To better help electrical distributors respond to the needs of their customers, each month tED asks electrical contractors to respond to questions concerning their relationships with distributors.
This month we talked to Brownie Johnson, owner of Johnson Electric in Scotch Plains, N.J.
Q. What could distributors do to make your purchasing experience better?
A. Working in New York and New Jersey, time is of the essence—and I find with most of the major distributors that I deal with is that their response times are hit or miss and they are very hard to get in touch with. Some of the bigger distributors that provide access to a website where you can check the status of orders and look up inventory; they are a lot easier to do business with.
One of the biggest problems that we have is an internal issue with the field, office, and the distributor. Unfortunately electricians are not that well-versed with paper and what tends to happen is that the information you need to verify that material has been received and is correct never makes it back to the office. So we find ourselves going out to the distributor to secure proof of delivery from them and packing slips, which they will have.
To avoid this problem, some of our distributors provide this with the invoice, which helps us to process payment faster. Not all companies do it, but it would certainly make it easier all around for both companies. It’s really about us keeping paper moving to help identify our costs at any given time. If an invoice is tied up and cannot be entered into the system because it doesn’t have the actual support documentation, it hurts me as a contractor trying to look at costs and it hurts the distributor who is trying to get paid for the materials delivered.Tagged with tED