Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

 

Dec 10, 2018

Sean BernardBy Sean Bernard

The stigma behind dealing with contractors has forever been “they are a tough group to build a relationship with” and figuring out the best approach to growing business with them. While there has never been a magic pill for solving this challenge, over the years there have been many extremely successful sales representatives from the manufacturer and distributor sectors who have been able to grow their respective businesses to extremely impressive levels. This did not happen through clairvoyance and luck but through hard work and dedication to their craft.

With that said, the contractor market is evolving. Much like the rest of the industry, change is inevitable and this important segment is not immune. Contractors are looking for operational effectiveness to work in new ways, from the evolution of low voltage and networking to revolutionizing the way they purchase materials (as a great source of reference, please see the latest research reports prepared by Electro Federation Canada at www.electrofed.com). Along with this change goes the way that manufacturer and distributor representatives need to interact with their contractor customers. 

From the distributor’s perspective, the evolution of products within the electrical industry and the speed at which these changes are happening create huge challenges. First and foremost, the purchasing decisions from a stock perspective have become the single greatest hurdle facing distributors across the country. The decision-making process to decide which products to put into inventory to best serve their contractor base and when to do so has quickly become a daily struggle. Gone are the days where rough-in products, wire, lighting, distribution equipment and tools all fell within the classification of “commodity product.” While some of those product segments still might reside in that classification, the vast majority are changing so rapidly along with technological advancements that making the right decision at the right time becomes increasingly difficult. On top of the stocking issue, ensuring that their salespeople are armed with the most current information about the products lines that they carry becomes a an almost daily barrage of new product information that needs to be conveyed to their contractor customer base. 

Manufacturers are facing similar challenges in their approach to the contractor market. Within the lighting segment for example, the evolution of LEDs and the speed at which R&D departments are helping to advance this technology has resulted in various problems which unfortunately are self-inflicted. All manufacturers are in a race to develop fixtures and lamps with the highest possible lumens at the lowest possible wattage. With the advancements that continue to be achieved in this area, the end result creates issues with product becoming obsolete shortly after launch to the market. When looking at manufacturers in the electrical distribution and controls market, the same challenges with product advancements are present within these segments. From home automation (5 years ago, did you think it would be the norm to be able to control your thermostat, open your garage or turn on your lights simply by saying “Alexa….?”) to advancements in breaker technology such as GFCI and AFCI integration, these segments are certainly not immune to the constantly evolving innovations that we see and face in the electrical industry on a daily basis. 

This flood of new product development makes the relationship between contractors and manufacturer and distributor representatives particularly challenging in today’s environment. Even though a lot of these innovations, from installation process to product features and benefits, are made with the goal of making the contractors’ life easier, the simple fact is that much like the rest of us, they are struggling to keep up. 

The contractor market is evolving with all of these changes. For example, over the last few years we have seen a lot of contractors get into the network cabling and integration segment as more and more products require network connection along with power connection. This has been done by internal department development and also through acquisition. Along with these initiatives, contractors have been taking a long look at their organizational structure, bringing in new team members with specialty focus areas to ensure that they are current with today’s demands and expectations from end users. 

The feedback from the contractor segment is that they certainly recognize their need to progress along with the industry. That being said, they will be relying on their distributor and manufacturer representatives to be one of their key sources of information. As a result, manufacturers and distributors are evolving their recruitment strategies, looking more and more for sales representative candidates that have technology backgrounds/education. The ideal sales representatives for the future will have a balance of technological knowledge and relationship building skills. Gone are the days when sales representatives would simply earn business by being a nice person. Contractors expect more today. They expect these representatives to bring expertise and solution-based information to the table to make the contractors’ job easier and more efficient.

In the end, it is imperative that these reps are providing accurate and timely information to the appropriate people within the contractor organization. Navigating this labyrinth of new and current product information and the needs/expectations of the contractors is not easy and will continue to be difficult. However, those who can provide real solutions to their contractor accounts will see positive results. Through progressive strategies like Electro-Federation Canada’s Young Professionals Network (YPN), initiatives like those listed above are being undertaken to help shape the face of the next generation of industry professionals. 

For more on YPN, please visit www.electrofed.com/ypn.

Sean Bernard is Ontario Sales Manager for Standard Products Inc. and Ontario Chair and National Vice-Chair of EFC’s Young Professionals Network. Sean is a graduate of Durham College’s Sports Management program and holds a certificate in Distribution Management from Texas A&M University. He is in his 12th year in the electrical industry and has worked in the manufacturing and distributor sectors.

 

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ABB RoboticsABB Robotics is driving automation in the construction industry with new robotic automation solutions to address key challenges, including the need for more affordable and environmentally friendly housing and to reduce the environmental impact of construction, amidst a labor and skills shortage.

Robotic automation offers huge potential to enhance productivity, efficiency and manufacturing flexibility throughout the construction industry, including automating the fabrication of modular homes and building components off-site, robotic welding and material handling on building sites and robot 3D printing of houses and customized structures. 



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Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 

Smart GridHarnessing Canada’s immense clean energy resources requires transformational investments to modernize our electricity grid. The Government of Canada is investing in renewable energy and upgrading the electricity grid to make clean, affordable electricity options more accessible in communities across Canada.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, today launched a $964-million program to support smart renewable energy and grid modernization projects that will lower emissions by investing in clean energy technologies, like wind, solar, storage, hydro, geothermal and tidal.

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Trilliant Partners with the City of CowansvilleThe City of Cowansville in south-central Quebec is the largest city in the Brome-Missisquoi region, with more than 15,000 residents. Despite being a smaller-sized city, it is known as an economic and industrial hub.

It also has a strong focus on innovation and efficiency — as demonstrated by decisions such as the one it made in 2017 to use beet juice to help combat icy winter roads, allowing the City to reduce the amount of salt it was using, thereby saving money and decreasing the impact on the environment. 

 

 

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Keith SonesBy Keith Sones

The writing was on the wall.  The closures would happen. But a lot of people were upset, and I was one of them. 

In the early 2000s, my family and I were living in a mainly rural (at least by city dweller standards) valley in south central British Columbia.  The West Kootenay region is known for its diverse outdoor recreation activities and as a great place to raise a family.  It has a proud industrial history, evidenced through the longstanding pulp mill, a massive lead zinc smelter a few miles away and several hydroelectric dams, all of it within spitting distance of the mighty Columbia River. 

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Product News

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With the ABB StarTeck® selector web app you can match cables with Teck fittings quickly and easily. ...
WPS Gen 4 wall pack series is a classic and familiar design integrated with modern LED technology ...
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Lumenquad New VersionsLumenpulse has announced the release of two additional smaller sizes of the Lumenquad, a rectilinear projector for both outdoor and indoor environments. Developed for architectural applications such as lighting landscapes, highlighting details, pathways and monuments, the Lumenquad Small and Medium are compact, low-wattage, high-performance projectors, complementing the two existing products in the family.

The Lumenquad Small and Medium are the latest additions to a family of sleek, elegant, high-performance projectors that has already been validated with honours, including recognition in the PIA Awards in 2019, together with a Lux Awards for Exterior Luminaire of the Year in 2019. 

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Wiha Lineman's Pliers and CrimpersWiha Insulated SoftFinish® Cushion Grip Pliers and Cutters are the standard for premium quality featuring ergonomic cushion grip handles for comfort and control, dual durometer construction for long-lasting durability, and handles directly molded to the tool steel for a permanent bond.

The grips feature a slip guard handle design for added protection at the front-end and raised rear-finger steps for easy opening at the back-end. Wiha Insulated SoftFinish® Cushion Grip Pliers and Cutters consist of premium quality tool steel for strength and durability and induction hardened cutting edges and jaws for superior sharpness and longevity. 

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eLumigen Poultry Lamps - 2000K, 3000K & 5000KIdeal for rough service applications, the A19 & PAR Series are engineered for high efficiency, vibration resistance, shatter-resistance, elevated heat environments, and wet locations. These dimmable LED Lamps help reduce energy costs, labor costs, and the headaches of frequent lamp changes in tough applications.

eLumigen employs a unique 21-point validation process that goes above and beyond industry standards. Our lamps have been tested to survive levels of vibration exceeding 20G forces. Our unique temperature foldback design improves both safety and thermal management of our lamps. 

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Peers & Profiles

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House of Electrical SuppliesFrom small construction to sophisticated industrial projects, House of Electrical Supplies has been servicing clients in the industrial, OEM, entertainment, and construction markets across the Greater Toronto Area for just over 40 years. The company has earned a reputation for providing a high-quality customer experience.

As per President Austin Brennan, their experienced and knowledgeable team can be depended upon in any situation to deliver quick and efficient service. On top of their product solutions — ranging from electrical, automation, safety, lighting and portable power distribution — 

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