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    Appointment: Claude Breining has been appointed Commercial Development Vice-President for Schneider Electric

    Claude Breining has taken over commercial development management at Schneider Electric following Bernard Lancian's* retirement.
    The Commercial Development Department reports to the Strategy and Market Development Division.
    Claude Breining, 49 years old, is a graduate of the EDHEC business school (graduated in 1976).
    He began his career with Thomson CSF as assistant management controller (Exterior Works Division). In 1981, he joined Telemecanique, where he was successively a Sales Office Manager in France and Country Manager for Canada. As of 1992, he was successively Country Manager for South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia in Schneider Electric. For the past two years, Claude Breining has been in charge of distribution relations in the France Sales Department.

    * Please find hereafter the interview of Bernard Lancian presenting the years he spent at Schneider Electric.

    Bernard Lancian, Channel Management and Commercial Development Vice-President, is retiring at the beginning of July 2002. He agreed to answer our questions on his sector. He was in contact with many different customers and partners and we would like to inform them that Claude Breining will be replacing him.

    What was your main responsibility in the Channel Management and Commercial Development Department?
    Bernard Lancian: My main responsibility was to develop a consistent business framework for our partners from which to build our sales policy, particularly with regard to our distributors, who are our most important channel to market. We need a distribution policy to cover our market, especially since distribution is itself undergoing major changes. Our traditional distributors are becoming specialized, more professional and are extending their international reach. Rexel and Sonepar are the two leading worldwide electrical equipment distributors, ahead of Hagemeyer and Emundson, among others. It is our role to assist them in their expansion.

    New sales channels are often mentioned. What do you think of them?
    BL: The development of other channels such as DIY, mail order sales and e-business represents new opportunities for growth. We should manage them consistently with our traditional distribution policy, which undoubtedly is a major competitive advantage.

    How are distributors selected?
    BL: They are selected based on criteria such as professionalism, competence and proximity to the customer. The goal is to together optimize the value chain for our end users by pooling our resources to be faster, more global and more competitive.

    What is the difference with implementers?
    BL: The implementers are electricians, panel-builders and contractors, system integrators and OEMs. Our goal is to supply offerings that are as easy to implement as possible. We therefore develop these offerings by making sure that there is consistency between specified products, by offering complete functionality and developing related services.

    How do you imagine commercial development in 2010?
    BL: The constant issue with a sales force always relates to efficiency. Just as we continuously improve our manufacturing efficiency, we should also work on reinforcing efficiency on the sales side. Even though it should be accepted that sales efficiency is more difficult to evaluate because of the human factor, I'll warrant this will be the key to our success in the future!

    I would like to thank everyone and wish you every success in your future projects.