Electrical Business

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Electrical community players included in Canadas 50 Best Managed 2009


March 6, 2010
By Anthony Capkun


After opening up their books, operations and management to careful scrutiny, 50 of the country’s leading private organizations have the distinction of being recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for 2009. These companies, spanning every region across the country and an array of industries, have demonstrated business excellence through a rigorous and independent process that evaluates the calibre of their management abilities and practices.

mt_ignore“This is a very prestigious recognition, which really confirms that Standard is in the Best-of-Class amongst a wide range of Canadian businesses,” said David Nathaniel, president and CEO of Standard Products Inc. (IN PHOTO) “We believed this to be the case internally, and so we are thrilled by the result and what it means going forward!”

“Collective vision, shared pride and operational excellence are the key drivers that sustain and propel us forward,” said Tim Horsman, executive vice-president of E.B. Horsman & Son, one of 2009’s winners. “The culture at E.B. Horsman creates a passionate workforce that continually strives to improve customer service, profitability, and employee satisfaction. Our team is dedicated to success, are the very best at what they do and I am simply proud to work with them as we create our future!”


Last year, these 50 Best Managed Companies generated $9.8 billion in combined revenue, had an average revenue increase of 23% and employed over 39,000 Canadians.

“In tougher economic times, great management shines,” said John Hughes, Deloitte partner, private company services, and national leader of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies Program. “One of the most impressive aspects of this year’s award recipients is the commitment by management teams and employees to work in concert to develop innovative ways of tackling their company’s strategic issues in the face of a reset world.”

“As I’ve mentioned in the past, this award is not earned without the complete dedication and involvement of all staff within our organization. From the reps on the floor of our showrooms, to those working the phones in inside sales—from the drivers out on the job site, to the friendly faces at our Express counters—they have all had a hand in being recognized once again,” said Ross Robinson, president of B.A. Robinson Co. Ltd., one of the companies that requalified its 50 Best status.

Here, then, are the 2009 winners from our electrical industry. Congratulations!

B.A. Robinson Co. Ltd. (Winnipeg, Man) – Requalified*
B.A. Robinson is a fully diversified distributor of plumbing, lighting and electrical products to the construction industry and retail home improvement market in Western Canada, operating from over 20 distribution warehouses and showrooms in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwest Ontario. Visit www.barobinson.com.




Cahill Group of Companies (St. John’s, Nfld.)
Established in 1953 as an electrical contracting company, GJ Cahill has evolved into one of the largest multi-disciplinary construction organizations in Atlantic Canada. Visit www.gjcahill.com.

E.B. Horsman & Son (Surrey, B.C.)
E.B. Horsman is an independently owned and operated British Columbia-based distributor of electrical supplies. Its primary customers are contractors, OEMs, industrial end users, institutions and systems integrators. With its head office in Surrey, E.B. Horsman has been in business for 110 years, and has 17 locations and 165 employees throughout the province. Visit www.ebhorsman.com.

First Energy Capital (Calgary, Alta.)
Since its inception in 1993, FirstEnergy Capital Corp. has grown to become a leading investment dealer focused on Canada’s energy sector, including electricity generation and energy technologies. Visit www.firstenergy.com.

Groupe Deschênes Inc. (Montreal, Que.)
The origin of Deschênes Group Inc. dates back to 1940, when François Miville-Deschênes acquired Langelier & Fils, a distribution company of plumbing and heating products. Today, Deschênes Group Inc.’s subsidiaries are active in distributing electrical and industrial supplies, fire protection products, heating controls and related products, and more. Deschênes Group Inc. has eight operational centres, over 90 outlets across Canada, and a workforce of more than 1300 employees. Visit www.groupedeschenes.com.

Ideal Supply Co. Ltd. (Listowel, Ont.) – Requalified*
Founded in 1926, Ideal Supply is a distributor of electrical supplies and NAPA Auto Parts with 25 locations in Ontario. Visit www.idealsupply.com.

JV Driver (Leduc, Alta.)
JV Driver has been providing industrial construction services to the oil & gas, energy, petrochemical, forestry, and mining sectors since 1989. JV Driver self-performs all electrical services, and partners with a select electrical subcontractors who share its corporate philosophies. Visit www.jvdriver.com.

Standard Products Inc. (St. Laurent, Que.)
Standard provides lighting solutions to Canada’s commercial, industrial, and residential markets, and continually seeks out advanced lighting technologies that address market concerns. Standard has a national infrastructure of 16 sales offices and distribution centres, the latter located in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver covering a total of over 175,000 sf. Visit www.standardpro.com.

Tarpon Energy Services (Calgary, Alta.)
Tarpon Energy Services Ltd. is a leading supplier of products and services to the global oil and gas market. Tarpon’s Electric & Controls division is one of the largest electrical and instrumentation contractors in Western Canada, providing a complete service solution from design and engineering to procurement, construction, installation and maintenance. Visit www.tarponenergy.com.




All businesses can benefit from the characteristics and common themes exhibited by this year’s winners.

Best Managed companies are builders
Many of 2009’s winners had completed one or more acquisitions over the past 12 months, or had a significant pipeline of opportunities for acquisitions, joint ventures or structured alliances. A number of these opportunities are global in nature.

Best Managed companies invest in their information systems
This may be counter-intuitive in a soft economy, but Best Managed companies use this period to acquire systems at a reasonable cost, understanding the investment provides better information for decision-making, improved customer service and enhanced visibility of the company’s operation revenues and cost.

Best Managed companies put extra focus on their balance sheets
In light of last year’s credit crisis and the absence of liquidity in the marketplace, Best Managed companies looked to de-leverage balance sheets and renegotiate debt, and worked to ensure the right capital structure was in place.

Best Managed companies plan for succession or business transition
With the aging population, planning for a massive transfer of wealth (including the ownership of a significant number of Canadian private companies), and preparing strategic succession plans emerged as a key theme with this year’s recipients.

Best Managed companies understand relationships are everything
Key activities of management teams involved deepened relationships with all company stakeholders with a focus on customers, talent and business partners.

“[Relationship building] starts with our employees, because unless they are challenged and have the right tools at their disposal, the best laid plans will never materialize,” commented Nathaniel. “From a market perspective, we are investing the majority of our sales resources on demand creation, which entails relationship building with end users, contractors and specifiers. Simultaneously, we are building strategic relationships with distributors who appreciate the value that we provide and are interested in participating with us to drive growth. Last, but certainly not least, are the relationships we continue to build with our manufacturing partners around the world.”

Best Managed companies respond to the volatility of the U.S. dollar head-on
Best Managed companies continue to alleviate the impact of the Canadian dollar by exploring hedging strategies to reduce volatility and protect margins, and to search for customers that do not trade in US currency (i.e. European Union).

Best Managed companies recognize they don’t have all the answers
They realize that they need to look outside their own business, industry and geography to tap into other sources, like the Best Managed Companies network, to search for ideas that could help their companies become even more successful.

Best Managed Companies employ a ‘less for less’ strategy
Instead of losing margins as customers pressured for price reductions, Best Managed companies employed strategies that managed key business metrics and overhead costs to operate a more efficient infrastructure. They reviewed variable costs and worked with vendors to reduce costs, enabling them to protect margin and satisfy customer requests for lower prices, and to build value-based business relationships.

“To be recognized once again with the Best Managed company award demonstrates the depth of pride and commitment throughout our entire organization to the highest standards of professionalism in order to ensure success for our customers, employees and suppliers,” said Ideal Supply Co. president and CEO, Tim MacDonald.