By Anna Guy
ECS Electrical Cable Supply Ltd (ECS) has been awarded Best Managed Company for six consecutive years. Business Elite Canada spoke to Vice President and General Manager Tom Artinian about the secret to the company’s success.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for us, for our team,” says Artinian of the awards. “What [the awards] does, in my opinion, is it makes the management and employees look in the mirror, and challenge themselves to be a good structured company. It’s not just about revenue; it’s the whole structure of a happy, harmonious company.”
So how did ECS get here? A look into the company history is the best place to start. The company was founded in 1984 by Mohammad Mohseni, Founder and Chairman, who, during the course of his other businesses, recognized a gap in the specialty wire and cable distribution chain.
Mohseni started ECS in Vancouver, BC, and quickly expanded to Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, and Global Markets through its Hub in the Dubai Free Zone, becoming the largest independently owned distributor of wire and cable products and solutions in Canada by focusing on specialty markets. By offering a diverse product portfolio, technical application solutions and value-added services, ECS grew by understanding the unique needs of each of its customers.
In 2015, Mohseni started looking for strategic ways to take the company to the next level, specifically to reorganise and build the eastern Canada division. Along with Chief Operating Officer Michael Kidd, Mohseni recruited Artinian for his 20 years of experience in the industry. Part of what made ECS so attractive to Artinian was the company’s best management accolades. “It very much attracted me to move forward with the company,” says Artinian.
ECS is known as a full-service specialty wire and cable company, with an emphasis on ‘specialty’. ECS sells to OEMs (companies building original goods), to plant maintenance environments (factories that make OEMs), and “in a perfect world, to both,” smiles Artinian. Other clients are contractors for infrastructure projects, transit systems, utility substations, and oil and gas companies. ECS’s west coast and east coast divisions are also closely involved in the construction and maintenance of marine vessels and shipyards.
“With Canada being so diverse from coast to coast, it is imperative that ECS is a speciality company, so our team can service the needs of our customers across several platforms,” says Artinian. “With the support and offerings of the hundreds of manufacturers we partner with, ECS have extraordinary strength and support on the wide mix of product lines.”
With such diverse clientele, geographical regions, and client needs, the ECS sales team has to be especially strong—and it is, supporting customers across Canada. Artinian says the sales force is the “number one component” of the business, and they “have to be the best, and they are—the best in offering service, offering product, and finding solutions.”
SPECIALIZED SALES FORCE
The ECS sales team is also incredibly proficient in the nuances of wire & cable applications. What may appear to be very similar cables in almost every regard (think size, conductors, and manufacturer), may have different compounds, which would make a huge difference in the type of environment it is being used.
“Our clients have very specific needs in terms of safety requirements, third party regulations, and specifications, and our sales teams is very well trained in that,” says Artinian. “We spend an enormous amount of time with the factories gaining engineering understanding and quality understanding and it all comes together when their clients are looking for a solution.” This expertise allows ECS’s management team to stock the proper mix of inventory, allowing for most orders to be bought, sold, shipped, and invoiced within a week.
The sales team is “pivotal” to the company, and may undergo some growth in the next few years as ECS expands to Winnipeg and Montreal. “We are constantly looking at growth, whether it be regional territories or personnel,” says Artinian. “As we look at our sales team, however, one thing we are extremely proud of as a company is the tenure of our employees. Our average sales representative has been with us for eight years, and we even have 30-year tenured sales representatives. Some of our talented team members have been on the sales desk servicing their clients for a very long period of time, and I know our clients appreciate that continuity.”
“It goes back to our management. When you build a company on a good employer plan, it creates a better environment, it creates 30-year tenured employees.”