How do electrical control panel builders drive digital innovation and establish new partnerships to expand their work? Learn how UK-based Hallson Ltd accomplished that using Exchange.
Panel builders are responsible for the construction of electric control panels in buildings and homes. While electric control panels are stalwartly designed to operate for decades, the panel builder business is rapidly changing to meet end users’ modern demands and evolving regulatory requirements.
In a fast changing world, customers expect speedy responses. With the core business imperatives of achieving efficiency and decarbonization goals, customers demand greater energy efficiency and control. Additionally, dramatic industry shifts generated by the adoption of digital, connected technologies create opportunities for panel builders to embrace innovation.
Empowering electrical control panel builders
How can panel builders take on new challenges while maximizing business value? For Hallson Ltd., a designer and manufacturer of low voltage switchgear since 1995, the answer lies in the partnerships that foster growth, collaborative innovation, and trust.
Pillar #1: Productivity. There is imperative to be more productive and do more in less time. Using the power of community forums like the Power Distribution and Digital Community on the Exchange platform, Hallson gets feedback beyond their typical network to shorten the time to get answers. A step beyond, the company can see real-world examples of how other solutions providers solved customer problems.
Pillar #2: Visibility. Markets are competitive, so the opportunity for panel builders to showcase their expertise, successes, or customers to a vast network can provide an edge in the market and maximizes their business opportunities. Peter Hall, Company Director of Hallson, regularly shares his insights on business and technology trends that go beyond what panel builders typically do in buildings and facilities – for example, electrical vehicle charging stations technology. This helps position Hallson as a leader in their space.
Pillar #3: Innovation. For companies that fall behind, it will be difficult to catch up with the fast pace of innovation. A strategy to stay on par is to know people already undergoing a transformation to minimize mistakes in adopting innovation. Hallson actively uses Schneider Electric Exchange to find answers, inform others of innovation, and connect with early adopters.
Why panel builders need digital expertise
From panel building basics to the specifics of electrical control panel wiring, panel builders must stay abreast of industry innovations in order to help building owners and facility managers conform to specifications and regulations.
But according to Hall, panel builders are expected to offer more than just electrical control panel equipment. They also need to expand their technical skills and digital expertise to convince building owners and facility managers on the importance of adopting digital technologies to achieve efficiency and meet decarbonization goals.
Schneider Electric Exchange provides a platform for panel builders to acquire the technical skills and knowledge to help build the business case for electrical control panel innovation.
Benefits of a community for panel builders
Hallson’s experience with Exchange began when the pandemic hit. The company realized it needed a consistent flow of inquiries to continue its work amid the shutdown. Hall looked to platforms, such as Schneider Electric Exchange, where he saw the opportunity to increase exposure to the company’s offerings. Within a few weeks, they generated new inquiries and customers.
Access to Schneider’s technical experts was another advantage. Hall noticed the speed of technical assistance. “With Exchange a global response can come within hours on the same day from both Schneider personnel and from fellow Schneider Electric Exchange users globally,” he says.
Technical help from subject matter experts can help meet customer needs, Hall notes. He highlights how Schneider’s technical experts in France supported his customer regarding an application for EcoStruxure™ Facility Expert - Smart Power
Solving a customer problem
Hallson’s customer has a site with four substations. Monitoring of the substations was relatively simple. But the customer was looking to receive notifications when other equipment operates.
Access to specialist engineers on ACB I/O units, EcoStruxure™ Facility Expert - Smart Power, and Acti9 Powertag helped Hallson bring it all together, quickly, and the company identified multiple solutions for the customer.
The end result: Hallson recently started updating the infrastructure of one of the UK’s largest stately homes. “At present, we have secured £150,000 worth of work,” Hall says.
The next step in the customer journey involves plans to install new low voltage outdoor pillars in a new substation, potential monitoring of 125 MCCB & MCB DB’s, and monitoring of a water turbine, standby generator, and the high voltage system as the generator voltage is stepped up to supply the estate with essential, reliable power.
“We were able to interact with experts across Schneider in different countries much faster, and the quick response from the teams allowed us to meet the customers’ expectations,” Hall says.
The future of electrical control panels
Manufacturers may simply want to build a panel or add metering if that is what their customers are asking them to do. For Hall, the future is going to be more than that. The whole digital transformation process is opening up more opportunities than simply manufacturing a switchboard. Access to digitally-focused electrical panel tools is key.
He explains that customers are increasingly looking to access information from their systems. This is why he thinks that the future of electrical control panels will bring more connectivity and information. Innovation will also result in simpler installation and setup and shorter lead and installation times.
Today, customers look to Hallson as a trusted guide in their journey to digital transformation rather than simply a manufacturer and supplier of electrical control panels.
The path for panel builders to foster trusted partnerships for collaborative innovation also involves preparing for the digital future. This means embracing three key pillars: productivity, visibility, and innovation. As part of the process, panel builders can benefit from access to Schneider Electric Exchange’s marketplace and digital community – a worldwide network of knowledgeable industry professionals.
This new relationship, based on the collaboration between all the stakeholders in the digital transformation of electrical distribution, is enabled by Exchange’s open digital business platform and freed from the constraints of a traditional vendor-partner relation. It’s at the heart of what we call “Partnerships of the Future.”
So, are you ready to help create a more electric and digital world and expand what a panel building solution can be? Join our Partnerships of the Future and help solve some of the most pressing sustainability and efficiency challenges in the New Electric World.
A multi-lingual Global Marketing & Digital Communication/Community Management specialist, mostly involved in Sales enablement & Digital transformation. Born in Morocco, grown up in France, studied in England, worked in the US, I like to consider myself as a world citizen who treasures relationship building, intellectual curiosity & learning agility.