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New Jersey Contractor Says No Thanks To Online Distributors

By Bridget McCrea

New Jersey electrical contractor can’t envision a time when an online seller like AmazonSupply replaces its reliable supply houses.

The father-daughter team of Anthony Maglio Jr., and Justine Maglio-Wardell knows that its electrical contracting business has a plethora of online outlets that it could be buying products from. What Maglio Electric, LLC, doesn’t know, they both say, is exactly when those online orders will be fulfilled, when they’ll arrive at their Hampton, N.J., location, and whether or not there will be someone to offer expert-level support after the sale.

“When you order online there are always uncertainties around the process,” says Maglio-Wardell, office manager for the family-run contracting firm. “Also, what kind of condition is it going to be in? If there’s a problem with the order, and if we wind up having to ship it back, the whole timeline gets extended and our jobs are held up. That’s really not a position that we want to be in.”

If, on the other hand, Maglio-Wardell works with the local distributors her firm formed relationships with years (or even decades, in some cases) ago, she knows what she’s getting, when she’s getting it, and that it will be delivered right to the company’s headquarters or job site. “If there are problems with distributor orders, they’ve always been great at replacing the products quickly,” says Maglio-Wardell, who doesn’t foresee a time in the near future when the contractor shifts its procurement of electrical products and supplies into the online world.

“My dad tends to be a bit more ‘old school’ in his thinking and knows that the inside reps at our supply houses are working hard to provide good customer service and support. That means a lot to us,” says Maglio-Wardell. “When we run into issues, we know that the distributors will follow up and follow through.”

In many instances, Maglio Electric’s distributors provide product cut sheets and spec sheets that Anthony Maglio, Jr., will use to come up with solutions for specific applications. “He’ll call up his inside sales reps and say, ‘Okay, this is kind of what I’m looking for. This is the application. What do you recommend?'” says Maglio-Wardell. That conversation will usually prompt an exchange between Maglio and the sales rep, who in turn will send out samples, follow up, and/or provide valuable expertise.

“When it comes to that kind of personal relationship with a sales rep,” says Maglio-Wardell, “we like it much better than the Internet. We want to be able to pick up the phone and have a conversation that addresses our issue – not send 500 emails back and forth.”

Finally, Maglio-Wardell has a difficult time envisioning an online seller at the job site, where in some cases her firm’s distributors have enlisted manufacturers’ reps to visit the sites in person and provide expertise (on major lighting packages, for example) during the pre-bid process on large jobs. “They look out for us and make sure that we’re offering a good product and making a profit on the job,” says Maglio-Wardell, “knowing that we won’t win the job if our bids are crazy expensive or way out there.

McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.

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