PEW sat down with staff from Switch Electrical Wholesale Limited to learn more about the growth of the company as it hits a milestone birthday.
Food, drinks, raffles and free merchandise – what’s not to love? Switch Electrical Wholesale is getting into the party spirit as it celebrates 10 years in electrical wholesale trade. With a market full of changing technologies and increased safety demands, the wholesaler describes how this confident forward-thinking independent is driving business.
With 45 members of staff spread over eight branches and one central head office bulk store, the company has come a long way from when it opened the doors to its first store in Peterborough where it started trading in 2009. Since then, the company has seen itself grow to include a fleet of vehicles and begin to dip its toe into the world of international export. “It’s busy and very demanding. The customer type demands information quickly, but the business is growing all the time.” Comments Jodie Fawcett, Export Assistant at Switch Electrical. Applying the company personal touch to all its customers, the export business runs out of the Peterborough head office. International customers are as well looked after as the regulars from PE1 branch, Jodie continues: “We know how they specifically work and like things doing. We know how to cater for them individually.”
With a fleet of 15 vans that offer free, nationwide same day delivery, most of which the wholesaler now owns outright, the company has been able to expand its operation across the country. However, Switch Electrical always maintains that great customer service always keeps the customer coming back, no matter how much the company grows. Jodie says: “All customers have their favourite suppliers, but when they know you on a personal level they see you as a friend so they are more inclined to work with you.”
Along with the giving out of free food and drink and prizes*, the wholesaler believes in supporting its customer base as well as its own staff with relevant training events. These are often held on behalf of manufacturers launching new products, with the company providing a local, friendly hub for everyone to get together. This support to the customer extends to the project design service which offers lighting, heating, ventilation & fire schemes completely free of charge.
*10 year anniversary special only!
Part of keeping up with the modern world includes marketing the business on social media platforms. Switch electrical has, in fact, gone one step further by introducing an app for all customers to download, enabling them to order and collect goods on the move. Switch is confident this will prove to be a success, Jodie adds: “The website is continuously being updated and is constantly growing, we are currently working on making it easier for our account customers to access their terms and prices on there. We see this as an ideal platform for us to send notifications to customers quickly and directly so they know about the local events at their local branches.”
Moving with the times also means being up to date with the latest cutting-edge technology. Bradley Moore, Branch Manager in Peterborough, fills us in on the latest tech that is popular right now – with a word of caution as to why they are popular and whether these trends will continue. “We are seeing smart lighting and control being asked for more than anything else. There’s a lot of stuff coming out that can be controlled through your phone or your ipad, which I think everyone likes the sound of, but it’s much more than a trend. Smart tech is the future and it is our job as a modern independent business to inform our customers of what is available. There are some terrific main stream suppliers investing in these tech products and we work hard to be their preferred distributors to promote the brand. Any customers wanting to learn more about Smart tech should contact us for advice.”
The new edition
The 18th edition wiring regulation updates have been a headache for many, with a raft of changes spanning across various different product sectors. Bradley talks of confusion around the update with the wholesaler having to try its best with offering whatever advice it can. “The problem I’ve found with 18th edition is that if five electricians lined up by the counter, and I asked every single one of them: ‘what is the 18th edition?’ – every single one would say a different thing.” This highlights a growing concern in the industry about a lack of knowledge around the new updates, particularly when it comes to the interpretations of the regulations.
With Switch Electrical Wholesale Limited franchise opportunities now available, the company has made more movements towards expanding the ever-growing empire. The award-winning company, which has no plans on slowing down anytime soon, will be hoping its gradual steps forward will go from strength to strength. The wholesaler has certainly set itself up in a strong position for the next 10 years and beyond.