Featured Insight

New Report: Electrical Distribution State of the Industry

Companies in the electrical distribution industry have an interesting path ahead of them as the world exits a pandemic and enters a likely recession.

Companies in the electrical distribution industry have an interesting path ahead of them as the world exits a pandemic and enters a likely recession. While analysts predict initiatives like green energy and engineering advances will drive steady growth over the next five years, broader trends like labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and an evolution in customer expectations will determine what strategies and approaches lead to growth and what leads to an acquisition or worse.

 

The necessity of a winning customer experience

 

New research from McKinsey and NAED, respectively, found that delivering a winning customer experience that aligns with constantly evolving expectations will be the key differentiator for electrical distributors. For example, McKinsey reports that 49% of distribution customers rank value-added services as a top differentiator when choosing where to take their business.

On the other hand, NAED found misalignment across four core types of value-added services in their recent report, “Beyond the Sales: Contractor Perspectives on Value-Added Services.” NAED also found that most customers want more communication about services beyond products, with 46% wanting a quarterly update on what’s available.

How do businesses position themselves to correct this misalignment? They need time. Time to ensure orders go out the door without errors and time to focus on solving complex customer problems without having to worry about clerical work like data entry. It’s very common to find customer service and sales reps balancing their time between retyping data and responding to customers.

Which of those tasks represents the future of your business – a team of employees focused on transposing order information from email attachments or a team of subject-matter experts that become an invaluable part of your customers’ success?

 

Manual processes prevail despite digital transformation

 

A key finding from our survey is that 75% of electrical distributor decision-makers reported that more than half of their company processes documents manually, despite 100% reporting they have invested in digital transformation and automation for front and back-office processes. This represents a disconnect between what should be a transformative investment in better ways of operating, and the complex reality businesses must transform to see a return.

In this report, we hope to provide leaders at electrical distributors with insights they need to evaluate paths forward and champion innovation. In it, we cover:

  • The pandemic’s impact on hiring and retention
  • Plans to address labor shortages in the next five years
  • What makes a job in electrical distribution attractive
  • The role of automation and digital transformation

Download your copy of the report today.

And if you’d like to learn how 80% of the top 20 electrical distributors – like Graybar, Rexel, and Werner Electric – deliver a winning customer experience, you can find out more here.