Our ‘Wholesaler of the Month’ for September 2023 is LAMPS (Long Crendon).
As a leading, independent electrical wholesaler for over 15 years, LAMPS is well-known across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire for its customer-centric focus, competitive pricing and a diverse, well-stocked range of products.
LAMPS founding branch is located at Long Crendon, and has since opened a further 5 branches, as well as an interactive ‘Lighting and Electrical Showroom’.
We talked to Simon Abraham, LAMPS’ Central Purchasing Manager at Long Crendon, to find out what he has learned from over 22 years of wholesaling.
Name: Simon Abraham
Position: Central Purchasing Manager
Simon, can you tell us more about your role at LAMPS?
In name, I’m LAMPS’ Central Purchasing Manager – and whilst I do what you might expect in that role, such as bulk purchasing, my work is very varied in the Long Crendon branch, which keeps it interesting.
You can often find me taking on about 4 or 5 different roles, be that managing staff or interacting with customers at the trade counter and stocking shelves.
Why did you join LAMPs?
I was a manager at LAMPs Long Crendon for roughly 12 years, and I started here after I had worked as a manager at a much larger wholesaler for 10 years before that.
I joined LAMPS because I became friends with my manager at my previous wholesaler – his name was Jason. When he left, he founded LAMPS, and not long after, he asked me to join him.
I initially declined, but he was persistent, and I eventually came round to the idea of working with a closer-knit, independent wholesaler, and it felt like the right time for a new challenge.
Do you feel that LAMPs still has that close-knit feel, even as you are growing?
Certainly, even as the company has grown, I still work very closely with the directors.
It’s a family-run business, and as I’ve also said, I’ve had the chance to do several different roles here, which has kept the work very interesting.
Do you feel this has a benefit for your customers, too?
I would say so, but I think from their standpoint, there are two important things we can offer customers.
The first is the knowledge and expertise we have. The second is that they can trust us to do something when they ask us to.
To my mind, even in a world where online buying is so prolific, people prefer buying from people.
Would you say that these have helped you navigate the competitive wholesale market?
It has, although we’re not naive about how important price is to customers, which online buying has made customers very savvy to.
Don’t mistake me, many customers will go out of their way to purchase with a local wholesaler, but they will also go into a branch quoting a price they have seen online, which wholesalers have to adapt to.
What independent wholesalers can do is be flexible, be reliable with stock, and provide expertise that customers can’t get elsewhere.
We also have a lot of support from the AWEBB buying group, which gives us access to stock of very high-quality, which gives us and our customers confidence in what we sell to them.
You have worked in wholesaling for over 22 years – what have you seen change in that time?
Broadly speaking, I’ve seen three major changes.
The first is the shift in the customer-wholesaler relationship. Decades ago, wholesalers were able to charge more because consumers had less choice. Now, they have to adapt to a much more competitive market with the internet and independent competitors.
The second is more recent, with how careful customers are being to protect their cash flow. Specifically, I’m noticing more customers buying just what they need for a project (such as cable or installation tape) and returning what they don’t use.
Lastly, I have to mention LED – that shift has been seismic, even among all the other advancements we have seen in electrical technology.
What have you found most exciting about LED technology?
I’m actually most excited by the fact that LED technology is being perfected, rather than rapidly developed.
This is because, just a few years ago, you would see many similar LED products emerge, only for them to become obsolete because better chips or fittings were being developed – this was particularly the case with external floodlights and downlights.
We now have a much more stable situation, which gives customers much more confidence in the LED lamps and fittings that they purchase.
Would you say Zano has been consistent in that context of rapid change?
Absolutely – it has been a consistently high performer since those early days.
It’s a credit to Zano that even those people who have less experience fitting dimmers can do so easily – even if they aren’t familiar with the minimum/maximum settings at first.
We stock various LED dimmers, but I can’t remember the last time I received a return of a Zano dimmer.
Lastly, can you think of a situation where Zano has helped ‘save the day’ for a customer?
I can think of two. On the first occasion, one customer wanted to dim a single room in a home from multiple points, which they were able to do with the ZSMARTLED.
Another was working with an MK Logic Grid – they wanted a grid dimmer that they could use, and the ZGRIDLED+ had the adaptor and capability to do it.
We’d like to thank Simon for his time and congratulate LAMPS for being our Wholesaler of the Month.
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