Photo 147342778 © Sasinparaksa | Dreamstime.com
Smart City Dreamstime Xxl 147342778

It′s Time for Electrical Contractors to Reinvent Their Role

Oct. 9, 2020
Pandemic presents opportunity to rethink traditional business models and electrical system designs

Unless you’ve been marooned on a desert island for the past seven months or more, you’re likely aware we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. While this may not seem like the best time for electrical contractors to step out of their comfort zone, Mike Montanari, Schneider Electric vice president, power systems, encouraged attendees to do just that during his Thursday afternoon presentation “Transform Industry Challenges into Profitable Opportunities.”

Montanari began his session by discussing how the pandemic has created more complexities in an ever-evolving industry already rife with complexities, including the skilled labor shortage, the emerging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and a long-standing hesitation to adopt new technologies.

“Our industry has always been slow to change,” he said. “Over the past 70 years, efficiency gains have flattened, and we only have 5% digital penetration. The pandemic presents an opportunity to address this.”

According to Montanari, the future of the electrical industry is data, but learning and hiring for new skill sets in low voltage and the commissioning of integrated systems remains a hurdle for many electrical contractors.

“You have three camps in the [technology] evolution,” he said. “There are those that are already running toward it and trying to understand what role technology can play beyond the concept of a traditional project. Those in the middle know there is something they need to figure out and are working to do that. Then, there is a percentage that want this [technology evolution] to go away. To that group I say, ‘You’re at risk.’”

To help take the pressure off job-site execution and offset labor shortages, Montanari suggested the following:

  • Expand and optimize contractor-facing tools.
  • Develop tools that streamline design, quotation, project execution, and service calls.
  • Design in safety and IIot connectivity.

“Data is not the future of the electrical industry; it’s the now,” he concluded.

About the Author

Stefanie Kure | Content Producer - EC&M

Stefanie Kure is the senior associate editor of EC&M magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and has more than 20 years of experience in the B2B magazine industry. In addition to EC&M, Stefanie has worked on Transmission & Distribution World magazine, Broadcast Engineering magazine, and Power Electronics Technology magazine.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EC&M, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Chapter 9 of the NEC — Part 5

Calculating voltage drop with help from Table 8.

How to Calculate Labor Costs

Most important to accurately estimating labor costs is knowing the approximate hours required for project completion. Learn how to calculate electrical labor cost.

8 Types of Electrical Conduit and Their Uses

Electrical conduit is a tube or raceway used to house and protect electrical wires within a building or structure. From data centers to underground subways to ports and bridges...

Champion Strut Catalog

Champion Fiberglass is the most advanced manufacturing facility of fiberglass conduit, fiberglass bridge drain and fiberglass strut systems in the world. Its well-trained and ...