Category Archives: FG News

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Product Spotlight: SolaHD SDU AC-A Series, DIN Rail UPS

Spring is the season of renewal, change and fresh starts. SolaHD is doing just that with the launch of their new SolaHD SDU AC-A Series, DIN Rail UPS. This new series combines an industry leading compact design with enhanced communication, a wide operational temperature range and unique installation options. Let’s dive in to more details about the latest innovation from SolaHD!

The SDU AC-A Series is a cost-effective solution providing ride-through during brief power outages and allows for safe equipment shutdown. This prevents data loss, work interruptions and equipment damage during longer outages, which can save you significant time and money in the long run. Each unit includes easy to wire screw terminations for devices that need battery back-up, such as microprocessor-based or computer based control systems.

The communication port is an exciting feature of the SDU AC- A Series. The port is designed for networked Industrial Ethernet protocols (IoT) or discrete (passive-dry contact relay) I/O applications. It also features an optional communication card that provides flexibility required while saving valuable DIN rail space.

So how can the SDU AC-A Series be used? It’s ideal for a variety of applications and industries, especially those that rely heavily upon robotics, factory automation, PLCs, CNC machinery, conveying equipment and throughout Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) environments.

Product Features:

  • Lightweight and compact industrial design
  • Communications port for optional Industrial Ethernet protocols or discrete communication card
  • Wide operation temperature range (OC to 50C)
  • Cold start capability
  • Software and cable included for easy installation
  • Simulated sinewave output
  • USB communication port
  • Remote turn-on and shutdown capabilities
  • Two-year limited warranty
  • Panel/wall mount brackets

To see the full list of applications, certifications and compliances, you can download the SolaHD Product Guide HERE.

Are you ready to give the SolaHD AC-A Series, DIN Rail UPS a try? Give your French Gerleman Account Manager a call today, and get ready to experience the industry leading design and advanced technology.


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Vendor Managed Inventory Programs Offered by French Gerleman

When it comes to inventory, there is a fine line between being adequately stocked, but not overstocked or running out of products. To reduce business costs and overflow of products, it’s important to properly manage your inventory to save time and money. That’s where Stock Optimization Programs (SOP) and Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) can help! We can keep your bins stocked, which will reduce costs and facilitate process efficiencies, thereby managing working capital and creating a streamlined plan for success.

We’ve discussed our French Gerleman SOP program in a past post, so you know the benefits to these programs. How do you get started and what does it entail? Watch the video below in which Sean Nolan, VP of Market Development, and Chris Fine, Director of Marketing, discuss the process and what you need to know.

What’s involved in setting up a VMI program?
The setup process might sound complicated, but it’s pretty straightforward. The most important thing is data cleaning. This involves us taking a look at the current information customers have on hand. This might be looking at reporting or speaking with them about what kinds of things they are currently keeping in stock. The thing we hear a lot is that our customers don’t have their arms around this information, and that’s okay! That’s where we come in and can help to create a plan.

How does a customer get started in setting up a program like this?
The first step would be to call your French Gerleman Account Manager to let them know you’re interested. From there, we will bring in a team of folks that will help you work through:

  • What do you currently have in stock today?
  • What do you NEED to have in stock today?
  • What’s moves quickly, what is slow moving and what is critical.
  • What items are dead, what items do you not really need?

We will work with our customers to make sure that we have the right level of inventory on hand, what items we need to have backed up at French Gerleman, and what items we can eliminate altogether. This is something we will discuss together, so don’t feel overwhelmed!

Once we get that completed and items determined, we have created a stock level optimization plan that we have and can use/implement moving forward. This of course can change as business progresses, so it is in no way set in stone, but the plan is put together and we will work that plan together as we move forward.

We focus on many categories with our SOP program, including:

  • Electrical
  • Safety
  • Automation
  • Fastener
  • Power transmission
  • Lube and spray
  • Datacom

If you’re interested in setting up a Vendor Managed Inventory program, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager today! We look forward to working with you to create a plan to keep your company organized, save you time and money and of course, keep your inventory organized!


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French Gerleman Bracketology Battle 2017: Test Your Skills!

Our Bracketology Battle is back! The big tournament is right around the corner and we are getting geared up for another great year of our Bracketology Battle. Do you have what it takes? Test your skills for a chance to win some awesome prizes.

Sign up is simple, just visit our Bracketology Battle registration page and fill out the form. You will be asked to create an account.  If you participated in previous years, you will still need to create a new account as registrations do not roll over.

Once the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee reveals the 68 teams who have made the 2017 tournament on Sunday, March 12, you’ll be able to log back in to pick your bracket.  Throughout the tournament, you can use your account to check your scores and rankings.

Participants get to select a French Gerleman Bracketology Battle bracket consisting on all NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games AND a total score for the championship game. You will then receive points for each game in which you select the winning team. Your final score for the tournament will be the total of all your points. If a tie-breaker is needed, we will use the total score for the championship game.

Ultimately, your goal is to earn as many points as you can over the course of the tournament. You can submit or change your picks up until the tip-off of the first game of the tournament (excluding the play-in games), which is scheduled for Thursday, March 16.

The brackets with the five highest scores at the end of the tournament will be awarded prizes:

  • Best Overall Bracket: 60 Inch LG 4K Ultra 2160p Smart TV
  • Second Best Overall Bracket: Playstation 4 Bundle (console, extra controller, NBA 17 and $50 Playstation Store gift card)
  • Third Best Overall Bracket: Dell Inspiron 15.6 Touch Screen Laptop
  • Fourth Best Overall Bracket: Fitbit Blaze with extra band
  • Fifth Best Overall Bracket: Apple TV (64GB)

Random Prizes
Didn’t do as well as you hoped on your picks? Don’t sweat it. We’re giving away Amazon Echo’s to five randomly selected participants drawn at the conclusion of the tournament.

For a full list of rules and to register, click HERE.

Best of luck and enjoy the battle!


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Get Rewards for Your French Gerleman Loyalty

We wanted to find a way to thank you for your loyalty to French Gerleman and what better way than with an exclusive rewards program! We’re happy to announce and give you a first look at our re-launched Counter Rewards program. We’ve had the Counter Rewards cards in the past, and due to popular demand, we’ve decided to bring it back.

With our Counter Rewards Card, you will receive one (1) stamp for every $200 spent on in-stock products at a French Gerleman Sales Counter. Limit eight (8) stamps per order. Once you fill out your card (12 stamps), you can choose from a list of rewards, including gift cards to Bass Pro Shop, Best Buy, Walmart, Buffalo Wild Wings, Target and Fandango (movie tickets); seasonal French Gerleman merchandise items (t-shirts, hats, mugs); and much more. Prizes are subject to availability, but there will always be a variety to choose from. As a part of the new Counter Rewards program, you will also receive advanced notice of promotions and events through “Members Only” e-mails.

Customers must register for the program to get their initial reward card. You can download the Enrollment Form HERE  or visit frenchgerleman.com/rewards for more information.

Simply fill out the enrollment form and turn it in at any French Gerleman Sales Counter to receive your Rewards Card. As a bonus, you’ll receive two (2) stamps just for registering! You’ll receive another one (1) bonus stamp for giving us your e-mail address. Sounds pretty good, right?

Keep in mind, every program has guidelines.  Please be sure to check out the back of the enrollment form for program details.  And, most importantly, make sure your employer is OK with your participation.

Thank you for continued support of French Gerleman! We hope you enjoy our Counter Rewards program.  Be sure to let us know what kind of gift cards and rewards you would like to see included. We’d love to hear your feedback!

The 2017 Counter Rewards Program is sponsored by the following vendor partners:


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Two Electrical Expo Events- MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Spring is the season of renewal. A fresh start. Learning, growing and experiencing new things. This year, we will be ushering in Spring by supporting two informational and educational expos.

The first event is the Electrical Board of Missouri and Illinois (EBMI) Electrical Expo at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, MO. This event will take place on March 21-22. As EBMI members, we are excited to be on hand for this event and to participate in the seminars and visit with many of our great vendors.

Following the EBMI Expo, we will be sponsoring the Electric League of Missouri & Kansas Expo at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, KS, on April 11-12. Make sure to save the date, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to meet with vendors, hear the latest industry news and attend the popular seminars.

Here are the details on the upcoming Expos:

Electrical Board of Missouri and Illinois Electrical Expo

March 21-22, 2017

St. Charles Convention Center – St. Charles, MO

Tuesday, March 21: 1 – 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 22: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

 

This EBMI Electrical Expo held only once every three years and attracts manufacturers from across the country to the area. At this event, you can visit more than 200 exhibits and take part in educational sessions to learn more about key products, learn about new industry codes and earn PDH/PEU credits.

Event Features:

  • 12 seminars are offered during the two-day event, offering PDH and PEU credits. Sessions cover a wide variety of topics including: preventive maintenance, plant cyber security, lighting, code changes and much more.
  • Visit with 200+ vendors for a first look at new products.
  • Network with associates from all segments of the electrical industry.

If you’re looking for a way to attend and don’t live in the metro area, French Gerleman will be offering transportation from Columbia, MO, and Quincy, IL, to the St. Charles Convention Center. As members of EBMI, we will be hosting a hospitality suite in conjunction with Expo, so feel free to stop by and visit with the French Gerleman team.  Watch for information coming soon.

The Expo is free to attend, but there is a cost to attend the educational seminars.  If you register early, you can save on the cost of the educational seminars. When you register for this Expo, please note French Gerleman as your referring distributor.

Featured exhibitors include: Appleton, Eaton’s B-Line Business, Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems, Mersen, SolaHD, Thomas & Betts, General Cable, Lutze, Dialight, Acuity (Lithonia Lighting), Philips Lighting, Fluke, Greenlee, Ideal, Universal Lighting Technologies, Panduit, Spectrum Controls, Nord, WEG and APC.

You can see the full list of exhibitors HERE. For more information, visit http://www.electricalboard.org/2017-expo-information/.

Electric League of Missouri & Kansas Expo

April 11-12, 2017

Overland Park Convention Center – Overland Park, KS

Tuesday, April 11: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 12: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For our Kansas and western Missouri friends, this event is for you! The Electric League of Missouri & Kansas is hosting a free, two-day educational event at the Overland Park Convention center, and French Gerleman is proud to be a sponsor. This Expo is held once every three years, and features educational seminars, vendor exhibits, door prizes and much more.

Breakout sessions will be held in each morning and will include both educational seminars and premiere lighting sessions. Other training highlights include: arc flash compliance, CPR training and more to be announced over the coming weeks. Following the morning sessions, there will be a lunch break as well as a trade show networking event on Tuesday evening.

The list of exhibitors will be announced soon. For up-to-date event details, visit http://www.electricleague.org/tradeshow/trade_show.html

Mark your calendars and we hope to see you at one of these two upcoming Expos!


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French Gerleman Awarded the ElectricSmarts 2016 Distributor Top 10 “Smarty Awards”

We’ve once again won a “Smarty Award” from ElectricSmart! The awards were given to the top 10 distributors ranked by content page views on their network. In previous years, we won in the award in the Elite Status Quarter Million View Club, but this year, we made the Half Million View Club! This is a huge honor for us, and we are thrilled to see our growth this year. The ElectricSmarts Network continues to achieve millions of views in 2016, and with the increase in web traffic, they created the new Half Million Views Club.

electricsmarts-award

ElctricSmarts is a network created to provide web-based product marketing and education services. Their mission is to enhance communication and provide additional value across all levels of the supply chain and improving efficiency of already strong channels.

You can learn more about the Smarty Awards, other award winners and our past Smarty Awards HERE, and you can view the full list of distributors who have achieved the Half Million Views Club HERE. A big thank you to ElectricSmarts for their ongoing support and for this award. It’s always a great feeling to receive recognition for our hard work. We are excited to see how we do next year!


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Fast and Affordable Custom Enclosures Available at French Gerleman

Our mission is to find ways to help you be more efficient and profitable.  As a result, we have recently invested in becoming a Hoffman Certified Modification Center (HCMC).

hoffman-logo

We now have the Steinhauer ModCenter, an automated CNC machine capable of drilling, tapping and milling in virtually any shape, size or enclosure material. By working with existing CAD files, you can easily order enclosures modified to your specifications from our local inventory, which dramatically improves lead time.

For in-stock enclosures, the typical turnaround is as little as one to three days, including local delivery. Previously, the lead time could be three weeks or more when ordering directly from Hoffman. No more waiting!

No measuring, no drilling and no cutting in the field. It doesn’t get any easier!

Benefits include:

  • Precise, clean holes and cutouts completed more quickly and accurately.
  • Easy to order – we can quote a solution from your designs or existing CAD files.
  • No human errors or mistakes. If you end up modifying your own enclosure and make a mistake, you have to purchase a new enclosure and start over. We guarantee your custom enclosure will match your approved drawings.
  • Reduces risks from manually cutting with power tools.
  • Allows you to redirect your skilled personnel to other, more profitable tasks.
  • Lower project costs due to reduced labor and faster turnaround.

Key capabilities of our HCMC:

  • Modification of enclosures up to 93″ tall by 86″ wide or back panels up to 92″ tall by 94″ wide
  • Can cut virtually any shape, size or material, including stainless steel, fiber glass, aluminum, plastic and composite
  • Drilling
  • Tapping
  • Milling
  • Paint removal for electrical grounding

We are excited to offer this option to incorporate your specified modifications, all while taking the guesswork out of your estimates and cutting down turnaround time. We make holes and cutouts easy so you can focus on your business.

hoffman-full-machine

Chip Green, our French Gerleman ModCenter Specialist, is a trained technician in charge of our HCMC. When we asked him what was so special about this machine, he said, “this is a game changer for enclosures. It makes our customer’s lives easier and they get the product they need, when they need it.”

Ready to partner with French Gerleman to help quickly, accurately and safely modify enclosures? Give your Account Manager a call to learn more about our enhanced enclosure modification capabilities.


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French Gerleman to Open New Branch in Springfield, MO

We’re kicking off 2017 at French Gerleman with the opening of a new branch in Springfield, MO! We’re excited to continue our growth and expand into this new territory. Here are the details on our new branch:

St. Louis, MO, January 12, 2017 – French Gerleman, an independent regional distributor of automation, electrical supply, datacom, power transmission and safety products and services, is excited to announce the opening of a new branch in Springfield, MO, at 764 North Miller. This expansion into Springfield is the company’s sixth branch. The Springfield branch is expected to open in late March of 2017.

Catering to the Southwestern Missouri area, the Springfield branch will offer products and services covering automation, electrical supply, datacom, power transmission and personal and machine safety.  French Gerleman is the exclusive distributor of Siemens Automation in Western Missouri and Kansas.

Located near I-44 and Chestnut Expressway, the facility will include office and warehouse space, as well as a large in-house sales counter open to the public.

About French Gerleman:

French Gerleman is the region’s leading supplier of automation, electrical supply, datacom, power transmission and safety products and services to industrial, commercial and construction markets.  Based in St. Louis, MO, French Gerleman has locations in Kansas City; Quincy, IL; Columbia, MO; and Washington, MO. With nearly 100 years in the industry, French Gerleman is a recipient of the St. Louis Business Journal’s 2016 Family Business Award. For more information, visit www.frenchgerleman.com.

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French Gerleman Adopts Two Military Units for the Holidays

Over the summer, our Columbia branch collected items to send to some active duty soldiers in Iraq.  We were overwhelmed with the amazing support and how many people brought in items to send overseas.  Our Columbia employees reached out to family members and friends for donations and were able to send several boxes of snacks and home comfort items to the soldiers, including French Gerleman team member Mary Brown’s son, Staff Sergeant Kyle DePriest.

project-frontline

With the amount of excitement and interest in our last adopt-a-soldier program, our Columbia branch decided to host another drive for the holidays! We were assigned two units through the Adopt a US Solder sponsored by Project Frontlines: Unit TF DEALER 1-67 AR, which is a unit of 32-35 soldiers who are currently in a war zone and Unit 455 EMXS EAST AGE, which is a 10-man unit.  The goal was to send them gifts, well wishes, sweet and salty treats, cards and holiday cheer.  The Columbia branch reached out to friends, family and customers with the goal of sending eight to ten boxes, but people were so generous, we sent 12 boxes to TF DEALER 1-67 AR and five boxes to 455 EMXS EAST AGE.

“It’s very humbling to have such giving co-workers,” said Mary.  “One French Gerleman employee had the idea of buying and stuffing individual stockings for the entire unit. I can imagine the looks on each soldier’s face as they unwrap their very own Christmas stocking. We wanted to send these brave men and women a little reminder of home and holiday well wishes to thank them for their service.”

To Our Dear American Soldiers:

From the tops of our heads, to the tips of our toes and the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU.  For your dedication to the preservation of the nation we hold as precious, THANK YOU.  For the sacrifices made by you and your families to selflessly serve, THANK YOU.

We want you to know we, at French Gerleman, truly value your service.  We want you to know we, at French Gerleman, are behind you.  Please know that we pray for you and your families.  Please know that we have and/or have loved ones who serve(d), and that we know of the sacrifices you and your families make and/or are willing to make for the love of our United States of America.  Please know that many of us here at French Gerleman truly understand the values for which you are dedicated, as we are also dedicated to those same values and actively work to keep our country moving in a positive direction.

Please do not feel that you have to write us, but if you care to, we will welcome and honor your gift.  More important to us is that you stay safe as possible and protect one another in all things.  We hope that you write to your families, when it is safe to do so. 

Be steadfast and diligent in all ways.  Only rest when you have others who are at watch, and always take turns at watch so that all of you can get the best possible rest.  Do what you have to do for one another; you are a team that must rely on each other for your next breath; never take this for granted.  And again, THANK YOU for being you and for doing what you do.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Soldiers!

goodies-started-rolling-in-today-14-plus-boxes-as-of-11-16-16

We would like to thank our Columbia team and the FG team members from other branches who were so very generous and compassionate, taking time out of their busy schedules to help wrap gifts, shop for items and donate to such a wonderful cause. If you are interested in donating items to be sent over to our unit, email Mary at mbrown@frenchgerleman.com or give her a call at 573-886-3025.


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Manufacturing Matters, or The Internet of Things

Take a moment to sit back and imagine the future. Look 10 years from now, how does the manufacturing industry look? And are you prepared? Ten years from now, the global manufacturing sector will look completely different than it does today. Every day, advanced manufacturing technology is transforming the global competitive landscape at rapid speeds. If we act now to seize manufacturing’s promise, we will not only succeed, but will THRIVE in the 21st century. But those who fail to engage in smart manufacturing will rapidly fall behind.

Smart manufacturing, or the Internet of Things (IoT), marries information, technology and human ingenuity to bring about a rapid revolution in the development and application of manufacturing intelligence to every aspect of business. We recently held a day long seminar in conjunction with Rockwell Automation to explore ways companies can begin or continue their journey towards Smart Manufacturing. In case you weren’t able to attend the event, here is a recap of some of the key points.

Status of Manufacturing in the United States

Manufacturing in the United States is down at 2009 levels. Why you might ask? For some, the term “Made in the USA” doesn’t have the same connotation that it used to and its perceived value isn’t as high as it once was. There is a lot of pressure to improve costs, inventory, yield and delivery time.

Challenges faced in the industry:

  • Financial- revenue, GM, productivity, uptime
  • Customer pressure- this is only going to increase: innovation, flexibility, safe, green, price
  • Regulatory pressures- compliance, taxes
  • Internal pressures- aging equipment, aging workforce.

Companies are bringing manufacturing back to the US, causing the gap to close making China cheaper to manufacture in. But what’s causing this revolution? There is a new emerging middle class. By 2020, one billion new middle class consumers will be adding $8T to consumer spending money. Technology continues to advance, and with 75% of the workforce being Millennials by 2025, there will be mobility in manufacturing.

Convergence of IT and OT

What is Operational Technology (OT)?
OT is the technology hardware on the plant floor: sensors, machines, materials, controls, safety and security.

What is Information Technology (IT)?
IT involves the ERP, financials, HR, logistics, etc. This includes orders, supply network and product design.

process-example-1

process-example-2

The goal with integrating IT and OT is to drive productivity by providing visibility and clarity on the order as it goes through the shop. The key to this is looking at data in real time to make better decisions to improve profitability.

Change and Keep Changing

According to Steve Gansen, Cisco’s Manufacturing Industry Sales Manager, there are NO manufacturing companies…only sales and marketing companies. The key to success is to change and keep changing. The Midwest is a key area for reshoring because you can get closer to your customers. Logistics are a bigger play to drive efficiencies.

internet-of-everything

IoE transforms data into wisdom. It’s a journey and everyone is at a different place on that path. You’re either a disruption or someone is going to disrupt you. The key is to start small, disrupt in a small way to show results and go from there.

Modernized Automation

The top concerns of manufacturers are:

  • Economy and political influence
  • Recruiting/retaining personnel with proper technical skills
  • Regulations compliance and traceability
  • Product development and innovation/agility for quick change overs
  • Balance throughput and maintenance
  • IoT vs cyber threats- security

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To help ease these concerns, it’s important to have smarter machines and equipment with real-time data. These machines will help reduce downtime by helping to replace items faster. You must determine your wants and needs and from there, determine if your network and hardware can support these wants/needs. If not, the next step would be to design a strategy to get you there.

Industrial Security Trends:

  • Formerly “good enough” security, now, is better than “perfect” security… never
  • Security ultimately relies, and fails, on the degree to which you are thorough. People don’t like to be thorough, so this will be your biggest hurdle.
  • Your absolute security is only as strong as your weakest link.
  • Concentrate on the known, probable threats.
  • Security is not a static end state, it is an interactive process.

The Connected Enterprise: Power of Information

The challenge today is finding the right data from different sources and getting it back into and understandable format. This includes real time information. It’s also important to note that millennials look at data in a different way, so be sure to formulate the data in a way that will be the most useful for those who need it.

connected-enterprise

This was just a quick highlight of some of the information presented at our recent Manufacturing Matters event. If you’re interested in learning more or reviewing the presentation, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager.