Watt's the Word - An Electrical Industry Podcast

Solutions, Partnerships, and Wholesalers with Cindy Cameron

April 11, 2022 Cindy Cameron Episode 13
Watt's the Word - An Electrical Industry Podcast
Solutions, Partnerships, and Wholesalers with Cindy Cameron
Show Notes Transcript

We are joined by Cindy Cameron from Gescan discussing the valuable partnerships between electrical contractors and electrical wholesalers.

We discuss the importance of relationships with your wholesaler and dive into some of the current supply chain issues.

Be sure to subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts!

Connect with us on Instagram or Facebook - @wattsthewordpodcast

Support the show
Cindy Cameron:

Like in a flash, something can go desperately wrong in electrical equipment or that job, right. And what I, I find, even to this day is that electrician should value what they do so much more than how they do. Because your job is about life safety. What you do, prevents people from getting hurt, when you do a efficient and effective job on your distribution, and you putting it in, that is about keeping people safe on the other side of that receptacle. Right. And, and I, I find that value value the job much more than I'm just, you know, I'm just throwing in receptacles. And I'm not because you can save lives. You know, there's other, there's other trades that are out there. But they're not dealing every day with something that you could hurt yourself with. Right? When you're as an electrician, when you're dealing on those voltages, you could you could actually hurt yourself and cause Life Extending damages to you. And I think that, that the value of an electrician is that they have to understand that it's not just an electrician, you're very valuable entity.

Zack Hartle:

Those words you just heard, we're Cindy Cameron of Gescan. She's going to join us today on the show to talk about a wholesalers perspective in the electrical industry. This is Watt's the Word an electrical industry podcast. And I'm your host, Zack Hartle, and I'm joined by Jason Cox, when we're having relevant conversations with members from all over the community. We're super excited about our conversation today. So let's jump into it. Cindy, welcome to the show today, we're excited to chat with you. We know you've been at Gescan for 19 years and then have more years of experience before that. So I guess, first of all, can you tell us maybe a little bit what you do at Gescan now and how you got to that point just in like one or two minutes?

Cindy Cameron:

Or less or less? Yeah, I do outside sales for Gescan at the moment. I have been like, with Jessica in 19 years I have been in the industry, electrical industry. 40 next week, April 9, yes.

Zack Hartle:

Congratulations.

Cindy Cameron:

Thank you. I started off as a mailroom clerk went from there did filing I participated in basically every job that's within a in a distributor. So I worked counter I did receiving I did purchasing I did inside sales, I did quotation management, I work both on electrical and data, sides of the spectrum. I was a quotation manager and then I went back out into outside sales, and I did purchasing too. So I get a lot of in like roles within the company in order to have a big breadth of understanding of how our industry works.

Zack Hartle:

And that's useful, right? I mean, you've seen a little bit of everything. I just got to ask though, before we get into too much more. I've always wondered what is the difference between inside sales and outside sales.

Cindy Cameron:

So inside sales, and I worked inside sales, so what it is, is that a client will call and there's usually they have bases or any any call that comes into a building. So they are answered, you know, by an inside sales, so you have the inside sales that then take the orders and then process them. And then they go back out to the bill. So they're some are called data entry, but I prefer them to be knowledgeable so that they are able to when somebody calls in, they're able to ask questions. So if you have EMT, they're asking where the couplings and the connectors are or the big one, PVC. Do you need any glue like so they're the So there there are a contact like second contact either through reception or nowadays there's a lot of automated, automated reception. So they are our first contact with the clients. So they need to be knowledgeable about the products that we have in house. As an outside sales. My job is to develop accounts. So I have a client base, who I either see on a regular basis or have contact with the project managers, the purchasers and the owners and that's to develop a relationship to be able to see what their needs are and to be able to find solutions for problems they might be having or working with them on future jobs and having an understanding of of where they're at, or if they're changing their focus on on their business. So I tried to be myself, I tried to be solution orientated. Because I don't like dealing just with price, not my idea of a good time.

Jason Cox:

When if I'm a contractor and I have a job coming up, and I'm doing commercial business, and I need a material takeoff list, do I send you kind of, hey, this is kind of what I what I need. And you guys give me a takeoff of, well, this is the number of panels you need, like, do you just build a whole package together and say this is we can give you this product.

Cindy Cameron:

But there's two different things. Jason, right, there's, there's the service side, okay, so they may go into a house and say, Hey, I need, they're building a little list on the notepad, and I need three breakers for this panel, and I need to put some in and be in here all I've got to change that. So there's that type of, you know, an ask, then there's another type of analysis. And I think this is more where you're coming from is on the project side, where there's a quotation or a job or a closing date, it's been driven by a GC and end user client that way for you. So then that's a bid process, which is done a bit differently. So here, and while in Calgary, it's the responsibility of the contractor to provide a bill of material. So that means that you go into the plans, you go and you do your counts on your fixtures, you put them you put them down, you do your distribution, also do the quality, follow the single line, and then you send it into most distributors have quotation departments. So then that would go into the quotation department and whether they see see the outside sales are not on it, so that we're aware. So at that time, then it would it wants to take the quotation department, okay, then they would take it and dissect it, again, taking the luminaire schedule, because the specifications and drawings should be all there, including the close date, including who the engineer is, if there's questions that are going back out to the contractor. So we would then take it out and put it to the manufacturers to the agency that is involved in that in that specific job. Then there's also the individual customer that they're doing just they have their own client and they're out and they need a lighting layout on they've walked into the place and all we need just a fixture, upgrade the client, and he's only coming to you. So you're marking down how many fixtures I need. And you would get that information we have like a lighting specialist. So then you go to your in your outside sales, or if you have one assigned, or you would take it into the distributor to an end, give it to an inside sales or speak to the lighting, lighting wrap for that distributor. And they would ask you like ceiling height, and they'd ask you the color of what was in the building? How wide how high, you know, how long? What's the spacing? what's the, what's the building being used for that space being used for because there's different lighting degrees for different types of workplaces. So they would take that information, right, and then voltage lumens and everything else would be high bay, whatever kind of fixtures you're looking for, and then make suggestions back up to you. Which then you can then take to your end users and and provide you know pricing labor and everything else to them. That makes sense.

Jason Cox:

Yeah, how you set it way better than that I articulated. So when when you were speaking with one of your potential clients or one of your clients, a lot of time, you're gonna send that information right to your your quotation department. Yeah,

Cindy Cameron:

so what happens, because I haven't developed base, so a lot of the people that are in my base, will already send it right to the quotation people and they'll copy me. Okay? If it's someone new, right, something that's new, they would come into our building, or they would phone in and ask, hey, who can I get a quotation from, and then it would go, depending on the type of quotation they're looking for, whether it's what we call the material, which is anything that's basically in the warehouse, that would be day to day goods, okay? Or if it's a future, future shipping, future job, then it would go into the project department, and they would then price it out accordingly to either the fixture manufacturers, they're the schedule that's given, or there may be nothing, they have to have them the conversation or have a conversation with the client to figure out what it is they're trying to

Zack Hartle:

achieve. So one thing we mentioned, and I think I'm correct on this, so correct me if I'm wrong Things like pipe wire, I mean, boxes, those would all be B class material, everything that's kind of more special ordered from the manufacturer, that would be a class material. So that correct.

Cindy Cameron:

You could have B beam class material, say fixtures, two by fours, one by fours, LEDs, by bays, those are still be class because they're sitting in the warehouse and their turn, if so someone may come in and get 32 by fours. Okay, the differential itself when you get to a project, and it may be the same product, that's in is a be, however, there's more of it. Okay, and those a lot of projects go direct to site. And don't turn out of the warehouse.

Jason Cox:

Cindy, if I'm starting a company, and I'm coming to you guys to set up an account, what's what's some of the some of the conversations we would have if I was coming to you trying to set up an account for my new electrical company?

Cindy Cameron:

Okay, so I can Yeah, I'll speak to just like our company. So if you know gentleman lady who comes in and they want to set up an account with us, there's there's forms on our website that would be filled out. We would, or I would, if I'm talking to him, I would find out. First of all, like, how long they've been an electrician, if they're a master or not. How many people they have employed as is their first venture. Who else that they are setting up accounts with, for on the credit information. And we would give them a credit app the credit app has about ours has about 21 items on it. okay for them to review. And they are like, where I took a little note. So they'd have like things like on the creditor like payment terms, they would have, what happens if you don't pay within a specific amount of times, what the interest would be charged, where liability is we have information, our quotations and our pricing. So there's a little paragraph there about price changes, if something happens that we have no control over, you know, there's a clause for that. There's on taxations on cancellations on return policies. Even on wire and cable, because wire, wire once you've cut it, it's basically of no value to anyone, right? The status of the seller, the seller, the liabilities, durations of quotes, like we have 20 a compliance 2121 paragraphs that they have to go through, and they read them. And then in our actual form, they ask about, you know, how many dollars you spend, right? Do you think how big do you believe that you're going to be they ask for references on on who else you've done business with. Or they also ask for collateral or guarantees for you know, links if something goes wrong. So if someone opens, opens an account and they can't pay anything, they need to put something up in order for big. So unfortunately, that distributor to have something to fall back on for once the account is established, then they would then assign either into the house where it would get its pricing level or depending on whom it is maybe it's an established account, that's just decided they're going to open up at your branch also. And it may get assigned to an outside sale. So if it were to get assigned to me, then I would have a phone up and have a conversation with the client. And again, aspect what business segment are they? Are they commercial, they industrial? Are they institutional? I like those type of questions. So I would find whether or not I was a good fit for them or not, because there's certain things I have to strengthen. And there's other things that I don't and I don't want to just have an account to have an account I want to have it because I want to try and add value to to their business. So some of the gentlemen and ladies that I have in my account, I then go a little bit step further. And I asked them you know, what kind of background do you have? Have you ever taken any business courses? Are you aware of what cost of operating your, you know, your offices or your van is or like have you done any of these things? Because if they don't understand how, what their true costs are, it's not about putting 50 bucks out an hour and hey, this is great. I'm on my own and this is good. It's also about the cost of what they have in their house, if they have an office in their house, they still have to pay for their lights, they still should be paying their use WCB they should still be, you know, managing a cash flow, do they understand that they should have cashflow that they need a line of credit, that when they're putting out a quotation, that all their operating costs stripy in there before they put profit onto anything, not just take their labor, and figure that everything is taken care of that way, because it's not. So most of the people that I have dealt with, we've gone through some of those challenges. And I also say to them, you can make it through to the third year, and you're turning a profit good for you. But those first two years, they're going to be tough. And you need to have financial backing, or be very cautious of the type of business that you take. There are some guys that open their doors, and they already have clients that they are already taking with them or have been working with. But they still need to understand what that cost is. And and yeah. I get worried sometimes about especially with economic, the economy the way that it is. But I've also have established customers that have given me a purchase order. And I said no, I don't want it, it's not good for us. And they go. And, and because there's holdbacks. There's guys that aren't paying, there's GCS that may not want to pay within the period of time, right? Or end users or certain industries that have a hard time paying in 30 days, and usually 90 day, so you have to understand who your client is, and if they're going to pay you on time. Because that's important. Because distributors, we don't, you know, we pay our bills, we have our bills paid in 30 days, our expectation is that you're paying us on time, or you're doing something that's established with us, we can always have a conversation because you're all you know, through the years and through relationships, you understand, you're going to do business with that company, again, because you've done business with them before. And there was always going to be bumps in the road. And as a good and true distributor that's working as a partner, you work that relationship with that client. But when you're just starting out, all the onus is on you to make sure that you're, you know, that you're fulfilling your side of the duty. So most distributors if you've not paid your bills when they're done, especially right now with, you know, because they eat that money, right? It goes to the bottom line, it's a loss, most distributed at most places at 1% of overall sales is but you know, bad data's and so they're not gonna they're not playing with anyone these days, they're at all, the economy is too shaky. And people, some people just don't want to pay. So hopefully that makes sense to you.

Jason Cox:

Well, it's just the conversation what what your, I mean, over over 40 years, the things you must have seen the successes and the unfortunate circumstances, I mean, it, I mean, some of those stories must be real doozies. I guess it's time and having enough money to wait to be paid as the contractor, right, and then realizing that there's other people waiting to be paid as well, right.

Cindy Cameron:

And sometimes, like you get hold backs on, like on that it's supposed to be 10% of what the overall is. And you have larger jobs where I have a client right now they have $140,000 being held back for about a $400 item. Now, where's the logic in that? So they're fighting to get their money? I mean, I would too, and, and so that puts a flag up for them going like I'm not sure if I really want to deal with that. I have another I have another client that has a contract for one portion of the job and her and something happened during this job. And so they got two additional contracts through like through insurance. However the main the main job they're utilizing it is not to pay them again some of their whole back for something because of these other two additional which has nothing to do with it makes me frustrated when I see these type of things like people should do good business and business fairly and equally. And some people are, are not they're very like selfish. They think that by you know, holding a carrot over someone's head, that they're going to scrap late or be able to get something better or quicker, more efficiently. And sometimes it's just isn't possible.

Zack Hartle:

So are there if I am starting an electrical company kind of back into that thread a little bit, is there an advantage to having an account with let's say, Gescan or any of the wholesalers, as opposed to, if I'm more of a service type company just going in and buying stuff off the shelf?

Cindy Cameron:

Well, if you have an account, right, if you have an account, and you have someone assigned to it, you're going to get maybe different discounts, or you're going to have the ability to online, you can, well, we have our brochures and stuff that are online that you can take a look at. But your actual pricing is probably well, it is better as an account than it would be for a cash sin. Because our business is about electrical contractors, not cash sales and walk in. We do have some people that prefer to pay cash, even though they're a master electrician, and that's what they prefer to do. However, that's, you know, that's their choice. But they will pay they you know, they'll pay more than if you have an account. Well,

Jason Cox:

I mean, when you look at the cash sales, what that leads to is, is the electricians customer saying, Well, I'll tell you what, I'll go buy all the material myself. And I'll get it at the same price or cheaper. But then that's when the client forgets that there's those other costs associated with the installation.

Cindy Cameron:

like pulling a permit. Sure. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Jason like that's, that's the thing, like, you'll have somebody, oh, well, I can get this I can get cheaper. I can get that. And, and then they miss 40% of the components, because they think that they know Oh, yeah, this is great. Oh, this is wonderful. I got a panel. Yay. I didn't get any breakers to put into. They don't know how to size the breakers to go into it. Right. So their expectation is, like a lot of like, where a lot of end users like large end users will buy the fixtures off a job. Well get the fixtures out, we'll buy those 1000 fixtures, and we'll supply it to the contractor who looks after the warranty. Right? Do you just accept the fact that oh, I'm going to put those fixtures in and I'm going to look after the warranty. Why would an electrical contractor look after the warranty for something that they're not receiving any type of renumeration for

Jason Cox:

a good friend of mine once the gave a client a take off on a job. And it wasn't a big job. And he included tape. And he put a price on the tape and the client was like, I'm not paying for tape. And he said, Okay, so if you're not paying for tape, you probably don't want to pay for lube. You don't want to pay for someone to carry the material in. Like, what do you want to pay for it? Well, I guess they don't want to pay for anything. But they want to have new, a new install.

Cindy Cameron:

I had a many years ago, this one sticks out on me because I get annoyed. And I don't normally get too annoyed because I every day something something new happens in my world electrically. And I mean, not like I learned something new, or experienced something new. It is. One thing that fascinates me is that every day, there is something different than yesterday. But this one incident was where we had we had priced out I was a quotation manager at that time. And we had priced out this job four or five different times so far. And each time it was all about the cost savings of coming down from this fixture. Maybe it was architectural all the way down. So the person that worked underneath me said oh my god, and they've asked me again and I said, I said okay, just can you just give me the file, take a look at it. So I phoned the contractor. And I said, so here's here we've finished we have finished. We're not doing this anymore. Here's the bottom dollar. A 60 lamp is worth 60 cents. A wire guard is worth 220 That's it no more. Call us when you're ready to place a purchase order. That was the end of discussion. Because you can always find something that's less expensive. You can find such as people cheap, right, but doesn't do the work that you needed to do. Right. Even the 50 fixtures in some places. Oh this is wonderful. Overlay underlay The spacings incorrectly incorrect right? There. There are lots of reasons that people should go to a distributor or electrical contractor and use the specialists that they have in their buildings in order to make sure that the end user gets what they want.

Jason Cox:

It sounds to me like you're almost describing a partnership, right, versus that person that goes out. And hey, I can go buy all this material at the giant hardware store, when you're, when you're dealing with a wholesaler, you actually have a partnership there, where they've got experience from doing this in the past, they have experts in lighting, you just mentioned that I'm sure they would have an idea of data communications, right? When electricians are doing cable poles and stuff, they might not know exactly what they're doing. You guys have seen in the past, all the hurdles that people are going to run into and challenges with trying to set up their business. So the big word out of this I'm getting right now is you're you're setting up a partnership.

Cindy Cameron:

I like that term like that, that partnership relationship with with with clients and trying to understand what it is that their needs are and that they trust, that you're trying to understand that, like, we have like we have a distribution specialist also in our building, some do, some don't determine depending on on the job, so they can actually do the single line provide you with what is required on the full job because that's basically what we're we tried to do is to provide a Amgen solution for a contractor. Alright. And, yeah, so when someone opens an account with us, it all depends too, like, like, they could be little. Or they could end up being mouse. Right. And someone that's a medium size guy, depending on where so their business may only be Oh, today it's town analysis risk. You know, we did a really good job at this. Six months from now or a year from now their cash flows coming in, they're paying their supplier, they're getting paid by their and you know what, I think we might branch off a little bit and try that little commercial strip mall. Right? So you have to have an idea of how to flow with them and grow with them, and give them whatever it is knowledge wise, or some sort of through either yourself and or through the manufacturers reps so that you can help them grow, if that's what they're designed to do. Right. And in that industry that they choose. And as distributors, okay, you know, we have manufacturers that we represent. And they have their expertise, which were to utilize the salespeople, because we don't know everything, we need to rely on our manufacturers, especially lighting guys these days when it changes like that. Right distribution, not so much. However, with lighting, going from fluorescence to t, you know, t 12, t 85. Now, we're into LEDs. Alright, and you've got selectable so you can get three different types of colors, three different voltages, three different lumens, all in one, you know, in one simple two by four, right. So there's a lot of things that hopefully, as a distributor, we can bring to an electrical contractor to help make their job easier, because at the end of the day, right, people want to deal with people that make their lives easy. Our job is to have, you know, the top items that the client needs on our shelf, right, so that they don't have to put it in their house. Some of these medium sized, there used to be years where people fill their warehouse and their service ice came in, picked up what they wanted and left in the morning. Now a lot of companies have their service guys come into the building, pick up what they need, and then leave. And like our company like we have. So we have our apps like our mobile app is awesome. Like you can go in a guy can go in and make a quick list for themselves. So if there's 10 products that they use every day, they can put it in, they can order online, it comes out onto the system. And then if you know within, you know the next day, the morning, it's ready. They can pick up go to the EECOM get it and off they go right so if you're smaller to mid size, it cuts down on time. coming in and doing the counter Also if you know if it's a foreman that's doing it for their, their apprentices to come pick it up. You don't have that. Usually the mistake is apprentices are learning. Right? So they'll go, oh, yeah, I got that. Oh, but where's this? Isn't this Oh, I didn't realize I needed it. So here's the trip, I gotta go back again. The, the app also can tell you if they're stuck. Like if you're out in the middle of nowhere, and you're stuck and you've got a phone distributors around I need this who's got it? Well, at least it can go on or off and go, Hey, yeah, they have a foreign country or three in Airdrie. I know it's not a wasted trip. Right.

Zack Hartle:

That's the moneymaker right there. Like nobody likes phoning people anymore. And nobody likes going anywhere, when you don't know if it's gonna be on the shelf or not right.

Cindy Cameron:

And right now, and right now we have, and it's no fault of any distributor, it is a supply chain issue. It is it is a wave world, you may go on to a distributor today and get, for instance, number 12, you'll get red and black, oh, sorry, my whites in transit. So then they have to leave and go to that distributor, two blocks away to go get the white and now they're really feel because now they gotta go get the red somewhere else. Because it just, I'm only using that as an example. Right. But those things are real. Those types of things are real, that's costly to an electrical contractor when they have to go three or four times. But there's also the, you know, the the other side of it were larger companies where you have the where they're issuing purchase orders, and there's the intangibles. So you have a Pio that has, you know, four items on it. And all of a sudden, well, this guy has a hearing for $1. And this one has it at 98 cents, and this guy had, I'll create three purchase orders, so that I can save myself, you know, 25 bucks, and then they create themselves X, you know, more purchase orders that have by the time they receive them by time, because then you have to check them off, or they have to write them up. They've extended the $25. Now you've you've got the intention, you don't see it. But there is a cost right in the purchasers there's a cost of paying them out twice. Cost of you know, having somebody driver where they could have just gotten the material one place for the extra $25. Instead, they're spending 75 on intangibles. Right?

Jason Cox:

Well, I mean, it's your time, right? What is your time worth? Right? Is it is it worth, I mean, setting up like you're doubling your POS, so it's gonna be double the administration there to save $25 And then you're gonna have to go from A to B. Right. So sometimes it's it's just, you want the one one stop shop. Right?

Cindy Cameron:

Yeah, you try for that? That is the thing. That's the thing that it would be really, you know, really great to be able to do that. Right now it is, it is more difficult. But you have to think past just the, like the dollars, like I said, I'm only using that as small analogy. Sometimes there's like a lot of dollars involved. So yeah, it makes sense. But sometimes it just, it doesn't you have to sometimes right now change the way that you look at how you used to do business and how you do it today compared to how you did it last year or the year before, right? You have to contractors, even if products that used to be seven to 10 days, maybe over the East performance. Unfortunately, the contractor also does not have that window of time, because people hold on to their, to their contracts. And the window keeps getting shorter for when their end date is. And then the expectation is that oh yeah, we'll have no issue getting that product. Yes, you do. And that line here gets extended. And if contractors aren't careful, they signed deals that if they don't hit that date, cost them money, which is their whole backs. And then they're still responsible for something that they couldn't do in the first place because the timeline wasn't wasn't good enough or right with the expectations. So and also to that and this will be a good one, but I can't wait to see what happens in the next little bit too. With transportation costs with our you know how our gasoline and like oil, diesel, all of it is going up. But there's not as many goods that travel west to east as east to west. So when you're looking at transportation vehicles, like just act We'll trucks and semis that are coming this way. And you've got no load to go back as a transport company, and not in transport. Since what 2018 There's already a driver shortage. Regardless, prior to pandemic, no matter what everybody's prior to the pandemic, there's a shortage of 20,000 drivers. Prior to that, and manufacturers are gonna go well, okay, or transport companies are gonna get, it's gonna cost, you know, more money to go from east to west, because I don't have anything going back. So it's going to cost me twice as much, because since I have nothing east to west, then or West west east, then I'm not going to have just a free truck out there for two, two weeks doing nothing. So that I'm sure something that's might you know, is going to be affecting the cost of goods to here in the next three to six months. It's not just about the shortage of commodities.

Zack Hartle:

And that's definitely something I never thought of. But yeah, you don't want that empty truck driving back. Right? It's pointless.

Cindy Cameron:

Yeah. And trains are effective. But and a lot of delivery time.

Jason Cox:

We're talking about I mean, everyone's hearing the supply chain issue now. I can't remember where I was the other day and in somebody, I think I was in a retail store and the guy stocking shelves mentioned supply chain. What's What's the the dreaded hard to find thing in your industry right now? Like, we hear breakers are hard to come by? What's the what's the hot topic of things that are hard to hard to pick up these days?

Cindy Cameron:

Really, it depends. I guess it depends on what the contractor is asking for I had, I was looking for some RW 90 number for 16 weeks, I was looking for our Wu number for right to 20 weeks. And it could be different from manufacturer to manufacturer. Every manufacturer when you do a single pole breaker, it's one type of residence if it's double pole breakers, it's a different type of residence. So resin is is something that is right now in in short supply. So that's why the breakers are are longer to come out. PVC is an allotments PVC has a resonant wire has resin in it right in the in the nylon. So every so one I am just causes a bunch of different types of products to be to take longer deliveries. And we forget as much as we love our electrical world. We're not the only industry in the world, you have a mechanical industry, you have a car industry that uses steel, right? You have all these other industries that actually use the same products that you do. So you may or we may think that we're like number one on the list. But in actuality, there's a lot of other industries that may use some of these products much more. So they're higher on the list for some of these manufacturers that maybe they don't We don't utilize all the time coming down than us. So that's just reality. But we never think about it like that either. With we have with supply also the chips, electronic chips, but we've been we knew electronic chips are going to be an issue prior to pandemic like they were, they were having issues there. Now it's just harder. And in those chips, a lot of ballasts like on fixtures, you know, some even some of your distribution equipment have electronic chips in them right for on in larger electronic breakers. So things that never used even cross your mind. And it could be just one simple little thing. But you can't get it and you can't send like sometimes you can't send a panel for instance, out because it needs CSA approval on it. So it isn't about just hey, oh, I can send that No, it's the type it needs to be certified before it goes and sometimes they don't allow you to certify them in the province or or take it apart and put it in. So there's a lot of other things that happen even though you don't have that one little part.

Jason Cox:

I never thought we talked about resin today on the podcast but are you seeing a lot of your contractors kind of build up their their stock just in in preparation for these escalating prices?

Cindy Cameron:

No, not really. There's they're sort of like buying as at buying as required and or trying to pre, pre, pre order. I quote, I had an incident where we put something in order last year in September. And we were still working on getting deliveries in December. And this is of the material, right? The client knew ahead of time that there was going to be issues, right? So we just worked through them. And they were able to work. And we worked with the with the manufacturer, so that the product, some of the products that they needed front end, that we were able to get those. And then as the, as they built their building, we were able to bring in other products out along the way. So that a the manufacturer had an idea of what the overall usage would be and what was required. However, we didn't need at all like right at that moment. We needed it. If we can stagger here, here and here. Then that worked also. And the manufacturer, it didn't cost of manufacture anything more for freight didn't cost the client any more to hold the material they were or having to finance it, because we build it as it came out. But by giving the manufacturer that extra amount of time or lead time, then then then that allowed them to do their job more effectively and efficiently also. And I have I've had different things like that happen. I had I had a where we had a huge amount of a product, and the manufacturer didn't have the employees available because of COVID to be able to build the product. He had the material didn't have anyone to put the product together. Right. So we staggered it out. It took I think 16 weeks for us to get everything.

Jason Cox:

One at a time for logistics, right? We got COVID We've got fluctuating gas prices, we got a lack of staffing, right. Resin shortage, resin shortage. You love that when? Well, it's just like you were saying, I mean, you learn something new every day. And a lot of times we take things for granted. Right? And

Cindy Cameron:

well, and I'm like, like I said, it will be interesting. Like I mean, we have all the shorts, we have all that we've been dealing with it we are still dealing with not full manufacturing plants and everything else, right. Even with the COVID there's people that are not going they just don't want to go back to work. Right. Like, and people are leaving the industry. Right and doing something else. And then we have within the industry too. There's, I have contracts looking for journeyman. Oh, you haven't seen or heard an electrical contractor look for journeyman in a very long time. And then wait no wait out like we've had that discussion. Wait with the low because of the the pandemic and the and what has happened? The low of apprentices and moving forward? Because they're for a year and a half, two years? Very unsteady. Like, I'm not sure how that how that's going to form in the next in a little bit. Right? Like you're already having a shortage of like, journeyman. Like, I'm guaranteed we're not gonna have a whole bunch of apprentices here in the next year or two, you could speak to that you guys probably could speak to that more than I can.

Jason Cox:

It's hard to say though, right? I mean, like you said, during that COVID break, or whatever we want to call it, there's people that have just that, that have decided to move in different directions for careers. And so we could, I don't I never like to think of it as a boom, because we were so low down there. Right? But, but I mean, sure we're gonna see the economy start to build up. So there could be there could be changes to our industry for sure.

Zack Hartle:

Neither Jason or I, I mean, I guess I shouldn't speak for him. But I've had the chance to deal a lot with distributors, rather than going into a counter or sometimes emailing an inside sales rep. So to hear about, you know, those partnerships between building businesses and between distributors, it's great to hear right I mean, it's, it's what we want in the industry and that's actually what this podcast is all about just building relationships, building connections and partnerships between everyone involved in the industry, right?

Cindy Cameron:

Well, and you're gonna have to see more of that happening just because of the way the world right now. Right and if we do go into another one of our we have to remember for two and a half or two years to have your very little building was done very well. Maintenance hadn't been done very little upgrade, like, so now all of a sudden you have the backlog of years of work. Also, that has to be done in buildings in in, you know, in doubt in our downtown core here too is like 3030 35 years, probably most of it. Okay. So and you know that, like, there's a maintenance schedule, like after a certain amount of time. It has to be redone. Yeah,

Zack Hartle:

there's lifecycle. Yeah.

Cindy Cameron:

Yeah. So a lot of our core that even though it's at, like the vacancy rate, it still has to be done. Right, because it's end to end of life.

Zack Hartle:

So yeah, I mean, just to wrap things up, Cindy, like, thank you so much for coming on the show. Jason and I both really do appreciate your time.

Cindy Cameron:

Well, and I appreciate that you asked me however, I hope I did. Like I said, I hope I did justice to our, you know, our distributor role. I hope I answered the questions effectively and efficiently. Right, because as a distributor, right, we're like, a conduit or right no pun intended, or a bridge between manufacturers and agents tasked to to contractors and end users.

Zack Hartle:

Thanks for joining us today on what's the word podcast. We really hope you liked this episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe to the show wherever you listen to your podcast. If you haven't had a chance yet, leave us a review on Apple or Spotify to help us get the word out. And most importantly, if you think this show could be valuable to one of your friends in the electrical community, please share it with them. Thanks for coming today. Have yourself a great day. Keep yourself safe out there. And if you can someone else to