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Top 3 Ways to Leverage Your Electrical Distributor Most Effectively

ByJon Herrity


If you are an OEM, End User, Panel Builder or Machine Shop company, your electrical distributor provides a wide range of advantages and benefits to you outside of just selling and shipping their products. Are you aware of the value added services your distributor can provide?

Today, customers have come to expect instant answers through instant access to information. It’s easier and faster to jump on the internet compared to picking up the phone or asking someone for help. An old saying in the industry says: “Work smarter, not harder.” When you trust your electrical distributor to offset this extra work, it is a huge asset to your business. The reality is when it comes to engineering specs, troubleshooting and the like, the world wide web is just not able to provide better and faster answers due to the sophisticated nature of the issues at hand.

Field experience matters. Identifying the key people at your local distributor who have the most knowledge and flexibility, and tapping their expertise, significantly reduces your total cost of ownership. Be assured; if your electrical distributor doesn’t have the answer, they can search for it and report back to you. In fact, you don’t even need to pick up the phone most of the time. Simply text messaging or e-mailing your account manager can get you faster answers than trying to find out yourself. The following 3 methods are the most effective ways to leverage your electrical distributor:

Technical Support & Product Training

Your electrical distributor is not just there to push paper and ship product. If they are a respectable company, they should be able to provide their own technical support and product training. As an example, Standard Electric Supply provides free 24/7 technical support, lunch & learn events, product trainings, along with a wide range of customer focused events. If you are not leveraging these extra capabilities, your company is definitely working harder and not smarter. Most times, these services are being provided free of charge and can result in significant savings if they can be leveraged effectively. Electrical distributors don’t just work solely with your company’s purchasing department! Try investigating their technical knowledge and engage them directly with your company’s maintenance, engineering and control departments.

Find Lower Cost Product Alternatives

Did you know that it’s possible to save 10-20% or more on hardware costs simply by sending a list of parts to your electrical distributor to see if they can cross the parts to other lines? This is easy money! One of the most important values a good distributor brings to the table is their experience in working with multiple product lines. This gives the advantage of starting out with a baseline of knowledge to check pricing and availability with multiple suppliers very quickly rather than starting from scratch. Sending a spreadsheet with part numbers and product descriptions is often the fastest and easiest way to get this information.

Vendor Managed Inventory

If your business relies on zero  Vendor Managed Inventory downtime or speedy delivery of products to its customers, it may be worthwhile to investigate having a Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) program set up on site from your distributor. This service offers to keep a specific number of items on the shelf, at your location, at any given time. Having this established eliminates depending on your distributor or your distributor’s manufacturer to have parts on hand when they’re needed the most. This also helps to significantly free up internal resources and avoid costly mistakes when too few parts are ordered for a particular job! Standard Electric has led the industry by offering this service, free of charge, with other distributors following our example in the recent years. Don’t underestimate the value your electrical distributor can bring to your company. Engineering resources offered by your electric distributor are often overlooked and undervalued. They should be able to not only help you find lower cost products, but they should also offset the time and engineering required to establish a proof-of-concept with particular hardware products for your project. Keep in mind that distributors are often armed with demo equipment and loads of experience. So, before you or your team jumps to Google to find answers, take the time to reach out to your local distributor and leverage their expertise to YOUR advantage.

Contact Standard Electric Supply Co. and ask for Engineering Support for more info.

Standard Electric Supply Co. is a family-owned distributor, built on delivering above standard service. For over 100 years, Standard Electric has been the best at what they do; delivering top-quality products, outstanding service, and providing value-added services to customers across the Midwest. Visit to see how Standard Electric can become the solution to your needs.

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