Preparing to Win in 2020

I recently read an article discussing economic performance trends through October 2019. The United States added 128,000 jobs when only 85,000 jobs were expected. The unemployment rate is 3.6%, up from 3.5% the month before, and the year-overyear wage growth is more than 3%.

After reading these statistics and enjoying a robust 2019, it appears that we are entering a period of cooling global growth. Importantly, our consumer-driven domestic economy (household spending) is still robust. The economy still faces challenges. Job growth in manufacturing continues to soften.

In talking to many of you at the recent IMARK Electrical Annual Meeting in Orlando, one of our biggest challenges continues to be finding and retaining talent. For other insights from IMARK member executives on economic conditions, check out the feature article on page 44.

What does this all mean for 2020? In my opinion, the overall national outlook will be softening. In northern California, our emphasis will be gaining market share and improving our service points. In other words, business because of the economy will not be nearly as robust as it has been in recent years. However, good companies always find ways to grow during a softening economy. Here are some ideas to prepare for a less robust economy:

  • Now is a good time to begin sales planning with your sales reps. Encourage them to open new accounts and clearly articulate your company’s service capabilities to earn more market share.
  • We are sales and service companies first and foremost. Our operations need to find a way to support the sales effort. Set performance expectations for branch managers that will lead to fewer mistakes and better fill rates for customer shipments.


IMARK preferred suppliers and members worked hard at the recent IMARK Electrical Annual Meeting. One of my top takeaways was the continued improvement and value of our one-on-one sessions with supplier partners. I believe these relationships and the time spent during these sessions can be very profitable for both parties involved. The key to these meetings (and so many others) is holding each other accountable and following through with action items. Are your teams executing well? On behalf of the IMARK Electrical Board, I would like to thank all the attendees for sharing their time and expertise, which made our annual event a success!

Bob PowersIMARK Chairman of the Board