Changes in the Electrical Industry 2014 - Remke Blog

It seems the economy has turned the corner and looks to be heading for steady growth in 2013 and hopefully beyond.

Advancing technologies & emerging sales opportunities affect the businesses of electrical distributors, electrical products manufacturers, manufacturers’ reps and the end user.

In one of their issues earlier this year, the editors at Electrical Wholesaling decided that all these converging factors meant it was time to write about key macrotrends that they think will shape how all of us do business in the future.  Here are a few that we found most compelling:

  • More U.S. based electrical manufacturers & distributors will look to grow outside the U.S. while more electrical companies will move into this country from outside North America.
    • Two of the five largest distributors in North America are owned by companies based in France.  ABB acquired T&B last year.  Over the next few years look for some of the Pacific Rim manufacturers of LED’s to strengthen their positions in the US through acquisitions of lighting manufacturers with strong networks of distributors or local lighting reps.
  • Oil fracking technology will unlock oil & gas resources in more regions of the US and create new sales opportunities.
    • The Bakken region in western North Dakota is a boomtown and several distributors have recently set up new branches in this area.  This region will remain king for a long time but this technology is helping companies do the same thing on a smaller scale in western Pennsylvania, upstate New York and eastern Ohio.  And more reports show potential in Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado
  • Renovation & modernization of the US electrical grid will pump up profits in the utility niche for more companies in the electrical wholesaling industry.
    • Over the years there hasn’t been that many full-line electrical distributors that focused on the utility marketing in a big way.  But with the smart grid and integration of solar & wind renewable power onto the grid, expansion because of increased power demands and stormproofing in regions prone to hurricanes & tornadoes may mean that more distributors & reps get into this business. 
  • Customer use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will push more distributors (and perhaps manufacturers) toward online storefronts and force them to rethink how they market their companies.
    • The launch of the Grainger smartphone app in August 2012 is impacting their sales and to the degree that annual e-commerce sales are expected to move from 40% to 50% of all Grainger sales by 2015.  Talk about impact!  The move to mobile will force many more distributors & manufacturers to make sure the back-end product information is populated and consistently updated – as well as checking out digital marketing tools.
  • As the younger generation becomes a bigger part of the workforce in the electrical industry companies will need to get more creative in how they recruit, train and incentivize them.
    • The young folks that baby boomers are hiring aren’t wired the same way us them (or their parents).  Perhaps it is time to network with your industry friends about what’s worked for them in managing their youngest employees.  But more importantly – talk with your best young talent on a regular basis both informally and in the evaluation process to make sure we all understand where they want to go with their careers. 

Do you see these trends impacting how you do business?  What will you need to change?  We look forward to reading your comments and hope that you will LIKE an SHARE this blog.  And as always – thank you for subscribing to EVERYTHING’S CONNECTED.  We do appreciate you!