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What is Electrical Wholesale?
Electrical wholesale is basically electrical equipment distribution. This includes all manner of parts from the industry’s leading manufacturers. Generally the core ranges are;
• Cable management
• Data networking
• Switchgear & circuit protection
• Safety & security
• Building controls
• Space & under floor heating
• Tools & fixings
• Test & inspection
• Site works
• Lamps & tube
• Control gear
• Solar PV
Most wholesalers can source any other related product, some now carry out certain levels of site inspection including energy surveys.
Every local town in the UK will have a number of electrical wholesalers, these will be a mixture of independent privately owned to national or even global providers.
One national quotes an impressive 100,000 core lines for next day delivery.
Wholesalers generally also offer recycling services for WEE related goods (for more details visit our waste section) they can recycle lamps, tubes, batteries (alkaline, lithium, zinc, ni-cad & dry lead acid cell) and also recycle any WEE waste, there is normally a small charge for white goods.
Brief background on the industry
The electrical wholesaling industry emerged during the latter part of the 19th Century where the formation of large electrical manufacturers met the requirements of a boom in industrial and engineering production. Electrical wholesalers grew from the need for a local stockist and distributor of these materials and to provide a link from manufacturer to installer.
How many players?
The market can be split into national and independent wholesalers. The national wholesalers include Rexel UK, CEF, Edmundson Electrical and account for a large proportion of the UK market. Independent wholesalers are numbered in the thousands and are spread the length and breadth of the UK.
What is the mix between national and local?
What types of accreditations or membership should a supplier in this industry have?
Membership of the Electrical Distributors Association (EDA) is a fair indication of an electrical wholesaler’s creditability: http://www.eda.org.uk/
ISO9000 Quality Management, ISO14000 Environmental Management, OHAS18000 Health & Safety Management are all requirements of a credible electrical wholesaler as is a robust implementation system to ensure adequate provision of enforcement and communication.
What is a typical level of service?
Most wholesalers offer next day delivery, with some even offering same day if orders are placed by a certain time.
This is totally dependent upon the customer’s requirement. The industry serves a huge variety of different sectors: public authority, small and large electrical contractors, building contractors, the general public, facilities management sector etc.
Generally whatever the customer, they will require their equipment as soon as possible. It is the role of the electrical wholesaler to facilitate that need through whatever means are available.
How can a customer ensure they get value for money?
Various methods are available. A customer will often have in place their own in-house procedures. Additionally, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be provided by the electrical wholesaler which is arranged prior to trading, These help to provide statistical analysis of the services delivered and can therefore define if the supplier is providing value for money.
With wholesaling it is important to look at the unit cost of an item and not to get caught up in discounts from a list price. There are a number of list prices, for example many manufacturers have their own list and often the wholesalers create their own.
You could find wholesaler A gives you 20% off list where as B only offers 15%, However A`s list price is much higher than B`s. Always check down to unit cost. In some areas discounts can be as much as 95%!!
What to look out for in a good provider?
A good electrical wholesaler in addition to all the above will demonstrate a willingness to provide a close collaborative trading relationship. Such a relationship will root out any potential issues and problems before they are allowed to manifest and allow both parties to flourish within their respective sector.
Any other relevant details?
In additional to the above, a credible electrical wholesaler will be able to easily demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, ethics (both towards their attitude to their workers and their suppliers) and a commitment to reducing their impact upon the environment.
Additionally, a company will be able to illustrate their policy towards a preferred supply network where the companies they trade with will reflect the values above.
Companies and their directorship must be able to demonstrate a credible financial history and a clear strategy for their future.
A company must also be able to provide policies regarding their environmental, quality and health & safety strategies, how these policies are facilitated and how this information is communicated amongst their staff.
Also very important is the electrical wholesaler’s commitment to Health & Safety through training, records, reporting, policy and implementation.