Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Mar 2, 2020

Éric DeschênesLine Goyette

A new figure at the head of the electrification business unit and ABB Canada, Éric Deschênes is not a newcomer to the electrical industry. A long journey that we have already highlighted by emphasizing his passion for finding practical solutions that optimize the adoption of technologies. We met with him recently to discuss his new leadership role at ABB Canada and his projects. First, he would like to point out that recent changes to ABB Canada’s structure, as elsewhere in the world, have been made to decomplex the customer relationship. “The corporate matrix has been lightened to get closer to the customer,” says Éric.

Our meeting took place at ABB’s Iberville premises, which, until recently, bore the logo of Thomas and Betts. For Éric Deschênes, this place is more than emblematic. “Thomas And Betts has brought an important signature and culture to ABB, which revolves around two axes: the distribution network and the user customer. These two elements must be at the heart of any process. Even if you offer the best product, if doing business together is difficult the customer will go elsewhere.” ABB Canada’s new CEO is now working to develop a digital platform that always situates the customer at the heart of the process.

Change is underway. The stated goal is to have a differential value in the market. “We’re competing today with people who might be in their garage. If an individual offers a product that meets a customer’s need and offers a new technology, he becomes a competitor, hence the importance of getting closer to the customer and decomplexing day-to-day relationships and business processes,” asserts Éric Deschênes, who points out that this change was initiated under the direction of Nathalie Pilon. “When Nathalie moved from the chairmanship of T-B to ABB Canada, she sought to add value and differentiate ABB by bringing all business units together. I make it my duty to continue what Nathalie has started; the change will be in continuity,” he said.

A digital shift in all internal and external processes

At the heart of these changes is an internal and external digital revolution. “We want to offer relevance and added value to the customer. We are eliminating unnecessarily long bureaucratic steps and replacing them with digital processes, and we’re seeing the processing of orders shrink from 60 days to 3 days. We also talk about VMI, online product selectors. We want to be the most effective partner for our distribution partners in terms of standard products, configuration products and engineering products.” Eric continues, “GE’s integration with ABB allows us to offer more than 20,000 standard product lines at the Bromont distribution centre. Everything is centralized for these products: an order, a shipment, a billing. When we thought about GE’s integration, the question was how to integrate this entity and move forward as a company. We started with the DNA of Thomas and Betts, aiming to become the most effective partner for our distributors, to be the most digitized and the most technical, so that we could bring relevance and added value by keeping the customer at the centre of all our processes.

“The commonality of all business units will be two-tiered digitization, both internally and externally. Internally, our factories and distribution centres are being equipped with ABB technology. At the process level, we will minimize unnecessary bureaucracy; any manual interaction that adds unnecessary pressure to a transaction will be removed. We will digitize as much as possible the interactions between people to bring unparalleled efficiency. This external digitization is ABB Ability, the digital platform that all business units will implement.”

Projects — products and assemblies in Canada

In Canada ABB has approximately 50 buildings, 9 manufacturing and assembly plants, and the Bromont distribution centre, which currently stocks only electrification products. “We will create space in the Montreal campus to make Bromont a distribution centre for products from all business units. Our customers are often the same, in automation, electrification or low voltage products. We will migrate our business systems to have a single ERP.”

The Bromont distribution centre will therefore migrate from Bromont electrification products to Bromont ABB Canada, and in the space created at the Montreal campus ABB will bring in five production lines of products formerly manufactured in the United States, including centres of motor controls, connecting panels and lighting panels. This is an important project that Éric Deschênes is committed to. “It won't be an assembly kit. The steel will come from Canada, the manufacturing will be done in Canada, and the final assembly will be made at the Montreal campus. We successfully tested the first lighting panel that was manufactured in November and shipped to the customer; it works. We are recalibrating everything to reduce the costs of all our partners. The Canadian market has 880 distribution points, and we have access to 660 distribution points. So, it’s in our best interest to simplify and maximize to optimize. Leaving out the distributor would be a fundamental mistake in how to serve the market in Canada.”

Since Éric Deschênes and I will meet in a year’s time, I ask him now what are the goals this year that we'll come back to in our discussion in 2021. “The No. 1 goal is to ensure that we continue to pursue the same sustained growth (greater than 10%) with the involvement of our employees. They are the ones who make the decisions, who are close to the customers. We trust them. My second objective is to accelerate internal and external digitization, and the third, the one that will give us the most pleasure, is the integration of all standard, configurable and engineering products into manufacturing processes and assembly in Canada. It's a date!”

Line Goyette is Managing Editor of Kerrwil Publications’ Electrical Group;This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read our profile of Éric Deschênes.

Latest Articles

  • Prev
This June, Canadians will commemorate Electrical Safety Month; June also marks the fourth month of ...
At times like this I miss my father. Those men of his time were thrust into uncertainty and ...
We are in an Age of Disruption. Extant and emerging technologies are driving significant evolution ...
The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities increased 7.4% to $8.7 ...
The Electrical industry is facing a runway of crossroads — and digital innovation intersects each ...
We are on the cusp of a major tidal wave hitting our industry; the onslaught of 10,000 new ...
A broadening of the role of luminaires and a continued focus on people and energy efficiency are ...
As we enter the decade of the 20s, technology continues to open a world of opportunities for ...

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

Read More 

 

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. 

Read More 

 

 

 

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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

Changing Scene

  • Prev
Savant Systems has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase GE Lighting, a ...
EFC’s Economic Forecast Series webinar will deliver global, national, and regional economic ...
A new video featuring Sonepar’s Vice President of eCommerce and Digitalization, Gaurav Sharma, ...
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) and its members are proud to support the next generation of leaders ...
Eletrozad has launched Electrozad Online. The same standard of service you've come to expect from ...
After more than 42 years of exemplary service at Leviton, Gabriel Massabni, Vice President ...
Bill Stephens, National Sales and Marketing Manager for IDEAL INDUSTRIES CANADA has announced the ...
Robertson Electric announce our new branch location in Ottawa, ON. The Ottawa branch will be their ...
Sonepar Canada presents a COVID-19 update on some of the measures their organization has ...
OmniCable has partnered with Panduit as the exclusive redistributor for all its standard electrical ...

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. 

Read More

 

 

 

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.

Read More

 

 

 

 

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.”

Read More

 

 

Looking Back

Has no content to show!

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