It's that time again - time to settle in with the March issue of your tED magazine and glean valuable insights from your peers. That's right, the Electrical Distribution Handbook is now available! Flip to page 59 to learn what tED readers envision the electrical industry to look like in the future, specifically 2027.

We couldn't fit all of the knowledge we gathered into the magazine this month so, lucky for you, below are a dozen more pieces of wisdom from our readers, industry veterans, and even a couple of keynote speakers from UnleashWD conferences. Enjoy!

 

What do you think the industry will look like 10 years from now?

David Griffith, executive director, Episcopal Community Services
The challenges will come out of the need to deliver value added services for customers, as commodity products odered online and delivered overnight and low margins relative to today will change the current distribution model. Manufacturing will need to understand the end user market and develop coverage models that both retain and grow customers and allow margin to support share price. Supply chain will be a core competency. Education and innovation in applications will also be one.

Customers will go direct to manufacturers and distribution will need to thrive on value added services, product education, application design assistance, and product bundling.

I also think alternative power sources like standby generation, wind and solar will continue to grow as opportunities.

 

How can we ensure that the electrical industry is still relevant in 10 years?

Jeffrey Hayzlett, primetime TV & podcast host, Chairman C-Suite Network
Here's the rule for business today – adapt, change or die. That's it. If you keep doing things the same way you've always been doing them, someone's going to beat you because they will come up with something better, faster, cheaper, or of greater value. If you don't adapt to change, if that isn't part of your mantra, if you're not looking at continuous improvement of quality, of market share, of margins, of price or clause, and all the things that go into the delivering of a product or service or into the satisfaction of your customer, you're business won't survive. Everything in the world around us changes every single day. There's a time for improvement in all things, Darwin taught us that a long time ago, but we seem to have forgotten along the way. If species can evolve, why can't businesses?


Maureen Barsema, founder, Outside Looking In
Invest in people. Look at those with initiative, business smarts and creative minds, visionaries who will help you
walk into the future. Take a look at those who are brave enough to respectfully “press buttons” to address challenges that you know carry too much weight in your company and give them an opportunity to resolve the challenge. Invest in their education, expose them to the industry on a national level through NAED and the marketing groups, give them a chance to contribute and measure their effectiveness.

Invest in relationships. Focus on the employees, customers, and suppliers who will help move you forward and walk by your side into the vision of your future.

Invest in solutions. Let your data have a voice. Many business systems do not perform efficiently and critically to stay relevant. Take the time to investigate other solutions to learn how they can play a role in future proofing your company. Look outside your company and determine if an outside resource is better tasked with weighty issues while you concentrate on building relationships and market share.


Rock Kuchenmeister, general manager, K/E Electric Supply, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
The electrical industry will still be relevant 10 years from now because the best distributors are still evolving. We are becoming better than our fathers and grandfathers ever dreamed of becoming. We still don't know what we will evolve into in the future.


Don Spurgin, vice president of Sales Development, Encore Wire
First, we have to do a better job as a whole in recruiting young people into all aspects of our industry. You have to create a bench and then stay on top of it. Second, we have to stay up to date with new and emerging systems.


Jason Hill, national sales manager, Electrical Wholesaling, HellermannTyton
Creating inventive product which creates total cost reduction of the lifetime of the system. Providing the right solution to the consumer via their choice of media to their specific location. Educating the consumer on all the standards, products, and applications. All combined will create value which will lead to sustainability.


Dirk Beveridge, president, Beveridge Consulting Group
First, nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is ensured. That said, I'll peer into the future and suggest that power, energy, and even electricity will be required by society and humanity in 2027. But how that energy is distributed, bought, sold, represented, and the forms it takes...well, nothing is forever. You have no choice in today's disruptive environment—you innovate or die. You change or perish.


Denise Keating, president, DATAgility
First, stay close and responsive to the needs of your customers and their natural behaviors. Second, continually look for better solutions that will solve their problems. Third, ensure your company is developing and implementing
a business strategy which includes a digital strategy. Fourth, deploy the right technology and connectivity. Fifth is content: We must invest in the creation, management, and sharing of data. We can't optimize ROI on any technology or begin to compete effectively in the digital age where robust quality data is the new currency.


David Griffith, executive director, Episcopal Community Services
Keep your head out of the sand. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and find the pain and what you can do to fix it. Understand what you do really well and leverage, is it availability, price, ease of ordering, credit, application design, engineering, bundling, other associated services and partners. (In the generator business, we collaborated with a propane distributor to joint market and refer cross customers.)

Focus on talent, and talent development that is focused on customer requirements and needs. Requirements come from customers first, then engineers. Not the other way around.

 

What will be the biggest challenges to the industry over the next 10 years?

Rock Kuchenmeister, general manager, K/E Electric Supply, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
The biggest challenge in the next decade will be the leap from Baby Boomer-owned businesses to Generation X- and Millennial-owned businesses. The transition from owner to owner is challenging not for just the financial aspects, but also the transition from leader to leader.


Dirk Beveridge, president, Beveridge Consulting Group
The biggest challenge we will face is relevancy. In fact, relevance is the new mandate that must be at the top of
every leaders agenda. As a leader in the business of electrical distribution, you have been called to think harder, deeper and more strategically than ever before to determine how to create a relevant, sustainable, and profitable business in the age of disruption. What made us relevant in the past is not necessarily going to make us relevant in the future. What made us sustainable over the last decade is not necessarily going to insure our sustainability
over the next decade.


David Griffith, executive director, Episcopal Community Services
The biggest challenge will be the trends we are seeing from Amazon today. You will need value added services, availability, design, problem-solving consulting, and transaction speed to play in a world where most products can be researched online and ordered overnight. I also think the internet of things and the associated cyber security will become a defacto standard and this will require new skills and competencies.