THE FORECAST CALLS FOR PAIN BY CHRIS BROWN, CEO, WIEDENBACH-BROWN, WWW.WBLIGHT.COM - Energy Watch News


THE FORECAST CALLS FOR PAIN BY CHRIS BROWN, CEO, WIEDENBACH-BROWN, WWW.WBLIGHT.COM

How and why SSL, the Internet and Amazon Supply could change everything for Lighting Distribution:

Five years ago, we were in the light bulb business. Today we’re in the semiconductor business. Five years ago, we were dealing with three lamp companies. Today we’re dealing with a dozen or more. Five years ago, no one asked whether Philips, Osram or GE would still be in business in 5 years. Today we get asked that legitimate question about every SSL startup. Five years ago, no one asked about LM79 and LM80 tests, performance warranties, driver failure, flicker, whose chip is being used, future proofed lighting etc. Today, these questions are routine.

 Five years ago seems like ancient history!

Today, I’m thinking about 5 years from now. I’m not a weather forecaster, but I can feel a storm coming. What will Lighting Distribution look like 2, 3 and 5 years from now? How will Wholesale Distribution itself be different? What does Lighting Distribution have to do to stay relevant in our business model? How does Lighting Distribution anticipate, detect and interpret the storm clouds on the horizon? In no particular order, here is a short list of storm clouds to keep any Lighting Distributor awake at night: Amazon Supply and same day delivery – Apple – Google – Cisco and other tech giants in or coming in to the Lighting Business – Disintermediation – IoT – Smart Lighting – Smart Lighting products as OEM components of Smart Systems – socket saturation and MRO business disappearing over time – light as a Service – 50,000 hour LED products – 80,000 hour fluorescents – increasingly desperate competition – lower SSL product pricing – lower margins – death of Brick and Mortar retail – Drones – driverless cars and robot delivery men!

Back to the forecast…..some Lighting Distributors may already be out of business, just don’t know it yet. My suggestion starting today is to stir up some company anxiety, and to urge calm, thoughtful conversations on the ‘what if’s’ about my incomplete list above. If it doesn’t already exist, it’s time to create a culture of collaboration and innovation ( see www.unleashwd.com ), deliberately evolve away from the logistics focus of traditional distribution, and to concentrate on bringing valuable lighting and energy solutions, not just products, to clients. Lighting Distribution has its own climate change coming. It’s critical to rethink our business models and evolve to the next iteration of Lighting Distribution. And always remember that with great threats come great opportunities. Post your comments here……..or you can email Chris Brown Chris_Brown@wblight.com directly if you want to vent too…

 

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7 comments on “THE FORECAST CALLS FOR PAIN BY CHRIS BROWN, CEO, WIEDENBACH-BROWN, WWW.WBLIGHT.COM

  1. Ross Reida says:

    Not to mention the advent of commercial lighting leasing programs and LAAS contracts (lighting as a service) entering the space…

  2. James says:

    Chris,
    That is the best article on the state of the Lighting Industry that I have ever read. It truly needed to be voiced out in the open. The stuck antiquated cog in the machine needs an overhaul.

  3. David says:

    Out of the box and ahead of the curve as always. Question: How do you create anxiety and calm at the same time?

  4. ANOM0331 says:

    The same way you create waves and not a tsunami…..

  5. Guy Blissett says:

    Great article Chris. Agree wholeheartedly that wholesale distribution is at a true inflection point (indeed argued as such in the last Facing the Forces of Change report from NAW and referenced many of the same factors). While many are overwhelmed by the number and complexity of the change… I do see innovative distributors harnessing the forces for their advantage. For example, some are leveraging the operational transparency created via (ERP) + (Supply Chain applications) + (Analytics) to prove their value to customers and suppliers… backed up by facts and figures (we saved you $x this quarter by our a, b, and c services). Others are leveraging (Mobile) + (eCommerce) + (ERP) + (Marketing) to enable new go to market channels, enhance customer service (including via self-service), and to access new markets. A growing number are also taking a hard look at their organization structures, supply chains, and capabilities to rethink the business (do I really need all those branches? how can I enable my sales force to do more consultative selling? can I reduce inventory and improve fill rates?). Look forward to continuing this important converation

  6. George says:

    Solid article and great insight. I wonder if distribution will embrace, reject or hide from what is coming.

  7. Chatlit says:

    Timely article.Business attitude needs change. Distributors with Tech orientation will survive.Especially if they look at Emerging Markets and volumes promise they hold. Besides fresh look at Luminaire designs taking topgraphical advantages of LEDs required. Once the performance standards are in place and understood by specifiers the supplier place will be lot smaller.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "THE FORECAST CALLS FOR PAIN BY CHRIS BROWN, CEO, WIEDENBACH-BROWN, WWW.WBLIGHT.COM"
  1. […] http://energywatchnews.com/forecast-calls-pain-chris-brown-ceo-wiedenbach-brown-www-wblight-com/#com… THE FORECAST CALLS FOR PAIN http://energywatchnews.com/forecast-calls-pain-chris-brown-ceo-wiedenbach-brown-www-wblight-com/ How and why SSL, the Internet and Amazon Supply could change everything for Lighting Distribution: Five years ago, we were in the light bulb business. Today we’re in the semiconductor business……… Five years ago seems like ancient history! Today, I’m thinking about 5 years from now. I’m not a weather forecaster, but I can feel a storm coming. What will Lighting Distribution look like 2, 3 and 5 years from now? How will Wholesale Distribution itself be different? What does Lighting Distribution have to do to stay relevant…… […]

  2. […] lighting business! Since my original brief “Forecast Calls for Pain” posted last summer at http://energywatchnews.com/forecast-calls-pain-chris-brown-ceo-wiedenbach-brown-www-wblight-com/ Philips, Samsung and Siemens announced they are leaving the lighting business. What do they know […]

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