The August tED magazine Special Report examines how, when disaster strikes, an investment in time, training, and rehearsal can improve the odds of a business’s survival. To further explore the issue, Shawn Stone, owner Stone Electric in Wichita, Kan.; Doug Rogers, owner of Bay Electric in Galveston, Texas; and Dustin Shoemaker, owner of Selectric Services, also in Galveston, discuss how electrical distributors have helped them help customers in the aftermath of natural disasters.
Stone: As long as the infrastructure is restored, we can bring our clients back to power. The southern portion of Wichita is an area that is regularly hit by tornadoes. We’ve helped customers affected by tornadoes on several occasions, and our hearts go out to them. It’s the type of work we hate to get, but somebody has to help them restore their lives. All of our distributors have what we need to deal with emergency work, obviously limited to the size of the disaster.
We service residential and commercial clients and the distributors in Wichita usually have a sufficient amount of stock to deal with emergencies. I they don’t they’ll bring in materials rapidly—some as soon as the next day. When Haysville, South of Wichita, was hit, we assessed the needs of clients and the distributors came through for us within a day or two. Our clients appreciated the help, and it’s one of the services that distributors in the area specialize in.
Rogers: Galveston has been hit many hurricanes since I’ve been in business since 1983. I’ve experienced Hurricane Alicia in 1983 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. We’re on the Gulf of Mexico and when hurricanes enter the area, which is almost every summer, the local electrical suppliers will increase their inventory of the electrical materials to perform normal hurricane repairs. Some of the equipment that they stock up on are meter cans, straps for two-inch conduit, split-bolt connectors, outdoor panels of various sizes, ground clamps, ground rods, and No. 2 1/0 and 2/0 wire. Having these materials in stock allows us to do post-hurricane repairs in a timely fashion. My customers just want to get their power on and they appreciate our ability to serve them promptly.
Shoemaker: Our distributors keep a good supply of material on hand in case of emergencies. In the past two months we’ve been helping clients dealing with flooding in the Houston area. It was a serious situation for many of them. My distributors delivered parts to us on-site and expedited shipping on special order items. For our customers it meant that they could return home much sooner and that we were able to provide them with immediate service. It was not only providing parts that helped, but also extending credit to us—it gave our customers time to settle their insurance claims as the work was being done, which ultimately meant that the supply houses footed the initial expense of the repairs.
To better help electrical distributors answer to the needs of electrical contractors, tED regularly asks contractors to respond to questions concerning their relationships with distributors and the services provided to them on a regular basis. If you have a question or concern you would like to see addressed, send it to tED Editor Misty Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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