Chris_Brown@wblight.com So, we may or may not be approaching ILLUMIGEDDON @illumigeddon, or the end of the traditional lighting industry as we have known it. But what if we are approaching it? Not the end of the world, and maybe a good thing for a stodgy old industry. The new business model(s) that will result from the Disruption created by SSL and Smart Lighting will require some dramatic shifts in Lighting Distributor thinking and planning. Those who are up to the challenge of innovating and reinventing their businesses to survive and thrive, have a great base of strengths to build on. The following list is certainly not all-inclusive, but provides an overview of some of the key characteristics of companies that will adapt to the new realities.
LIGHTING DISTRIBUTION STRENGTHS
1. Relationships – manufacturers, manufacturers reps, contractors, specifiers, designers, architects, and END-USER CUSTOMERS
2. Integral part of the manufacturer’s selling, engineering, service and order entry process
3. Knowledgeable, Experienced, Personable Teams
4. Credit/Financial Support/Payment Terms
5. Product Availability: Inventory in Stock/Staging/Special Handling/ Delivery/Return Policies
6. Purchasing power: National Chains or Buying Groups
7. Broad (length and depth) product offerings
8. Electrical, Lighting, Technical and Technological Expertise
9. On-line and In-Person Customer ServiceChris_Brown@wblight.com
10. Competitive pricing thru bid process
11. Discretionary business
12. Value-added services….audits, rebate management, routine maintenance, data collection and analysis etc.
13. Trade Organization Memberships and Benefits (NAED, NAILD, NAW, IESNA, etc.)
14. Marketing / Buying Groups: AD, IMARK
15. Marketing programs / trade shows
16. Local market knowledge – STREET SMARTS
Lighting Distribution has been and is a vital, dynamic, passionate player in the Traditional Lighting Industry business model. Our challenges are to stay relevant to our clients in the age of SSL Disruption, and to become relevant for the new Technology Gorillas and others who come into our industry. Can Disintermediation be made unacceptable and painful to the Disintermediators? Can Lighting Distribution quickly gain the technological expertise needed to compete in the coming era of Smart Solid State Lighting?
LED lamps are quickly becoming commodity products. And while we are nowhere near socket saturation, as the MRO market shrinks, how do we keep Amazon, Alibaba and other Internet Goliaths away from ‘our’ sockets? These aren’t our only or maybe even our most significant challenges. But this is where Captain Sunshine shines with his view of Fortuity, which I share (with some qualifications). More on that to come. Now over to the Captain…..he tells me his next blog will be on the Necessary New Strengths that Lighting Distributors must develop to compete in the Smart Lighting Industry. Stay tuned……