Our ‘Wholesaler of the Month’ for October 2023 is Jamie Scott of Electrical Lighting Supplies Ltd. (ELS) Electrical in Kent.
With 3 branches and a wealth of wholesaling experience amongst its staff, ELS is a trusted, local partner to electricians, architects and other customers in Kent for their electrical projects.
Having been in a leading role with ELS (almost) since its founding, Jamie Scott has been responsible for steering a wholesaler that offers unrivalled knowledge, responsive customer service, and an exceptional quality of stock.
We were delighted to catch up with Jamie to learn more about his history with ELS, as well as the changes he has seen in his 25+ years of wholesaling.
Name: Jamie Scott
Position: Managing Director
Wholesaler: ELS Electrical Lighting Supplies
Jamie, could you tell me more about your role at ELS?
I’m the Managing Director at ELS, but I have been in a management role here since day one.
I started working with ELS in 2008 at our only branch in Sevenoaks. We opened our Sittingbourne branch in 2010, and we opened our Maidstone branch in 2017. Now, I work closely with the branch managers on a day-to-day basis.
I oversee much of the behind-the-scenes activity, such as finances, recruitment, health and safety and managing the commercial terms.
Did you have a background in wholesaling when you joined?
I did. I have been in wholesaling since I was 16, straight out of school.
I have worked “on the tools” on a couple of occasions over the years, but I always came back. I have been wholesaling for over 25 years, starting in 1996, and I still enjoy the job greatly.
Why do you enjoy wholesaling so much?
It’s a vast and varied role. I particularly enjoy sales, but as ELS has grown, I’ve grown into a role where I’m steering the ship. I still have a very close relationship with the two founding partners, for whom I have worked for a long time.
We have restructured the company, but we continue to bounce ideas off one another to develop a strategy for our growth and performance.
Frankly, I enjoy almost everything about my work.
With over 25+ years of experience, what changes have you seen in wholesaling throughout your time?
Two things have struck me.
The first is seeing how much LED lighting technology has progressed since its introduction.
The second is the internet, and the challenges that that has presented for wholesalers.
Why has the internet been such a challenge for wholesalers?
Internet prices started a form of ‘race to the bottom’ culture, where consumers will see a low price, and that will be all that matters. They might not fully understand the value that a wholesaler can bring to them.
Wholesalers can’t control the price of a product on the market (the market itself does that), but we can control our quality of service, and we are unrivalled at that at ELS.
This means not only do we offer early deliveries and promptly replace faulty products, but we also have enough industry knowledge that we can advise on the suitability and compatibility of products for our customers’ projects.
That comes from years of experience, and you don’t get that by looking at a catalogue.
Is that how ELS has navigated the competitive wholesale market?
It has been a combination of that commitment to service, and our work with suppliers to find the best possible rates. We try and understand what makes their products better than a cheap alternative and communicate that value to customers.
A Zano dimmer is a great example of that. The prices are competitive, but with Zano, you also know that you won’t have to answer a call from a customer whose module is buzzing.
You can sell a product like a Zano dimmer with the confidence that it will be the right solution.
When working with suppliers, has your AWEBB membership helped you?
Absolutely, the commercial power that they have to negotiate with suppliers lets members like us be competitive. If we weren’t in such a progressive buying group, the landscape would be very different.
That being said, it’s not just the commercial benefits. We have the support of Mark Lambert and his team, development opportunities through the lead training academy, and events such as the AGM, where we can sit with other suppliers and wholesalers to discuss business.
You can’t quantify the value that that puts into your business.
Moving on to LEDs, how exactly have you seen LED technology change over time?
Looking back on when I first started, we have much more confidence today in the quality of LED lamps and dimmers.
That’s because LED performance has developed so much over the years, and the price has become a lot more accessible.
It’s also great to see how output has improved, and the industry has played its part in bringing CO2 emissions down as much as possible.
What is it about Zano in particular that has led you to stock it?
One of the biggest motivators was the passion they have for their products – that really came through when I met Jenny (Sales Director at Zano) at the AWEBB AGM.
I had used Zano before, and knew it was a good product, but I was so reassured to know that we can stock a reliable, high-quality product that has been rigorously tested.
Having the opportunity to receive training from Zano also means my staff will be more comfortable when communicating its benefits to customers.
Overall, I’m looking forward to it being our #1 dimmer module.
We would like to thank Jamie for his time and congratulate ELS for being our Wholesaler of the Month.
Want to feature in our next Wholesaler Spotlight? Be sure to give our team a call on 0345 519 5858 or drop us a message on socials. And, for any order enquiries, either drop us a call or send an email to email@example.com