NAED 2018 Western Feedback



2018 NAED Western Region

Last week NAED held its Western Regional conference in Phoenix.  While unfortunately I couldn’t attend due to previously scheduled client commitments outside the Western Region, we had a number of distributors and manufacturers share feedback and then others ask if we were going to write observations … so here’s what we heard:

  • Strong attendance.  Over 700 people with many distributors bringing multiple people (it should be noted that the Western Region has many national chains / large regionals and that in good years they tend to bring a number of people.)
  • #1 theme, lighting controls. One distributors stated that 75% of their meetings were with manufacturers who mentioned “controls” and/or their control strategy.  (We’ve recently written an article on lighting controls / IoT with Dave Shiller from Lighting Development Solutions, which is in the January issue of Electrical Wholesaling.)
  • Interestingly rising commodity prices (in speaking with manufacturers, expect to see them in Q1, the challenge that we’re hearing is that many are not being realized due to non-tier 1 branded companies who compete on price not responding in concert, hence name brands not being able to pass on in some cases.)
  • Truck driver issues because of new requirements that they can only drive so many hours per day and a shortage of truck drivers, that might slow down shipments were discussed by several.
    • A few distributors also commented about increasing freight charges due to fuel increases.\
  • According to a distributor, commenting on the quality / preparation said “most (of their) meetings are very poorly planned. No direction, no strategy.  So simple, but just not easy for some. Most of our 14 one hour meetings and 10 booth meetings were very poor.”  (Perhaps manufacturers should seek input from their distributors to solicit what distributors would like, in general, from their meetings and perhaps critique the meetings they have … similar to a mystery shopper service.  This could apply to their NAED, AD and IMARK meetings.  Considering the amount of time dedicated to meetings … setting them up, preparing for them, the number of people at the meeting and the hoped for follow-up, could be a worthwhile investment.)
  • Spoke to a manufacturer who felt that the keynote speaker, an individual from CISCO (click here for a speaker list), was “one of the worst speakers he has heard.”  He felt the speaker hadn’t done any homework regarding the industry, the applications and what is currently going on in the area of controls (lighting controls) and IoT.
  • A couple of people, when asked about the progress on the NAED Market Data program, which at the Eastern they said that they would be rolling out the reporting layout, commented that “the presentation was the same at the Eastern” with “more details at the National.”
  • And, from a business viewpoint, most were very positive about the Western region economic climate and, although supportive of the new tax reform, had no sense of what the impact may be, other than positive.

Hope sharing the feedback helps.  If you attended, please share your observations (and if you desire to remain anonymous, either post accordingly or email me and I can post for you without attribution.)

And if you’d like to get together at the next meetings, I’ll be at the NEMRA Annual Meeting next week and at the NAED South Central.

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