Daniel Peloquin: Just Do It, But Fail Fast

Daniel Peloquin


Line Goyette

One of the most enjoyable aspects of our industry is rubbing elbows with exceptional people, leaders who are not afraid to question the status quo or take risks. Daniel Peloquin, President of Schneider-Electric Canada, is one of those people. You know the TV commercial about the cereal with two different sides? This is the impression you get of Daniel Peloquin. No wonder one of his daughters works with Cirque du Soleil and the other in the financial industry — both sides of the president of Schneider Electric Canada.

The first time I met Daniel Peloquin was at an international energy symposium. He was overseeing the presentation of a case study involving a major Quebec client, and both us did a double take on a spelling error. For an editor, an extrovert by nature, it’s a normal reaction. For an engineer, it’s much less common. 

The electrical industry in a the time of intelligent energy management

Professional engineer, avid reader, scuba diver and instructor, he has worked in the electrical industry for 35 years. In the U.S. and Canada, mainly at Siemens, Alstom and Schneider Electric Canada, he has managed large teams, sharing his expertise and encouraging them to do their best. He has a great desire to cultivate the next generation of talent and leaders. “In my career, I had the chance to work with René Ricard at Alstom for 10 years. Many of the leadership principles that I apply come from him. He told me that to a certain point in our career, our role is to give to those who follow. I am now mentoring and participating in conferences, and I love getting involved in events that stimulate the advancement of knowledge.” 

His commitment and management style reflect the value he assigns to the electrical industry. He sits on the Board of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), is a member of its Finance Committee, serves on the Board of Electro-Federation Canada, and was recently appointed to Canada’ national committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). He’s also a member of Canadian Electrical Wholesaler’s Editorial Advisory Board.

He takes to heart causes involving the future of the energy industry, including more intelligent use of energy. “We are entering an era of intelligent energy management. We must expand and share our knowledge. All my team managers play an active role in the community. It is in their job descriptions, we all have a role to play in the future of the planet and in preparing the next generation.”

Staying ahead of the curve

“Since the 1950s, one could say that four market models have emerged. We first experienced a model based on mass production, followed by the total quality model, then a new one based on logistics and the supply chain. It is this model which gave birth to AmazonSupply. The next model, ours, is the age of the customer. The customer is king. He regularly uses the Internet as a consumer and a customer, and wants to find what he’s looking for quickly and easily. We must understand these customers’ needs and deliver customized business-to-consumer (B2C) services. 

“Several industries have been transformed by the Internet, such as books and music. Our industry will never quite be like them because interpersonal relationships will remain important, but the simplicity, speed and fluidity that customers experience making purchases on the Internet are changing their expectations. I am convinced that these changes will positively affect our industry. Customer relationships are changing, roles are being redefined, but we will be able to retain our customers better than ever before. 

“The new generation is forcing us to change. Our industry struggles to attract young people, women. It remains too much an old boy’s club; it’s not representative of changes in society. Those who will succeed in the current model are those who will not miss the technological curve and are ready to give the industry a new face.”

What do you see in 2015 for our industry?

“Success in our industry means understanding the market — gas, oil, water treatment, etc. Once we understand the market, we can better understand how our customers think. Then, we need to know how to surround ourselves with the right people and challenge them. I’m a conductor. My role is know the market well and the people who will play an important role here and elsewhere. I am cautious about 2015. I think it will be another year of transition in light of the slowdown in certain sectors of the market and the economic performance of some major powers whose economies are linked to ours as China, Brazil and India.”

For Daniel Peloquin, the digitalization of the market changes the customer experience in a fundamental way. “The industry is changing, customers are changing. We must accept a certain level of uncertainty from the market. Our reaction was always the same. Conduct case studies to determine the return on investment. 

There is a tendency to be binary, to assess situations according to our notions of return on investment, but we can no longer keep saying the same things. Our new motto might well be take a risk. Why not? If the results are positive our hunch has been good, if they are negative, fail fast and move on to something else. We no longer have the luxury of studying a problem until we have absolutely all the answers, then we must jump in quickly, and also get out quickly if things don’t turn out as expected.


Line Goyette is Managing Editor, Canadian Electrical Wholesaler; linegoyette@kerrwil.com.

Read more Peers & Profiles in CEW by Line Goyette:

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

Michelle Branigan

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