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electroindustry magazine article -Tim Powers, Chairman & CEO of Hubbell, Inspires Collaboration and Progress
At a time when challenges loomed over the electrical industry’s eBusiness efforts, Tim Powers, chairman and CEO of Hubbell Incorporated, provided vision, consistency and direction.
IDEA, the industry’s eBusiness organization, had a powerful and much-needed vision when it first started in 1998—improving business processes between manufacturers and distributors—but needed an advocate to propel investment and collaboration.
As a board member for NEMA, Powers found that IDEA’s mission of eliminating waste in the industry resonated with his background in Lean manufacturing processes, value-engineering and Six Sigma.
“Although distributors relied on manufacturer-supplied product information for every job and bid, they had utilized many workarounds to conduct business,” Powers commented. “It seemed logical that IDEA could provide solutions to this industry-wide problem.”
Powers served as IDEA chair from 2004-2006. In addition to stabilizing the organization, he focused on raising the awareness of his peers in manufacturing and distribution about the importance and critical nature of IDEA’s mission. With the help of NEMA and NAED, IDEA began to gain visibility and momentum.
“It’s very rewarding to see how far IDEA has come,” said Powers. “The company has accomplished so much with the support of many others in the industry, and it has picked up momentum. The process is underway to get the manufacturers to supply the rest of the enriched marketing content needed for web stores and online catalogs.”
Not only did the industry benefit from Powers’ leadership and guidance, but so did his company. For Hubbell, eBusiness is consistently a top priority and also contributes to the company’s sustainability initiative by saving paper, document shipping and reducing errors or rework. Hubbell currently receives more than 75% of its orders by electronic means and issues an even larger percentage of invoices electronically. This is both upstream with its suppliers as well as downstream with their channel partners and customers.
According to Powers, Hubbell has calculated the administrative savings for every percent of increased orders and invoices transmitted by EDI, and it has resulted in millions of dollars added to the bottom line.
“The evidence of cost reduction and accuracy improvement are so overwhelming that it’s easy to justify the investment in people and technology,” said Powers. “For us, it’s an economic no-brainer and a condition of being ‘easier to do business with’ than others who don’t follow the electronic commerce path.”
In addition to his pivotal work on IDEA’s board, Powers also served as the chair of NEMA and is a board member of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).
Powers has remained a spokesperson for industry collaboration and improvement.
“We are in a very exciting time in the electrical industry—transformation of communication technologies, the way we are conducting business and in the products we’re making—but we have to deal with a lot of change,” said Powers. “I’m a vocal supporter for how we need to streamline every transaction so we can improve the quality and speed of the entire industry to conduct business.”
“Tim is truly one of the great leaders within the electrical industry. I believe that one sign of a great leader is a willingness to give back to the industry. Tim has made a remarkable impact on both manufacturers and distributors through his involvement with organizations such as NEMA and IDEA. Tim is a personal friend of mine, and I appreciate the many ways he generously contributes his time and talents to strengthen our entire industry.”
– Robert A. Reynolds, Jr., executive chairman of Graybar
“Tim is a very collaborative leader. He gets involved quickly; in the case of IDEA, as Chairman, he provided the leadership needed to add credibility to the effort. He motivated those within Hubbell to prepare their businesses for populating the IDW with the marketing data sorely needed by our distributors to increase productivity and sales, now and in the future.”
– Bob Murphy, executive vice president of marketing & sales at Hubbell
"Tim is capable of not only seeing the big picture, but also understanding the detail which drives it. Therefore, he is invaluable to the industry—particularly when complex issues arise that demand fact-based insights. This has been especially true in the case of IDEA where Tim's hands-on leadership has helped NEMA chart a productive course through sometimes confused seas."
– Stuart Thorn, president and CEO of Southwire Co.