodate HPS’ growing product sales and provide improved shipping leadtime in select regions. The Reno warehouse is triple the size of the Compton facility at 36,000 square feet, and it will house an expanded number of product SKUs.

Read More

 

 

Looking Back

  • Prev
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 ...

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2020 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