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Tap Into Distributors' Construction Tech Resources

Oct. 1, 2023
Mike Carroll of Graybar outlines some of the tech services now available from electrical distributors on day 2 of NECA 2023.

As electrical contractors battle worker shortages and step up their efforts to streamline their product installation methods, they should tap into the construction tech resources of one of their industry partners – electrical distributors.

In his presentation at NECA 2023, “Leaning on Your Distributors for Construction Technology,” Mike Carroll, Graybar’s director of business development, outlined some of the tech services now available from electrical distributors. These services include assistance with integrating BIM (Building Information Modeling) and digital twins into their jobs; providing prefabricated products, advanced software and project management technology; and energy management and control systems.

“These are important to electrical contractors because of efficiency, cost savings, and improved project outcomes,” he says.

Carroll says even though most electrical contractors are smaller companies, they should still learn which services their distributors offer that can help make them operate more efficiently. It may be something as simple as coming up with a better way to locate product deliveries on the jobsite, or having groups of products for the same application delivered as a “kit,” with its own individual SKU (stock-keeping unit) so it's easier to track on the computer. Any improvement in the flow of products to the job-site takes out another “pinch point” in the supply chain and can help a contractor make a bit more money on a job.

Carroll is particularly excited about the potential of digital twins on the jobsite and new software technologies that help track some larger products like switchgear through the manufacturing process. According to Matterport, “A digital twin is used in construction projects to create exact replicas of real-world spaces. These 3D models allow construction teams to interact virtually with the physical property during the design and planning stages.”

A post at www.matterport.com says digital twins help electrical contractors and others working on the job-site in the following ways:

  • Faster and easier collaboration among project stakeholders
  • Increased productivity
  • More efficient workflows between contractors and trades
  • Reduction of issues and RFI’s 

Carroll said as tools like digital twins and BIM become more common, electrical contractors will need to ask themselves which of their electrical distributors can help them use these and other productivity tools that become available.

About the Author

Jim Lucy | Editor-in-Chief, Electrical Wholesaling & Electrical Marketing

Over the past 40-plus years, hundreds of Jim’s articles have been published in Electrical Wholesaling, Electrical Marketing newsletter and Electrical Construction & Maintenance magazine on topics such as electric vehicles, solar and wind development, energy-efficient lighting and local market economics. In addition to his published work, Jim regularly gives presentations on these topics to C-suite executives, industry groups and investment analysts.

He launched a new subscription-based data product for Electrical Marketing that offers electrical sales potential estimates and related market data for more than 300 metropolitan areas. In 1999, he published his first book, “The Electrical Marketer’s Survival Guide” for electrical industry executives looking for an overview of key market trends.

While managing Electrical Wholesaling’s editorial operations, Jim and the publication’s staff won several Jesse H. Neal awards for editorial excellence, the highest honor in the business press, and numerous national and regional awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors. He has a master’s degree in communications and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Glassboro State College, Glassboro, N.J. (now Rowan University) and studied electrical design at New York University and graphic design at the School for Visual Arts.

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