July/August 2014 / INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTION 41 www.inddist.com
Think Lighting Systems, Not Bulbs
expensive – experience.
Distributors need to clearly outline how important it is to customers to make the switch. Some manufacturers need to upgrade
in order to hang onto current supplier contracts — their customers are demanding that the companies they work for be energy
efficient and have a low-consumption footprint. They can also talk
with customers about the options they have to eliminate some of
For instance, Einerson’s company makes a direct replacement
Make It Worth It
LED bulb for existing metal halide fixtures — meaning the down-
time in a facility is minimal.
“Distributors looking to create a value-added opportunity for their customers ought
to provide them with an accurate picture
of how purchasing the distributor’s product
will benefit the customer in the long run,”
In addition to detailing the savings a
customer can receive on the product itself,
distributors should consider offering energy
audits, making sure to discuss not only the
immediate cost savings in replacing bulbs or
fixtures, but also the total cost of ownership
– both in product and in energy savings –
that the customer can expect in the future.
“The distribution industry exists because
customers do not have the ability and
time to research all options available in the market,” says Baker.
Distributors can increase their value to the customer by becoming lighting experts and having all the answers a facility needs in
order to make the decision on whether to replace bulbs or entire
“Developing the knowledge base necessary to offer a consultative sales experience, rather than just acting as an order taker/
manufacturing go-between will certainly add value,” says Semancik.
If a distributor can accurately represent the overall cost savings
– sometimes it is as much as 50-70 percent – and benefits of a big
lighting switch, they will be recognized as an invaluable industry
There is an immense opportunity for a distributor to become the distributor of choice when it comes to lighting products. “People need to pay attention to lighting, because it is
changing,” says John Einerson, President of OEO Lighting.
In a segment where change has been slow or incremental, the
arrival of LEDs is a major shake-up, and one in which distributors
can play a major role by educating their customers on the opportunity for complete lighting systems instead of just a few replacement bulbs here or there.
“Distributors can help their customers look beyond just the
amount of light provided to consider
additional factors such as battery life, true
life cost of operation, safety benefits, and
other competitive advantages,” says Max
Baker, CEO of Illumagear. Making sure your
customers are aware of all the options is an
excellent opportunity for the distributor in
Rob Bresnahan, President of Larson Elec-
Make It Easy
tronics, echoes this idea and adds efficiency
to the equation. “Distributors looking to
remain relevant should put an emphasis on
intelligent lighting systems,” he says. “LED
lighting systems can now be programmed
with occupancy signals, which power the
lights upon specific signals, such as people
entering or exiting a room.”
Additionally, says Jon Semancik, Product
Manager at Ericson Manufacturing, “The
clearest trend in the lighting segment is the conversion from tradi-
tional lighting technology to LED solutions.”
The idea of swapping out entire lighting systems is good, in
theory, but customers are going to want to know what the total
inconvenience to them will be in doing so.
“Companies want to implement something that is the least
disruptive to their operation,” says Einerson.
Sometimes, this disruption looks like expensive electricians tying
up whole manufacturing floors as they swap out fixture after
fixture. Sometimes, it is as simple as how much space the fixtures
occupy on the ceiling, wall, and in their replacement bulbs sitting
in storage. While the advancements in LEDs are making them
smaller and smaller, making the switch can be a harrowing – and
Distributors have the valuable opportunity to offer their customers complete lighting systems.
“People need to pay attention to
lighting, because it is changing.”
— John Einerson, OEO Lighting