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Doing well and getting even better • EFC Update, D&S Spring 2017

June 21, 2017 | By Rick McCarten

Rick McCarten is vice-president, Operations, with Electro-Federation Canada.

June 21, 2017 – Electro-Federation Canada has changed over the years. We dropped our “council” structure in favour of a more uniform, cohesive group representing the main industry channel of manufacturers, distributors and reps of electrical/electronic products. With that in mind, our National Advisory Council continues to address how best to offer value to the industry.

NAC is an active committee within EFC whose role is to provide direction on the programs and events we provide. In a sense, it monitors the value we bring to members. To this end, NAC evolved into a hub-and-spoke model, overseeing the committees that help run everything, including (in no particular order):

• Annual research projects and statistical programs
• Young Professional Network and scholarship program
• Marketing and awards programs, and membership
• Annual conference and golf
• Canadian Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association and CEMRA Manufacturers’ Group
• E-commerce and EPAC
• Workforce development, HR programs and job postings
• Habitat for Humanity, our charity of choice

EFC additionally has 10 Product Section committees, ranging from lighting, motors and generators to electric heat and transformers. We also have regional committees covering parts of Canada.


Continuing to adapt the NAC
Bringing EFC committees under one strategic direction is certainly proving effective; it aligns the groups, prevents overlap and allows for synergy within task forces. The next step is to better coordinate with our regions, with the goal of identifying what EFC can do to help them and what they, in turn, do very well, and can share with the rest of us.

We are adding members from all of our regions to NAC, asking them to participate in building strategy, and make decisions as to how we should accomplish our value tasks. When you think of it, it only makes sense to have everyone across this diverse country providing their input to the arm of EFC that directs programming. We will continue reaching out for feedback—not only to our regions, but also to the provincial associations in which our members are heavily involved.

If we can improve the industry and the people it involves, then we will have done our job as an association.

NAC: Changing the industry
Through the work of its committees, NAC’s mission is to make changes to the industry… changes that address the circumstances in which we find ourselves, such as:

1. Knowledge: This is about bringing new ideas, new awareness to members and their employees. It involves things such as our research projects, educational programs, statistical collection and keynote speakers. It’s about recognizing change and bringing it to the table.

2. Engagement: This is a fundamental piece of the member benefit puzzle, yet is often invisible. We build our committees and regions to not only bring insight to the collective, but to help each committee member engage with one another. A good example of this is our Research Committee; its members learn about research techniques and gain an in-depth understanding of the research topic itself. Another example is the YPN, whose core purpose is to engage the under-40s in our industry.

3. Change: Our industry is in flux, and we must adapt to this diverse world of evolving channels, changing product mixes, new players and systems.

4. Image: We must not only consider how we and our partners view ourselves, but how we are viewed by others. We want to encourage young people to enter our industry, learn about the opportunities and build themselves rewarding careers.

This year’s research project points to some of those challenges. We will share what we’ve learned, not only at the annual conference, but all over Canada, building on synergies with our ad hoc and region committee structure.

EFC is undergoing many changes, as is the electrical market as a whole but—with ongoing support from our members—we are well-positioned to become an even stronger association.

Rick McCarten is vice-president, Operations, with Electro-Federation Canada. Visit www.electrofed.com. This column originally appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Distribution & Supply.

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