Category Archives: FG News

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Convenient Electronic and Online Options for Your Business from French Gerleman

Looking for ways to save time, money and ultimately, make your life, and job easier? You have enough on your plate, and we want to help streamline the process and make the experience working with French Gerleman as simple and convenient as possible. That is why we offer a wide array of electronic and online options!

Technology is constantly changing and advancing, and we want to provide valuable business tools to help you manage your account information and transactions with us.  We have convenient order and Invoice management as well as e-Commerce Solutions that are quick and easy.

In this blog, we will highlight options that are currently available to help build our business partnership. For full details and specifics on our offerings, you can download our Electronic & Online Options brochure HERE.

  • Online Credit Application: Request an account with open payment terms.
  • Electronic Invoicing: Free electronic invoicing, receive statements on invoices faster.
  • Online Payments- Automated Clearing House (ACH): Pay your invoices online and eliminate paper clutter, as well as review invoice history and account balances…
  • Electronic Data Interface (EDI): Receive data from your company via EDI, receive electronic orders, order acknowledgements and invoices.
  • Online Ordering: Order the products you need online with real-time product availability and pricing.
  • Credit Card Payment: Pay using Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Discover cards.
  • Request Quote: Request quotes for your unique item and we’ll respond with availability and pricing.
  • Shipment Notifications: Know when products are being shipped to your warehouse or job site.
  • Return Goods Authorization Request: Easily request a return authorization.
  • eQuote: Access your quotes online for up to 60 days.
  • Punchout: Automate ordering directly from your internal procurement system.

In addition to our electronic and online business options, we offer training on the latest technologies to help increase your company’s return on investment. We offer courses to help you effectively implement your automation, datacom, electrical supply, power transmission and safety investments. We can also create custom and private training.  Contact us for more information.

To discuss available electronic or online options, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager or visit us online at frenchgerleman.com/EZTDBW.  Don’t have an account manager?  Call 800-333-3122 to learn more.

 


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Rebuilding Together Day, Year 12: Bringing the Community Together

At French Gerleman, we enjoy giving back to the communities we serve. In St. Louis, we are passionate about Rebuilding Together and are proud that so many employees and vendors were willing to donate their time, money and products to help others in the community. This was our 12th year participating in Rebuilding Together Day, and this year was extra special as we experienced some challenges that put our team to the test.

In February, we were assigned our home and we assembled our team. Bob Anderson stepped up to be our House Captain this year, and Vickie Katashuk returned as our Volunteer Coordinator for the seventh year.

When we met with Rebuilding Together about our assigned home, they detailed the home’s issues that needed attention to make it more livable and secure. After our initial meeting with the Rebuilding Together team, we had a couple months to meet with the homeowner and tour her house to confirm the projects that we would take on and begin compiling the items needed.

The homeowner we partnered with this year was Miss Joyce Johnson-Seddens, a lovely, kind woman in her 60s who lives in north St. Louis. When you meet Joyce, you can’t help but love her. We had originally outlined this project to cover fixing her AC unit, painting the exterior of her home, updating her yard and retaining wall and various minor repairs around the house. After touring the home and talking to Miss Joyce about what would help make her home more livable and functional for HER, we decided we needed to add a few projects to our list! That list included:

  • New AC unit
  • Exterior paint
  • New retaining wall
  • Yard work/clean up
  • Fix fencing in yard
  • Safety measures – fix railings in basement and front stairs
  • Replace glass panel doors with security doors
  • Post repair
  • Install new LED lighting throughout the house
  • Install gutter guards
  • New crawl space doors
  • Cleaned the house
  • New garbage disposal

The funding from Rebuilding Together was tight this year, so we knew we needed to work hard to stay in budget or get items donated. We only had a budget of $1,000 from Rebuilding Together, so we knew we needed to solicit additional donations. Between employees, vendors and customers, we pulled together more than $3,000 in donations (monetary and materials) for the project!

It’s amazing to see our community come together to help someone in need. We called Vogel AC to help us fix Miss Joyce’s AC unit that had not been functioning for quite some time. Vogel was kind enough to donate and install a brand new AC unit, going above and beyond our expectations. This is something Joyce desperately needed for the hot St. Louis summer days.

The LED lighting that we installed throughout the house was provided by Philips and Lithonia Lighting. Not only does the new lighting help improve the overall appearance of her home, but the technology will save her hundreds of dollars on energy bills! When Miss Joyce found out how much money she would be saving, her face lit up and she was thrilled. It’s moments like that, when you see the homeowner get emotional, that makes all of our team’s hard work worth it.

We also had a plumber at the house doing some minor repairs and he saw that her garbage disposal was not working. He happened to have one in his truck and he gave it to her! The kindness we experienced throughout this process is truly overwhelming and we feel incredibly lucky.

Rebuilding Day might just be one day, but because of the scope of the project and our desire to provide the best experience for Miss Joyce, we had volunteers at the home throughout the week leading up to the Day and many days following to ensure we completed each task. In total, we had 24 volunteers who came out to join us at Rebuilding Day, ranging from French Gerleman employees, families, friends and even customers from Lange Tech. Some of our volunteers had to battle the flooding to make it out to help, which we thought would be a setback, but they braved the elements! One of our volunteers had a flooded basement at his house, but he joined us because he felt like it was his commitment and where he needed to be.

“Rebuilding Together Day can be stressful,” said Bob.  “We’re worried about getting all of our projects completed, we sometimes experience setbacks and the work is hard, physically and emotionally. But at the end of the day, you forget about the stress, the pain and the long hours when you see the look on the homeowner’s face, the emotion and pure joy they experience when they see their ‘new’ home.”

When we asked Vickie what brings her back to Rebuilding Together, year after year, she said, “You replace that person’s face with a family member’s face, someone you love. You would take care of your family and do anything to ensure that they are safe, secure and comfortable. That’s exactly what we do for these people. We love these people and will take care of them like they are our family, just like we hope someone would do for our family members if they were in need.”

A big thank you to our wonderful volunteers, employees, vendors and customers who supported our team through this process and Rebuilding Together.  Without all of you, it wouldn’t be possible to raise the donations we did or to accomplish all the projects we did for Miss Joyce.

And a special thank you to Bob and Vickie for their selfless, hard work and dedication to Rebuilding Together. They went above and beyond to make sure Miss Joyce’s house was safe, secure and that the remodel made an impact on her life.

Are you or your business looking for a great organization to support? Rebuilding Together is a wonderful organization who could use some help, both monetary donations and volunteers are greatly appreciated. Be sure to visit http://www.rebuildingtogether-stl.org/ to learn more.


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IDEAL National Championship: How Electricians Become Legends

Do you have the power to be the best electrician in the nation? Now is your chance to see if you have what it takes!

IDEAL Electrical, a leading tool and electrical supply company based in Sycamore, IL, is once again hosting the IDEAL National Championship to honor and showcase abilities of electricians as well as award more than $500,000 in cash and prizes.

The IDEAL National Championship features several categories for competition: Individual-Professional, Individual-Student/Apprentice, Team- Professional, and Team- Student/Apprentice.

The Qualifying Round challenge requires competitors to demonstrate both mental problem-solving and physical skills across five categories: pulling wire, cutting stripping, terminating and testing on a preassembled electrical platform. Does this sound like something you could master? Time to sign up!

We are excited to host local Qualifying Round events at several of our upcoming Customer Appreciation Days! Mark your calendars:

  • St. Louis, MO – Thursday, June 15, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Quincy, IL – Wednesday, June 21, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Washington, MO – Wednesday, September 13, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Columbia, MO – Friday, September 15, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.

If you are interested in competing, go to IDEALnationals.com to register and search for your local Qualifying Round event. We can’t wait to have all the legends-in-the-making compete at our Customer Appreciation Days!


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French Gerleman Customer Appreciation Days are Back!

‘Tis the season for Customer Appreciation Days! We’ve been looking forward to these events and busy planning them for months.  We are excited to share with you our upcoming customer appreciation events!

Kansas City Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 3
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
9735 Commerce Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66219

If you’re in the Kansas City area, be sure to join us for our first customer appreciation day! We will be serving lunch, we will have product experts on hand and you can check out the new products available from French Gerleman.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: APC, Appleton, Brady, IDEAL, Mersen, Shimpo and Philips. Download the event flyer HERE.

Quincy Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 10
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1700 North 45th Street, Quincy, IL 62305

Quincy always knows how to throw a great Customer Appreciation Event! Join us for lunch, meet with product experts and dive into the newest products available from French Gerleman.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Brady, Dialight, General Cable, Greenlee, Hubbell, Philips, Thomas & Betts and Universal Lighting. Download the event flyer HERE.

Washington Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 24
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1 Chamber Drive, Washington, MO 63090

Washington, MO, there’s an event for you, too! Join us at our Washington branch for lunch, product demos and to talk to product experts.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Eaton B-Line Series, Fluke, SolaHD, Thomas & Betts and Universal Lighting. Download the event flyer HERE.

Columbia Customer Appreciation Day
Friday, June 2
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1815 Vandiver Drive, Columbia, MO 65202

Join us for lunch, demos of the newest products available from French Gerleman and have a meet and greet with product experts!

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Dialight, General Cable, Greenlee, Hubbell, Lutze, Omni Cable, Philips and Thomas & Betts. Download the event flyer HERE.

St. Louis Customer Appreciation Day
Thursday, June 15
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
2023 Westport Center Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146

If you’re in the St. Louis city, county, or surrounding areas, this customer appreciation event at our French Gerleman headquarters is for you! There will be lunch, product demos, new product displays and you can meet with experts in the field.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Appleton, Brady, First Air Only, General Cable, Ideal, LUTZE, Mersen, Nidec-Shimpo, Panduit and Philips Lighting. Flyer coming soon HERE.

Be sure to mark your calendars! We look forward to celebrating you at our customer appreciation days. It’s our way of saying thank you for your continued support of French Gerleman while keeping you updated on new technologies and industry trends.


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Our Solar Array: Where are we now?

In 2013, we launched the French Gerleman Solar Testing and Learning Center. It was one of the largest and most complex solar arrays, designed to test and demonstrate a wide variety of components and technologies, while offering customers an educational environment.

Here we are, four years later, and our Solar Learning Center has been a success. Our investment incorporates four different monitoring systems, three panel technologies of various wattages and three different types of inverter technologies. Due to the system’s complexity, the project took more than a year to design and build.

Here are a few key features of our Solar Testing and Learning Center and how it has grown.

Education

We built our Solar Testing and Learning Center with our customers in mind. For our new customers just getting into the solar business, we use it to explain how solar works and the different types of products used when installing systems. Being able to see and explore the different products is a great bonus for these customers. Our newer customers tell us the Learning Center has helped them to not only design and install their systems, but helped with identifying the details that need to be considered when getting started.

Our existing solar customers have seen real value in the Solar Testing and Learning Center. We often receive requests from customers to bring their clients to our facility. It’s more than just a sales tool, it’s an educational experience. Our learning center helps their customers to understand and feel comfortable with solar, and helps them to make informed decisions.

Training

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center is a great training resource for our customers and internal employees. We have brought in industry experts to teach classes and provide product training. We’ve also had customers use the Learning Center to train their employees on the various aspects of solar arrays.

Products

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center has panels tilted at 20, 10 and 0 degrees, or flat. We did this to show how the tilt of the panel can have variable production values based on the sun angle at different times of the year.

Our Learning Center showcases various solar racking options.  Racking adds to the weight of the system on your roof as well as if they penetrate your structure or not.  For residential, we offer a rail and rail less racking solution for rooftops. For commercial installations, we offer ballasted racking, a flat roof non-penetrating solution that is held down by concrete blocks. For both residential and commercial, we also offer ground mount racking, which is sometimes preferred.

Our Learning Center demonstrates the effect of weather and the elements on solar systems.  Customers can see how soiling can accumulate on panels based on their tilt, how they look in the spring when pollen is prevalent or with snow in the winter.  The various tilts showcase how the panel can be naturally cleaned by rain or other precipitation.  Visitors can also observe the effect of hail on the panels, especially in the spring and fall months. Our panels are rated to withstand up to 1″ hail hitting at 50 miles per hour.  Our various racking solutions showcase the effects of wind and the system’s weight on the roof.

A variety of inverters are showcased in our Learning Center.  Inverters converts the DC power generated by the solar panels into AC power used to run our homes and businesses.  There are different types of inverters that can be used, depending upon site’s environment and size.

And finally, our Learning Center features the balance of systems products, which includes everything outside of the panels, inverts and racking. This includes electrical equipment, lightning arresters, combiner boxes, etc.

Conclusion

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center has been a success. Since its commissioning, our 50KW solar array has produced more than 190 Megawatt hours! It has shown an excellent economical return on investment, but the education, training and product showcase has exceeded the economical ROI through the relationships we have built and sustained.

Do you have any questions on solar arrays, solar energy or our Solar Testing and Learning Center? Give us a call! We’d love to have you out, give you a tour and answer any questions you might have.


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French Gerleman Springfield Branch Open House

We’re excited to announce the Grand Opening of our Southwest Missouri Branch of French Gerleman, located in Springfield, MO! Our Springfield branch is our sixth location, catering to the Southwest Missouri (Springfield, Joplin, Branson and more). To celebrate, we are hosting an open house on Wednesday, May 10, to celebrate our grand opening!

This facility provides a great location to serve our existing business along the I-44 corridor. Our goal is to better support our existing customers while cultivating a healthy relationship with new ones throughout the Southwest Missouri area.

Our Springfield branch offers products and services ranging from Datacom, Safety, Electrical Supply, Power Transmission and features Siemens Automation Products. We are the exclusive distributor of Siemens Automation in Western Missouri and Kansas. It includes office, warehouse and training space, as well as a large in-house sales counter that is open to the public.

French Gerleman Springfield Open House
Wednesday, May 10
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Join us for lunch from The Wheelhouse Street Fare, check out our new facility and meet our local team. 

Help us celebrate the opening of our new branch at our open house! We look forward to meeting our new Southwest Missouri friends.


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French Gerleman Once Again Named a Top 150 Privately Held Company

We feel blessed to again be honored by the St. Louis Business Journal as a Top 150 Privately Held Company, ranked #127!


Our CEO, Bill French, was interviewed by the St. Louis Business Journal on the company’s growth, increase in sales and overall success of the company. French Gerleman finished 2016 with $137 million in revenue, including a 72% increase in our solar energy segment. We are committed to new investment in our datacom segment and will be hiring two new employees for sales roles. Operations efficiencies and accuracies within the company continue to improve for an eighth consecutive year, which is an area of pride.

With 248 total French Gerleman employees, including 187 based in St. Louis, we continue to grow and expand with the opening of our sixth branch in Springfield, MO.

To see the full article and entire list of Top 150 Privately Held Companies, you can read the St. Louis Business Journal article HERE.


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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!