By Susan Bloom
Since launching last October, dozens of distributors nationwide have subscribed to the NAED’s new “Economic and Industry Sector Outlook,” a quarterly tool that brings a wealth of key economic indicators, trends within 11 distribution-focused market segments, and construction trends and forecasts for over 100 different Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) all in one convenient place.
While distributors large and small are investing in the affordable ($850/year) new resource for different reasons, all confirm that the information conveyed each quarter helps keep them up to date on the latest economic trends impacting the electrical distribution sector. Following, executives at several distributorships nationwide discuss why they subscribed, how they’re using the quarterly report, and how their firms will benefit from the information it contains.
“A Single Economic Source” for Wiseway Supply
Among other reasons for investing in the new quarterly tool, “I loved that the Economic Outlook is comprehensive across 11 industry sectors and includes a narrower geographic focus too,” shared John Cain, President of Florence, KY-based Wiseway Supply. “Since we focus primarily on the construction segment of the electrical industry, I especially like the report’s Construction Index.”
“I have a voracious appetite for all things economically-oriented and I review a lot of different publicly-available forecasts,” Cain said. “Each industry in which we participate publishes some sort of data, but it’s not typically available in a comprehensive form like the NAED report. You can cobble together some of this information by sifting through data from many, many other places; however, it’s difficult if not impossible to find a single economic source for everything that’s included in the NAED’s Economic Outlook.” As a result, he said, “I’ve tried other subscription economic reports, but the NAED’s Economic Outlook is the only economic report I subscribe to today. I just found it more comprehensive, and I especially like that it focuses specifically on our industry while also providing insight into other sectors that we lean into for construction data, such as housing, medical, education, sanitation, and more.”
Cain believes that the NAED does a great job of making often-technical economic information digestible and easy to understand. “I share the entire report with my Executive team and parts of it with the entire company,” he said. “In addition to comparing the historical elements with our own results, we can use the report to set expectations for our future performance and medium-term direction as well as assess our planned deployment of resources and make adjustments as necessary.” Cain also appreciates having access to NAED Research and Data Analyst and report author Erin Prinster. “She helps bring clarity to my own questions and interpretations,” he said.
Overall, said Cain, “data is often easy to find, but NAED continues to be a great resource for data-turned-into-information that will help us run our business. The NAED’s Economic Outlook is another great example of this direction and I’m excited about their build-out of the Market Data program, too!”
“A Complement to Other Research” for Border States Electric
At Fargo, ND-based Border States Electric, “there are many great publications that provide economic and industry sector insights, but what attracted us to the NAED’s Economic Outlook is that it’s compiled from the perspective of the electrical distribution industry,” shared Shari Else, director of sales enablement and operations. “The Economic Outlook complements other industry reports and research that we subscribe to by providing a narrative and forecast for various industries and indicators that correlate with our business. The use of multiple sources gives us a more holistic picture of what’s happening within the industries we serve and those that align with our business trends.” As a result, Else said that the Border States team will be using the Economic Outlook as an additional input to support their sales planning and forecasting processes.
She and her colleagues also look forward to the report’s evolution. “By continuing to grow and develop more granular regional or state-level outlooks, the Economic Outlook will provide branch leaders with key information they need to drive local business decisions,” Else said. “The ability to download raw historic indicator data in order to conduct independent analysis and identify correlations that align with our internal sales trends will aid in sales forecasting and key business decision-making.”
“A Quick Desktop Reference” for Dakota Supply Group
“DSG is involved in multiple construction segments and industry disciplines, and prior to the NAED’s Economic Outlook, I would piece together information from multiple sources to get a comprehensive overview of economic activity,” shared Paul Kennedy, CEO of Plymouth, MN-based Dakota Supply Group. “I now have that holistic view in one quarterly report.”
According to Kennedy, “I heard about this new report, and because it was being produced by the NAED, I wanted to support it. I also knew that if the NAED was producing it, it was going to be relevant and useful to members’ needs. I haven’t been disappointed — the report is logical in its approach and has become my quick desktop reference for economic activity.”
Though DSG relies on numerous paid and unpaid subscriptions to industry research, the company has long had trouble finding an aggregated source that delivers a comprehensive view of the economy. “The NAED’s Economic Outlook provides that complete view,” Kennedy said. “It also provides MSA and industry-level detail, which allows us to drill down into a level of specificity that we couldn’t before.”
As a result, “we’ll use the Economic Outlook to support our strategic planning process, benchmark current activity to our performance, and identify opportunities for further expansion,” Kennedy said. “We’ll also look to incorporate this data into our board meetings to inform our external board on our industries’ economic drivers.”
For all of the above reasons, Kennedy is optimistic about the role the new tool will play in his firm’s intelligence-gathering function. “As we continue to incorporate this report into our portfolio of sources, I expect that the Economic Outlook will become a key input to our overall market research and strategic planning processes,” he said. “By having a relevant dataset tailored to our business and industry, we’ll be armed with the information to make better decisions more quickly.”
Looking ahead, he concluded, “I believe that in our industry, the Economic Outlook will become a go-to reference for overall economic activity that’s curated to the focus and needs of the NAED membership.”
Don’t Miss Out!
The Second Quarter 2021 edition of the NAED’s new Economic and Industry Sector Outlook will be available on April 28th. If you have additional questions, you can contact Erin Prinster at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Erin at 314-812-5336. To subscribe ($850/year), contact the NAED Member Engagement Team at email@example.com, click this link for more information on the NAED website, or simply order it here.
Bloom is a 25-year veteran of the lighting and electrical products industry.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tagged with data, Economic Outlook, NAED, research