Les Johnson, VP & CIO, North Coast Electric

  • 13 Sep 2013
  • idw

A little bit about Les

I’ve been at North Coast for over 15 years, starting out as an IT Manager leading technology initiatives at the company. I’ve been involved with IDEA since the early days and worked on the initial concept for the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW). I’m currently a member of IDEA’s Innovation Advisory Council where I collaborate with other distributors and manufacturers on future technology enhancements for the IDW.

Why he chose the IDW Web Storefront Tool 

We chose the IDW Web Storefront Tool because it uniquely prepopulates our website with product information straight from the IDW, reducing the time and effort spent aggregating the right content for our site. The tool enables us to reuse the same product data to publish customer-specific catalogs and create specialized websites for our lighting division as well. 

Adopting the tool was more than just a paint job; its ability to integrate with our business system is instrumental in connecting us directly to customers. The robust backend enables us to provide custom content and features our customers want on our websites. Plus, the flexibility of the IDW Web Storefront Tool and IDEA’s ability to customize at a reasonable price helps us expand our capabilities so we can quickly react to new business opportunities. This, in addition to IDEA’s dedication to the electrical channel, is a major value-add for us.

Strengthening partnerships with customers

Technology is a partnership tool. If we handle a process electronically, then we’re not only saving our time, but our customer’s time as well. We were asked to look into eCommerce over a decade ago by a handful of forward-thinking customers, so our efforts have been driven by our customers from the start. They are our #1 source for guidance so we wanted to make sure they were happy with the new web storefront before we went live. During our beta testing phase, we received a lot of positive feedback from our customers on the improved search capabilities and order history functions. They’re excited and want even more! I spoke with a customer about the development of our accompanying mobile app and its ability to place orders from the field. His response? “It’ll be great when you have that available. I can’t wait to get it in the hands of each and every one of my employees.”