Where Innovation, Quality and Performance are the Standard
STANDARD ProductsBy Jessica Ferlaino/span>
STANDARD Products is the second largest manufacturer and distributor of lighting solutions in Canada and it is through innovation, quality, performance, and a passion for efficiency that the company has been able to establish itself as a leader in both the markets and the communities it serves.
As a proudly family-owned Canadian business, STANDARD Products has had great success serving customers from coast to coast, and now it is looking to new market horizons to establish its reputation and further build its brand. It recently introduced a new warehouse in Chicago that will give the company access to the Midwest and will enable it to break into the U.S. market.
In addition to launching its Chicago operations, STANDARD Products consolidated its warehouse operations into two locations, in Montreal and Vancouver, shuttering its smaller Mississauga warehouse to improve inventory availability, fill rates and delivery times.
Customers turn to STANDARD Products for its robust product offerings, as well as its turnkey energy audits and upgrade service. The company can assess usage, identify inefficiencies and suggest opportunities or strategies to save electricity and money by replacing existing lighting systems. It will even take care of the paperwork and apply for rebates where available.
STANDARD Products is always innovating, and it has recently rounded out its offerings with the introduction of a new line of work lights, in addition to completing its selection of undercabinet offerings such as LED tapes, extrusions and the like.
“We also launched a new product called Duoled LED. It’s a hardware driver and a dimmer in the same product,” said Digital Marketing and Communications Specialist Gaelle Boulais-Dupas of the innovative, compact product.
Beyond the scope and breadth of its offerings – and perhaps the reason for its robustness – STANDARD Products has a unique sales structure and a strong sales force. Its direct factory representatives work closely with contractors, building owners, property managers and other customers in the marketplace to better understand their needs in order to design, develop and deliver relevant lighting solutions.
According to Boulais-Dupas, “In order to stay competitive, we have to be innovative and follow trends but be ahead of trends as well,” and what better way to achieve that than being intimately connected to the markets it serves.
The innovation strategy at STANDARD Products is built on three main pillars: ease of installation, responding to the needs of the market with products that meet the highest performance requirements and doing so at a competitive price point. As Boulais-Dupas noted, “Our president is really passionate about lighting. He gets so excited when he learns about new products,” and as a result, innovation has been integrated into all of the company’s internal processes.
Indeed, innovation is the mark of any successful company, but culture is the secret to longevity and in the case of STANDARD Products, it goes above and beyond to invest time and money into its people and the communities it calls home. The company’s culture and corporate social responsibility (CSR) program are remarkable, and truly set the standard for what an employer can be while delivering exceptional products and service that save energy and money for end users.
“The reality is CSR is not a subject that is a must, or considered very important for some industries; not necessarily for the lighting industry,” said Margarita Mejia, Manager of Continuous Improvement (CI). When she joined STANDARD Products, however, a great deal of emphasis was directed toward sustainability. An audit was conducted to evaluate how much waste was being produced at STANDARD Products so it could identify where wastefulness was occurring, and where it could be reduced, reused or recycled (the three Rs).
“We started looking at improving those areas and we developed a plan,” explained Mejia of the CSR program. STANDARD Products’ CSR program has two pillars: environment and people, which serves it in achieving its desired outcomes.
“Our goal is to become the leader in our industry in terms of sustainability,” Mejia said. Year after year since the implementation of its CSR program, the waste diversion rate at STANDARD Products has improved significantly, and the company shows no signs of slowing its efforts. In 2016, the diversion rate was forty-one percent. It increased by one percent the following year and in 2018 that number has grown to fifty percent, with the ultimate goal of improving by ten percent annually. Efforts will continue to be directed toward sustainable consumption, reduced waste, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption in the interest of improved customer and employee health and safety.
The second pillar of STANDARD Products’ CSR program is people. With people in mind, the culture has been designed to be flexible to support workers in achieving an ideal work-life balance. Employees are engaged and can have a greater impact for customers as a result.
The focus at STANDARD Products has been on emphasizing feedback processes, effective communication systems, clear career paths, and interdepartmental collaboration, as well as the promotion of personal and professional development and training opportunities. There are also opportunities for employees to get involved in their communities.
In addition to countless smaller events that are held each year, such as a day to wear denim to raise funds for cancer research, Operation Christmas Child, Remembrance Day drives, and scholarships, the impact STANDARD Products has on the communities it calls home is impressive.
Its greatest impact in the community is through its work with Habitat for Humanity. Since 2016, STANDARD Products has partnered with Habitat for Humanity as a national corporate lighting sponsor and has donated time, money and in-kind support. The company supports Habitat for Humanity in two ways: through the Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) Power to Build Program where a portion of the sale of every LED ceiling luminaire will be donated to Habitat for Humanity Canada, which is a great way for the entire industry to get onboard and support this cause; and through Habitat Build Days.
Last year, STANDARD Products took part in Habitat Build Days in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. Since 2016, it has donated nearly 30,000 lamps for builds across Canada, over $60,000 in financial donations, and 348 lighting fixtures – and, with the help of fifty-eight employees, six homes have been built.
Each year, STANDARD Products also holds a donation day and throughout the years has contributed to over eighty different charities, donating over $700,000 since it was introduced in 1999 by Katy Shebath, sister of CEO David Nathaniel.
“She wanted to hold a special day where a percentage of all order sales are donated to causes that are near and dear to STANDARD’s heart,” said Boulais-Dupas. This year, this event takes on even greater meaning as it is dedicated to Katy. Katy’s Donation Day took place on December 5, 2018 and the team at STANDARD Products raised $68,600. Katy played a significant role in defining the company’s core values and instituting ways that it could live up to those values each and every day and she continues to be the spirit that drives the good work taking place.
Boulais-Dupas noted, “This is a very special day, especially for our distribution centre. We have a huge increase in sales and we need to pack these orders on time. It’s asking a lot of their time but they gladly do the extra time, put in extra hours.” This is true of the distribution centre staff as well as the rest of the team at STANDARD Products that pulls together to make it happen.
The commitment to doing the right thing for its customers, its employees and its community runs deep at STANDARD Products. “It’s not just a job: you’re contributing to your community by working at STANDARD,” said Mejia. “We want customers to feel like they are a part of what we are doing: by supporting us, they are also supporting the partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and all the causes that we’re giving to every year.”
For its efforts, STANDARD Products has now been named a Platinum Member of the Best Managed Companies in Canada for seven years in a row. STANDARD Products also received the 2018 EFC Marketing Awards Program in the Social and Sustainability Categories for its outstanding work with Habitat for Humanity and the continued efforts of its CSR program.
This year, the company was also recognized for its efforts the previous year by EcoVadis, as part of its CSR ratings program. STANDARD Products was awarded the silver medal – granted to the top thirty percent of businesses around the world – for its accomplishments, having received a score of fifty-two with its CSR efforts; the electrical industry average score is forty-three.
“To us, it was very important to promote to all our stakeholders because we were not making these efforts just to make them. We want to promote and encourage and lead by example and we can do so by promoting what we do,” explained Boulais-Dupas.
Building on this momentum, STANDARD Products hopes to meet with the same level of success it has enjoyed in the Canadian market in the United States. It will continue to focus on improving its diversion rate and increasing its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. “The goal is that whenever we can, wherever we can make a difference to our community, we will do it,” said Mejia.