Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Apr 9, 2020

John JefkinsBy John Jefkins

Now is the time to demonstrate support for university and college students and showcase the electrical industry as a great career destination. In light of COVID-19, universities and colleges are closed, which means many students are returning home. For some, returning home may present a number of different financial and mental health challenges. These students are the future leaders in our industry.

In my member engagement meetings with leaders from all organization sizes, in addition to leading the EFC Human Resources Network, there is a common theme: the need for great, young talent. This is supported by members of the EFC community who’ve ranked talent as the number one game-changer affecting the electrical industry.
This talent need is driven by two key factors. First, the “tsunami” of retirements. Ten thousand employees from within EFC’s member organizations currently over the age of 55 may retire within the next 10 years. Second, there is a need for new skills as our industry continues to drive innovation in areas such as electrification, digitization, robotics and intelligent buildings.

The 2015 EFC Research Report, Talent: A Playbook for Adapting to the 21st Century, highlighted the importance of talent attraction:

“We need to spread knowledge about our industry, that it is exciting and full of opportunities – and is sustainable and solid. If we can’t/don’t want to compete for talent with ‘trendy’ industries, we need to determine how to attractively differentiate ourselves.”

The shift in the working landscape may be very different as a result of COVID-19. Many companies are now reducing staff and redefining their business product and processes. Attracting new talent and upskilling and reskilling employees will become critical components of an effective business strategy as the competition for talent soars.

EFC already has a solution with its annual EFC Scholarship Program. This initiative is even more important now — during the COVID-19 crisis — than in any of its 24 years of existence. Providing over $140,000 across 55 scholarships, this program offers students hope. Students have an opportunity to apply for a scholarship and potentially receive funding. It also motivates and reinforces their skills as the eligibility requirements for the program include proof of volunteer, employment and school accomplishments. Participating EFC member companies also have access to student applicants for future part-time, co-op and full-time roles available within their organization.

How can your organization do its part?

1. Promote the EFC Scholarship Program to your employees, friends, family, customers, vendors, etc. Many may have students back living at home and will appreciate you sharing this program.

2. Share this initiative with other departments in your organization.

3. Spread the word about the program on your company and personal social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more about the EFC Scholarship Program at https://scholarship.electrofed.com/
https://scholarship.electrofed.com/content/RQAward_EFC_SCHOLAR_FR.html

In addition to the Scholarship Program, EFC provides several other resources to support business leaders in the areas of talent attraction, retention and training:

• TalentNest — a job-posting portal to assist business leaders in their recruitment efforts. Visit TalentNest here.

• The Young Professionals Network (YPN) — a program that provides young professionals, employed at an EFC member company, with networking and skills development opportunities. Learn more about the YPN here.

• EFC will also be launching a new research report this year titled [IT]Talent Availability for an Emerging Workforce[IT], which will address how shifts in the electrical industry are impacting talent availability needs. It will also speak to the strategies organizations must adopt to build stronger workforces for the future. Stay tuned for the details here.

Join EFC as this is the time to rally around Canadian university and college students, show concern and support, and to demonstrate how a career in the electrical industry can be professionally and personally rewarding.

John Jefkins is Vice President, Member Engagement & Corporate Partnerships, Electro-Federation Canada.

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

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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Changing Scene

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Northern TransformerNorthern Transformer Corporation, a manufacturer of power transformers for the North American utility market based in Toronto, announced the acquisition of the North American brand, products and designs of VRT Power Ltd. of Tel Aviv, Israel. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With more than 300 utility grade power transformers and mobile substations installed in North America, VRT Power’s best in class technology for low noise, compact footprints, tailored solutions and proven reliability is highly regarded by leading utility clients.

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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.

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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.”

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Harold HayesHarold Hayes, a stalwart of the electrical industry, passed away peacefully in Scarborough, Ontario at the age of 90 on May 9, 2020.

Harold joined the industry as an apprentice at age 18, working first for his father’s business, Power Cable Installations, and then for Comstock. Among his later accomplishments, he formed Federal Pioneer Electric’s electric heating division, served as president of the Ontario Electric League in 1985, and while in his 80s consulted for Intellimeter Canada Inc.

 

 

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Sarah SilversteinBlake Marchand

Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. Together, they lead the company founded by their father, Steve Silverstein, who retired in 2018.

Although she initially pursued a career in outdoor education, Sarah was instrumental in the company’s expansion into architectural lighting and the U.S. market. She joined Liteline as a project manager in between stints working in outdoor education. Now she leads Liteline’s U.S. distribution arm and marketing department.

 

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