Nov 3, 2021
AD’s Electrical-Canada Division virtually welcomed members and supplier partners for its five-day 2021 Virtual North American Meeting on Oct. 25 – 29, 2021 with the goal of facilitating strategic conversations that help the division devise new ways to stay ahead of the competition.
The event facilitated over 1,200 face-to-face meetings with 40 member companies and 62 supplier companies, cultivating relationship, allowing participants to share best practices and enabling open communication.
This year’s meeting theme, True North, encapsulates AD members’, suppliers’, and AD staff’s devoted commitment to staying true to one’s own guiding principles. Calling upon AD’s partners to ponder both their personal and organizational ‘true north’ during these ever-changing and challenging times, the theme is rooted in the belief that strong core values and conviction make AD’s independents resilient.
Rob Dewar, president of AD Canada, kicked off the event with member and supplier business updates emphasizing the strides the division has made in 2021 in spite of continued economic and supply chain uncertainty.
“We are incredibly proud to share that in 2021—the year that tested many industries with various economic challenges along the way—AD Electrical-Canada came out incredibly strong with a 20%-plus increase in divisional purchases with suppliers compared to 2020,” said Dewar. “With this dedicated group of member and supplier companies we have as part of our dexterous alliance, the sky is truly the limit, and we cannot wait to surpass these records in 2022 and beyond.”
Dewar underscored the importance of these gatherings, calling them the lifeblood of AD’s unique ethos.
Peter Dalton, president of Daltco Electric & Supply Ltd. and AD Electrical-Canada Division board chairman, echoed the strong sentiment.
“We are thrilled with the successful year we’ve had and commend all of our member and supplier companies for their keen dedication to this strategic union,” said Dalton. “Where other businesses in the industry have experienced hardship coupled with shortages as a ripple effect of the pandemic, in true AD form, we have both defied those challenges and surpassed our own goals and expectations. We look forward to the day in the near future when we can reunite and celebrate our triumphs in person.”
The update also saw the launch of some new divisional undertakings, including a supplier star rating system which provides an internal scale based on empirically measurable criteria that mirror a supplier’s efforts in areas including rebate programs, market planning, meeting participation and more.
The division’s supplier webinar series, which formally launched earlier in 2021, was another topic of discussion. This series connects AD’s members to its supplier community by offering engaging and informational webinars, opportunities for additional training and an open line of communication between companies.
The event’s virtual one-on-one booth appointments between members and suppliers provided a platform for companies to converse on best practices and brainstorm new and innovative ways to grow the independent channel. A survey from the event found that 97% of suppliers and 100% of members surveyed were satisfied with the meetings, offering an excellent opportunity to connect with key decision makers. Among the numerous participants that found the meetings helpful was Heather Gerrie, co-president and CEO of Gerrie Electric.
“Timing couldn’t be better to meet with each supplier to review and ensure progress on the execution of annual plans with our key vendors for the last quarter of the year,” said Gerrie. “This year, in particular, it has been critical that we get important updates on any supply chain issues and upcoming price increases so we can better manage our business during this disruption. Our participation and commitment to AD plays an important role in the success of Gerrie Electric.”
Bernie Backman, co-president of Franklin Empire found the virtual format of the meetings to have certain advantages that would have not been present in person.
“After 19 months of very limited travels and contacts, we have all learned to communicate through the world of virtual meetings”, says Backman. “We have just spent three days of getting to touch base with the key players of our major suppliers to plan our future strategies. This format does have the upside of having more people participate than who would normally be the ones to travel to a conference.”
Empowering women across divisions
The event kickoff also saw Caroline Ebeid, marketing program specialist at AD Canada, speak on a new initiative aimed at empowering women across industries.
“The Women in Industry initiative, a group open to anyone from AD’s Electrical-Canada, Industrial & Safety-Canada and Plumbing & Heating-Canada divisions looking to make an impact in this area, will focus on creating mentoring opportunities, emphasizing professional development and ensuring women have a seat at the table,” announced Ebeid. “With the committed goal of breaking the ‘glass ceiling,’ the AD Canada team encourages both women and men to join in an effort to gain support from all stakeholders across these industries.”
Canada joins other AD business units and divisions like PHCP, Industrial & Safety-U.S. and Electrical-U.S. in creating these important networking and professional growth opportunities for women.
Reuniting in person in 2022
AD Electrical-Canada’s 2022 Spring Network Meeting is scheduled to be held Apr. 13-15 at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver. The AD Canada team looks forward to facilitating in-person meetings with members and suppliers after a long-awaited two years.