Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

June 29, 2021

Catalyst For ChangeBy John Kerr

At this time of year my colleagues and I here at Kerrwil are in the final throes of producing Pathfinder, the annual benchmarking report we publish in collaboration with Electro-Federation Canada (EFC). After reviewing the changes and the recent acquisitions and moves of the past year through the lens of COVID, I share below some notes on milestones of the past year. They provide context for what I see as a new direction the industry may be taking.

• EFC actively pursues as members automation distributors, EV smart charging equipment suppliers, and electrical engineering service providers.

• Deschenes, already having a strong plumbing and HVAC business, adds electrical expertise to the company by acquiring Powrmatic (November 2020) and Daltco (February 2021).
• Rexel invests in acquiring WESCO’s Utility business in Canada (February 2021).

• Guillevin moves aggressively to acquire both WESCO Datacom business (February 2021) and Quebec-based Dubo (March 2021).

• Gerrie Electric invests in an 80,000 sq. ft. warehouse and distribution centre (April 2020).

All these moves made with the final announcement August 6, 2020, that WESCO’s merger in Canada was reality following the initial announcement in December 2019.

I won’t comment on the individual moves by all these companies as they speak for themselves, but when we look at them collectively we might see the future.

Reading into this more it became evident to me that the effects of COVID, the speed with which the industry responded to them, and the changes they have brought have only completed a shift in the thinking of distributors across Canada.

While the effects of COVID on the workforce, supply chain, pricing, social governance, and government policy, became quickly evident, the move to greener energy, and smart home technologies were driving change before March 17, 2020. Said another way, we got here faster because of COVID but the path was already set.

In the past year there was a mass move to digitalization with online transactions growing upwards of 400% here in Canada, while many channel partners digitalized customer pick-ups at lockers opened by cell phones.

Counters became less the place to be, replaced by more flexible pick-up times and delivery strategies, smarter logistics, and a digital customer experience focus.

End users are driving more sustainability with moves to greener alternatives while moving to reconfigure offices as employees remain hunkered down at home.


Perhaps the milestones show us to look to connectivity as a new driver, and to product mix changes at the electrical distributor, such as more sensors and more types of control.

Clearly now it’s the power of the digital interface, the drive for more technical mindsets and approach, a move to training and product knowledge, and a desire for some to broaden their product solutions offerings.

This time of COVID will be marked not only for its disruption but for an accelerated transition among electrical distributors to green technology, energy efficiency and automation (both home and manufacturing) as the new product drivers moving forward. Logistics and supply chain mindsets are now closer to the customer, more efficient and more digital. Let’s look too, to market mix changing in future — electrical vehicles are becoming a reality alongside control technology that drives everything from HVAC to lighting, from security to systems monitoring. Bigger projects like the growing footprint of datacentres and larger logistics facilities will continue affecting the product, customer mix and market mix moving forward. Let’s all watch the utility space, the security market, and connectivity of data. Will these be the new markets for electrical wholesalers?

Underlying all this are the people and the teams that drive these businesses. Moving forward, the selling propositions will be more integrated and complicated, driving a need for people who understand the balance between technical expertise customer connections, relationships, and service.

There is lots going on if we read between the lines.

John Kerr is Publisher of CEW; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photo: Chris Liverani on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/

Statistics CanadaThere were slightly fewer active businesses (-0.1%; -1,208) in May compared with a month earlier, marking the first time since May 2020 that the number of closures outpaced openings.

The number of business openings decreased by 11.5%, the largest percentage decrease since December 2018 and the second consecutive month with negative growth (Chart 1). The number of business closures declined by 2.9%, following a 2.5% increase in April. The decline in the number of business openings in May was largely driven by fewer entrants (-16.4%). The number of entrants in May was below the 2015-to-2019 average for the first time since August 2020. 

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488 Days of COVIDBy John Kerr

Looking back to early 2020, the industry entered the first quarter with a sense of a solid year ahead, one that would easily eclipse 2019, and then in mid-March the brakes went on and relatively quickly.

On both the supplier and distribution sides, many took a reactionary stance and then quietly planned their next moves. Thinking differently, adding stock and doubling down on inventory, looking at alternative shipping methods and figuring out how to stay close to the customer are among the attributes of those that pivoted well and have come out of the dark in great shape.

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Non-Mortgage Borrowing from Chartered Banks in March 2020The outstanding credit debt of private non-financial corporations doubled from the height of the financial crisis in 2008 to early 2020. At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, businesses added a record $52.1 billion in credit debt to their balance sheets. However, according to a new study, as other sources of financing became available and businesses adapted to the pandemic, outstanding loan balances with banks declined for eight consecutive months.

The study Trends in Canadian business debt financing: Before and during COVID-19 looks at the types of credit debt private non-financial corporations incurred prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and examines how they used that liquidity to weather the economic turbulence during this period.

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Investment in Building Construction - May 2021Investment in building construction cooled slightly in May, decreasing 1.9% to $19.4 billion. This was the first drop in seven months. Residential construction investment (-2.7%) was down for the first time since April 2020, while non-residential construction increased slightly.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction declined 2.7% to $14.8 billion in May.

 

 

 

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David GordonBy David Gordon

As we transition from the pandemic many wonder about the future of sales, meaning, “What will the sales process (sales model) look like in the future,” and, essentially, “What is the role of / for outside salespeople?”

In reality, this question was asked pre-pandemic as management lamented that Sales wasn’t being as productive as they desired. Companies are always seeking to improve their processes, whether it is having salespeople better penetrate accounts, identify and call on new customers, use a different (new?) sales method...
 

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Changing Scene

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 Canada’s National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) is pleased to announce that IDEAL ...
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More ultraviolet (UV) radiation-emitting and ozone-generating devices such as lights and wands have ...
 Leviton Lighting Canada has announced David Janowski as the new Eastern Regional Sales ...
EdisonReport has announced their 5th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards.  These Awards will be ...
The Executive of Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited has announced that Jason Krehl joined the team ...
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Signify“In the second quarter we saw an acceleration of the pace of recovery in comparison to the first three months of the year,” says CEO Eric Rondolat. “We successfully executed our strategy as demand for our connected lighting offers and our growth platforms remained strong.”

The consumer segment held its momentum and demand for conventional products proved resilient. The professional lighting segment showed sequential improvements, while still impacted by both extended lockdowns and supply constraints. Overall, we managed to improve the operating margin by 190 basis points and generated a solid free cash flow. 

 

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Adrian ThomasSchneider Electric Canada, together with the France Canada Chamber of Commerce Ontario (FCCCO) is proud to announce Adrian Thomas as the newly elected President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada (EUCCAN). Thomas, who currently serves as the country president of Schneider Electric Canada is entrusted with continuing the growth of EUCCAN by reinforcing transatlantic cooperation between the European and Canadian business communities.  “I am deeply honoured for the opportunity to join EUCCAN as their new President and build on the growth they’ve experienced in recent years,” says Adrian Thomas, Country President of Schneider Electric Canada. 

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Agents of ChangeAgents of Change is an event for stakeholders from Canada's electricity and beyond to build capacities in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Agents of Change is a one-day event focused on equipping attendees with the tools they need to address the challenges under-represented groups face in the workplace. Women, Indigenous people, racialized people, persons with disabilities, LGBQ+, gender diverse people and newcomers to Canada are under-represented in electricity and often face systemic barriers. We have the power to change this disparity and transform our sector into a paragon of equity.

 

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Flemming Jensen, Jason Samuelian, and John ClancyLED lighting solutions manufacturer Espen Technology has announced three changes to its sales management team.


Flemming Jensen (left), previously was Vice President of the Central and South Regions, has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Flemming brings over 40 years of industry experience in the distribution, ESCO, and agent markets. He will focus on continuing Espen’s top line growth, in the coming years.

 


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Edison ReportEdisonReport has announced their 5th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards.  These Awards will be presented the Tuesday evening, 26 OCT before LightFair begins on Wednesday, 27 OCT.

Judges for 2021 were Paul Pompeo, Nancy Clanton, and Donny Wall.  Clanton stated, “Selecting individuals for this award was extremely rewarding especially in identifying the leaders and innovators, including world class lighting designers and researchers, that truly have made a tremendous positive impact in our lighting industry.”

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...

 

 

Brett NicholdsBy Blake Marchand

Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ceiling troffer LED fixtures that utilize optical film technology to achieve a high level of performance and efficiency.

Their flagship product is the EcoWing, which is available for new construction and fixture in fixture retrofits. Their primary application target is office buildings, hospitals, and dealerships. Recent projects include the Department of National Defense building in Ottawa, AMPED Sports Lab, Queensway Carleton Hospital, and Surgenor Automotive Group.

 

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Jeffrey MoyleBy Line Goyette

“The ongoing integration of Rexel Utility into our Canadian business platforms has underscored our responsibility as an organization to find creative solutions for today’s challenges, as well as to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

This quote from Jeffrey caught my attention. Vice President, Supplier & Digital Strategy at Rexel Canada Electrical Inc., Jeffrey has extensive experience in the industry and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Master’s in Business Administration, focusing on internarial leadership.

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