By Bridget McCrea
“What keeps you up at night?”
“We’re all definitely challenged by the online presence that seems to be demanded in our industry right now. There’s a lot of financial investment that has to go into a complete online presence that will give your customers the ‘ultimate experience’ that they expect these days, in light of the competition (like the Amazons of the world). In order for us to compete on a whole different level it now takes an entire investment in clear attributed data that includes all of the links. As distributors, we need to have a clean process and easy search engine optimization (SEO). Plus, anything else we need in order to give our customers the same (or better) experience that the giants are giving. To answer this challenge, each distributor is having to make a pretty big decision regarding whether they’re going to invest in this or not. If they are going to invest in it, it has to be a lot of money. It’s not a cheap endeavor whatsoever. To work through this issue, we strive to understand customer demands and the strength of our image in the markets that we serve – and, what customers expect going forward. At this point, I sure wish there was a better solution in our industry that we could all depend on and even mutually invest in, somehow and in some way. That day may never be come…who knows? But it would sure be great if that day did come and we all had a central engine to use to achieve our e-commerce/online goals. Companies like Travelocity, Kayak, and Amazon seem to be doing a good job of it, and I don’t know why it can’t be the same way in our industry. It’s easier said than done, that’s for sure.”
— Maureen Barsema, Vice President & CFO at BJ Electric Supply, Inc., Madison, Wis.
“A distributor doesn’t make anything; for the most part we sell the same products you can find at several other outlets in the same town. Therefore our people become our best source for competitive differentiation. We must attract, train, and retain the best people in the industry to be successful. Most people don’t grow up dreaming of becoming an electrical distributor, therefore we have to be intentional about how we attract talent to our organization and to our industry. Once people get here, they recognize you can have a really good career in distribution and for the most part – there are a lot of really nice people in this business. To do that we need to create an environment/culture that people recognize is consistent with a great place to work. We must provide challenging opportunities, a chance for advancement, training, and a competitive compensation/benefits package.”
— David White, president, Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, West Columbia, S.C.
We now pose the question to you: What keeps you up at night? You let us know at tED magazine, and we will track down the experts to give you the advice you need to grow stronger and help you rest easy in the future. Simply post your concerns below in the “comments” section or send tED magazine Publisher, Scott Costa, a direct e-mail at email@example.com.
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