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2023.06.15 Industry Photo

How Sonepar Supports Industrial Customers in Navigating the Challenges of a Rapidly Changing World


The rapidly changing world of industry

The world of industry is changing rapidly. Gone are the old certainties and incremental progress. Industrial players are now facing an unprecedented range of challenges. There’s stiff competition as globalization continues at pace and countries that once offered basic manufactures move into hi-tech production. Coupled to this is the relentless advance of technology – bringing with it a fourth industrial revolution.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are no longer pipe dreams, discussed on static webpages, but an increasingly concrete reality. Sensors connect and control industrial sites, resulting in streams of data that must be collected, interpreted, and secured.  In parallel, the need for industrial automation (IA) and robots is ever increasing, as the forces at work demand the streamlining of operations, quicker times to market, and the better use of labor.

New technologies mean new challenges

These seismic shifts are felt strongly in the broad range of companies that serve industrial machinery and factories – Sonepar’s industrial customers. They operate across a wide span of settings with high levels of technical skill, in companies that cover a wide range of products, including increasingly sophisticated software, industrial robots, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Theirs is a threefold challenge: to provide solutions to their customers’ needs; to meet the demand for electrification – driven by a move away from fossil fuels; and to manage the skills gap and rapidly changing employee profiles. These companies are looking for partners rather than suppliers – partners who can help them configure the systems they need quickly, source alternatives to solve supply chain issues, and advise them intelligently.

Sonepar: the omnichannel partner for industry success

To meet their challenges, these industrial customers are increasingly turning to Sonepar. In doing so, they benefit from the know-how of a major Group with over €30bn of sales. It’s also the market leader in solutions for these customers, covering some 250,000 of them, with a revenue of over €6bn. Moreover, 30% of Sonepar’s sales now happen online, the Group’s industrial customers will increasingly be able to take advantage of its online platform, Spark, as well as using advisors and configurators that enable them to specify the system they need and obtain a fully personalized solution.   

In an industrial market span where 60% of sales are now accounted for by IA, 20% by software, and 6% by services, Sonepar’s goal is to be both the sector’s benchmark and the trusted partner of its industrial customers. Its approach is both comprehensive and radical – going from the top of the organization to associates on the front line.

A clear strategy to meet customer needs – today and tomorrow

With Sonepar’s Industry leaders rapidly putting in place dedicated organizational and financial architecture, the Group can serve customers more efficiently. In parallel is business transformation, with the aim of becoming a one-stop-shop. Customers benefit significantly from this, whether it’s through the greater involvement of their project managers, or the synergies it’s developing with other companies – especially its Global Strategic Suppliers.

Comprehensive solutions backed by expertise

These strategic aims are implemented at local level and play out in a range of concrete offerings. On software and the IoT, for example, Sonepar is investing in providing data security solutions, tools for predictive maintenance, and product lifecycle management, as well as machine learning and AI. It also offers IA value-added software, including licenses, subscriptions, and training.

This is supported by the Group’s recent acquisitions of Factory Systemes Groupe in France, Autologic Systems in the UK, and Masibus in India. 

Both operate in the rapidly converging space between operational and information technology (OT and IT) – helping meet a key market requirement.

Meeting customers’ needs also means strengthening Sonepar’s in-house capabilities. Sonepar is investing heavily in external training with suppliers like Schneider Electric, Siemens, and Omron, which results in formal competency certification. It’s also developing its own Industry Certification Program, delivered through the roup’s dedicated Academy. This work ensures that customers can rapidly find an associate with expertise on their needs.

The net result of all this? Sonepar supports its industrial customers in navigating their major issues today – through a combination of focused operational and financial architecture, an expanding offering, and close monitoring of its own performance. It’s also a Group that is gearing up heavily to serve industry’s needs tomorrow – through top-level sponsorship, a clear corporate strategy, and real investment in the skills of its people. With Sonepar’s support, industrial customers can, and will, meet their challenges.