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Get A Grip On Lighting: Response to Reps

Earlier this week, lightED posted the Get A Grip On Lighting episode titled “Playing Rough With The Reps” where hosts Michael Colligan and Greg Ehrich discussed their relationships with lighting manufacturer’s reps.

After watching, one rep sent the Get A Grip On Lighting guys an email in response. Colligan and Ehrich took the time to address that email.

Greg Ehrich, LC is the former President of the National Association of Innovative Lighting Distributors (NAILD) and owner of Premier Lighting, a progressive lighting distributorship.

Michael Colligan is an entrepreneur and inventor. He’s a subject matter expert in commercial and industrial lighting supply, lighting retrofits, and finding recycling streams for hard-to-recycle waste.

The Get A Grip On Lighting podcast on lightED is sponsored by Keystone Technologies.

If you want to watch more Get A Grip On Lighting podcasts, you can go to www.getagriponlighting.com.

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Discussion (5 comments)

    Robert D Kruger August 6, 2020 / 12:01 pm

    I just listened to your comments on Get A Grip On Lighting: Response to Reps. I can see the bias that you have is mostly driven by bad experience with the reps that you work with. Having been in lighting manufacturing, sales and specification for 50 years I really wonder why there is any sort of battle. I think I understand, but I have a couple questions. Why do factories get into contracts with lighting agencies? Reps as you call them are put under contract for a specific purpose. That is to represent that company. It may not be in your best interest, but the company wants someone to work with getting their lighting specified and purchased. You understand that and I was mostly offended by the comment that “you do not want reps calling on YOUR customer”. Really? What makes them YOUR customer? Have you worked with them too see that they get exactly what they signed a contract to supply? Have you sat in meetings with the design team trying to decide what the best thing for that project would be? You also seemed amazed that the agency that submitted the email you were reading had 108 lines. I would suggest that with over manufacturers looking for some sort of representation, it is becoming quite evident that this is the norm. I really liked the reference to the commission paid by the manufacturer to their agency as TAX. That really shows the ignorance that you have regarding this issue. For you it is called profit. Right? So do you tell everyone what you charge in addition to the price you pay? Why is it your right to know what an agency makes.
    In todays lighting industry we now have way too many people trying to sell lighting fixtures, lamps, controls and every other device that has anything to do with lighting. Lighting agencies make nothing unless something the represent gets purchased. They basically spend all their time and expense prior to the creation of an invoice to you, the distributor. They are not hired and paid a salary or any other means of compensation until you finally pay the manufacturer for the goods.
    The other thing you were griping about is not getting information fast enough from the agency so you want to call the factory direct. There is a reason that the factories ask, and sometimes insist that distributors do not call direct. It is called manpower. As the lighting world changed, everyone decided that now that we have the internet, information about every aspect of a production order should be able to be given immediately. You must understand that the manufacturer has the same problem that you do. Sometimes, they really don’t know when something will arrive.
    I guess I could go on and on, but I must tell you that I found your comments uninformed and very biased toward your profit and business. Maybe you should seriously think about the fact that you are being supported by Keystone! Why do you think they pay money to support your show?
    I doubt you will discuss this further on your show or respond to these comments, but I just felt that you should hear from the other side.

      Host of the show August 6, 2020 / 4:11 pm

      Thank you for the comments. We are looking to interview someone from the other side. Maybe a panel discussion to settle things down and provide perspective. If you are interested contact us through getagripstudios.com

    Dave Jockenhoefer August 6, 2020 / 2:09 pm

    Being in the rep or factory rep biz for over 48 years I think that distributors want to control their own destiny and so do the reps. That is the rub. However, where there are
    Solid relationships that friction subsides and it works well if they each respect the others turf. When you spec a job and the distributor wants to take all the money out of it…..it hurts financially. In order to operate a top notch rep firm the break even is about 12% (it might vary in other markets) . The distributors have a lot of back end deals with manufacturers and like to use their special pricing to go lower if the products on the job are the same. Knowing the distributors also have to make decent margins working together to keep as much profit in the job works for both. If we fight over margins then it leaves some bitterness for both parties. Respect and compromise usually win the day for each party. Many times a distributor brings the rep in and then it’s the distributor who controls the margins. Getting the order together heals a lot of wounds. Empathy and civility help all involved reach workable relationships. My 2 cents.

    Dave Miller September 3, 2020 / 9:52 am

    Good rebuttal from both!
    As a former executive with GE Lighting, National Act. Director for Cooper Ltg., Dist. Ltg. manager and now a Ltg. rep……I think the comments from Robert & Dave are very accurate. Also, would think your sponsor Keystone, who uses reps, would have some thoughts on this subject?

      Host of the show September 4, 2020 / 7:35 am

      As mentioned earlier, we welcome debate. Two options 1. You could debate with the hosts. Or 2. Two reps could discuss the issue and we will post it. We will handle the recording and everything.

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