ELEC TRICAL DISTRIBUTOR
• Oct. 17
Expectations for full-year revenue growth have brightened since respon- dents were surveyed in the first quar- ter. Electrical firm participants now expect 2017 revenues to top 2016 by 3.5%, up slightly from an earlier pre- diction of 3.2% growth. Datacom re- spondents are expecting revenue growth of 3.7% vs. just 2.1% predicted in the first-quarter survey. Across the broader distribution market, the out- look has improved from a 3.7% fore- cast in the first-period survey to 4.5%. Baird found, “Feedback was most encouraging around nonresidential construction trends going forward, as we believe there are still some ques- tions around the sustainability of im- proved industrial trends at present (primarily sentiment related).” Baird cited several respondents who expect the outlook would improve if the tax system is overhauled. Regionally, most respondents hold expectations within one percentage point of their respective market aver- ages. The exceptions for electrical firms are in the Midwest, where full- year revenue growth of 4.9% is pre- dicted, and international firms, which expect growth of just .4%. Among datacom participants, growth is ex- pected to be slightly stronger in the Midwest ( 4.7%) than elsewhere and weakest in the South ( 2.6%). In both market sectors, 29% of respondents expect an increase in inventories in the third quarter. That is a small deceleration from the share who reported inventory increases in the spring: 33% of electrical firms and 36% of datacom participants. Thus, electrical and datacom firms appear to be participating in the ongo- ing, modest, and variable expansion that has characterized the U.S. econ- omy for the past eight years. The quarter and year ahead are expected to fit within that pattern. ;
is chief economist for the Asso-
ciated General Contractors of America.
Reach him at email@example.com.
To better help electrical distributors respond to the needs
of electrical contractors, “Contractor Q&A” features remarks
from real contractors from around the country. Responding
to this month’s question are Jeremy Price, owner of Price
Electric in Robins, Iowa; Rob Potts, project manager with
Gebhart Electric in West Carrollton, Ohio; and James Sass Jr.,
president of J&J Sass Electric in Kingston, N.Y.
WHAT CAN YOUR DISTRIBUTORS DO TO IMPROVE THE
The front end of the purchasing process is fine, but I
would like to see more follow-up on the shipping schedule side
of things. We often receive the initial shipping schedule from the
manufacturer, but there are times when that schedule is changed
and we’re not informed in a timely fashion. It could be the fault of
the manufacturer, but any help that we can receive from the dis-
tributor would help us with keeping the customer informed and
allow us to better schedule our manpower.
Provide an automated ordering process such as web
entry, which should include a product filtering system based on
what products the customer normally uses. This allows my field
staff the ability to order what they want without a lot of phone
calls or emails. The product list saves time because we don’t
have to spend a lot of time searching for products that we
always use. Distributors should also have their salespeople sug-
gest product substitutions if there is a more user-friendly or
cheaper product available.
When ordering material, distributors rarely mention if they
do not have stock on an item, so they will deliver a partial order
and then back-order the difference. This can be very frustrating.
Another issue revolves around asking for material submit-
tals and shipping dates on large orders. To continuously have to
call and remind the distributer that we need this information is
a waste of time. It’s easy for a distributor salesperson to take
an order, but communicating and following up after the order is
received is just as important, if not more. ;
Send your questions to
Editor Misty Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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