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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A General to Lead the Troops

Congratulations to U.S. Army Brigadier General Robert Gaylord, the new president of IDEA. An interesting choice… retired military

In reviewing his background, one would presume that he is a leader, a good listener and a good communicator having been heavily involved in communications and public relations in the Army.

While he may not have industry or a technology background, perhaps what IDEA needs during these times is someone who can lead a talented staff of people who understand the industry challenges and are committed to helping provide the tools to enable manufacturers and distributors to improve eBusiness in the channel.

Some thoughts…

  • Any coincidence that NEMA has a general running its organization and now IDEA has selected someone from the military? Sounds like manufacturers helped drive this decision, and a number of people feel they should and that it could be good for the industry (its their data as long as they solicit customer (distributor) input to ensure usage.
  • NAED’s press release (couldn't find online copy, email us if you would like to see it) mentions that their BOD voted on the selection. We’ve heard conflicting information, plus why would NAED’s BOD vote on this versus IDEA’s BOD?
  • It’s interesting how NAED focuses on the need for data synchronization and infers that the entire industry needs to be focused on this goal (in press release). With about 6% of the industry’s distributors representing about 60% of industry sales, the reality is that our industry will always have multiple processes. Realistically the goal is to get a significant percentage of the Top 200 distributors to increase their eBusiness with their most frequently transacted suppliers. This would reduce channel costs for most. Is it realistic to think that a $5M distributor is going to think much about data synchronization and eBusiness for more than maybe 2 suppliers?
  • Now that a new IDEA president has been announced, perhaps an idea is to evolve the organizational structure. With IDEA being a for-profit company, shouldn’t its shareholders, people who invested money, choose the company’s BOD? Since the associations were originally facilitators, perhaps their role has changed and maybe they should not be BOD members but evolve to marketing partners, helping drive IDEA’s message to their membership (and measure their success levels) and then reach out to the broader electrical distributor/manufacturing audiences. As a for-profit company responsible to their shareholders, the organization may be more effective and less politicized.

Good luck Brigadier General. The opportunity to improve profitability for manufacturers and distributors is significant. With a knowledgeable staff and strong leadership, much can be achieved.

Channel Marketing Group | Allen Ray Associates