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ElectricalTrends is a communications vehicle offered to the electrical distribution industry by Allen Ray Associates and Channel Marketing Group. The purpose of ElectricalTrends is to share Allen Ray Associates' and Channel Marketing Group's insights on industry trends, observations on industry activities and issues and offer ideas that may benefit industry participants in their endeavor to improve their businesses in the areas of growth and profitability.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Moving Forward or Backward? The Choice is Yours

It's been a busy two weeks but we haven't forgotten our ET friends.  We're working on a couple of "juicy" postings for the next couple of weeks but wanted to share some online insights that we've been tracking.  Companies mentioned in this issue of ElectricalTrends include Rexel, Crescent Electric, Platt Electric, Square D and Graybar
  1. As many know by now, Rexel's recent quarterly results were less than "stellar" as they reported a 1.7% North American decrease.  Contrasting this with results from WESCO (up 8.6%), Grainger (up 16%) it becomes evident abotu Rexel's business mix - heavily focused on resi and light commercial.  Why? The others are more industrially oriented, which is where the growth is, and are focused on the energy efficiency opportunity.  Gexpro is becoming more focused on renewables (wind and solar) and energy efficiency, but not enough to make up for Rexel's decrease in the contractor market.  Eventhough Rexel does have some industrial areas (and some with Rockwell APRs), it appears that the performance isn't there.
  2. Never knew there was so much business in North Dakota.  Looks like Dakota Electric and Border States are getting more competition from Graybar - opening a location in Bismarck.  Either the area is growing of the wind/solar market is strong there. We've noticed a number of notices that Graybar is investing in its branch and distribution network.
  3. Square D by Schneider Electric is focused on growing the market for energy efficiency.  They are holding their 2010 Energy & Power Distribution Conference next month.  Attendees will learn best practices on topics including renewable energy, energy savings, power distribution system reliability, NFPA70E compliance, emerging industry trends, electrical solutions, and more.  They are also offering CEU credits and a $100 discount. The agenda is targeted at educating end-users on energy efficiency opportunities - could be a good event for distributors.
  4. Crescent Electric is looking for a Government Sales Manager.  What makes this newsworthy is that essentially all of the national chains have focused government efforts and A-D's sister company, SupplyForce, is supporting many A-D affiliates with their GSA program (or which a number of companies have written on-contract and off-contract business).  Many others are winning individual pieces of business.  With the government spending "billions and billions", these companies are positioning themselves / their affiliates to capture the business.
  5. Platt is supporting its customers' smartphone needs.  They have a page where customers can download many useful apps as well as have a Platt iPhone app as well as an Android app.  While many think customers aren't using this technology, there are opportunities for distributors to develop apps for their customers.  A number of suppliers already have iPhone apps at iTunes.  Should yo uconside ra "most frequently requested product app to facilitate on-site ordering?
What this also shows is that although business is tight (unless you serve the industrial market or are aggressively pursuing the energy / lighting market), companies are investing to support their customers and plan for the future.  As the adage goes, "if you are not moving forward, you are going backwards."

What are you doing to move forward? What are you seeing others do?

Channel Marketing Group | Allen Ray Associates