Herbert Willmy

To deliver greater value to our customers, we have set our sights on enhancing our skills and the service we offer. Every day, we confront and meet that challenge.”

We operate in markets that are undergoing major change, due to growing technological complexity and the impact of digital. So in addition to delivering top-quality logistics service, we also have to provide our customers with more information, advice, technical studies and training.

Moving away from our initial full-service approach, we have expanded our product offers and created more specialized staff functions. We have trained some of our people in lighting, others in industrial supplies, still others in HVAC or power distribution. We have even set up special-focus technical departments that conduct studies to assist our customers.

We operate in markets that are undergoing major change, not only due to growing technological complexity, but also, and more importantly, because of digital’s impact across the entire economy.

The Group has opted for a faster pace, buying up specialty companies with leading-edge capabilities in particular areas. In doing so, we provide our staff with more advanced technical support, and our customers with assistance on complex construction or design projects.

The task we face is to disseminate and obtain rapid market uptake for innovations as a way of increasing value added for everyone along the value chain. For Sonepar, that means multiple opportunities for growth, which are jointly identified by local staff and Sonepar International Services (SIS) as they work together with our suppliers.”

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“The people at Sonepar seem to keep a pulse on markets and market trends, as well as on customers and customer needs. The new technology they propose is always the very latest and extremely helpful.”

“Sonepar’s main added value is that they always try to satisfy customers by proposing innovative automation and industrial installation solutions.”

“Sonepar is a solid group with global stature and tremendous experience, and it works closely with its customers.”

Our markets

the best solutions
to our customers


Sonepar is constantly adapting to better serve its markets and customers. A never-ending challenge.

Sonepar constantly faces the same challenge: to provide at all times, in all places and to all of its customers the best products, solutions and services to fit their needs. And that challenge is increasingly complex. Sonepar serves a wide variety of markets that are evolving, broadening (as a result of acquisitions) and subject to economic conditions that may or may not be favorable. Moreover, Sonepar’s customers are many and varied. Lastly, the Group continues to operate worldwide, in diversified markets whose maturity levels are varied and in a wide range of cultures.

Key figures 2015

  • 1,000,000 Order lines per day
  • 100+ Central warehouses
  • 900,000+ B-TO-B Customers served worldwide

Providing the best service

Sonepar relies on its many strengths. Its decentralized organization enables the Group to respond more quickly and closely to the expectations of its markets; multiple distribution channels ensure efficiency in handling customer requests; the development of paperless solutions, e-commerce and integrated procurement systems saves time and money; and Sonepar’s efficient logistics, with centralized warehouses and automated platforms, ensures product availability, flexibility in ordering and rapid delivery.

Let’s follow the path of an order. Before placing an order, customers can obtain information and advice from the in-house sales advisors, websites, support staff, consulting teams and training programs. Once customers have made their choice, they can order products and services in person at a branch, over the phone, via a webshop or by following paperless procedures.

Simplicity for customers

This ensures that customers will always be able to find what they need. The same goes for availability: every branch is equipped to make 5,000 items immediately available. Furthermore, every distribution center stocks between 25,000 and 100,000 items, thus enabling the Group to prepare one million order lines per day. The delivery will then be arranged, usually for the next day, if necessary by providing innovative solutions such as night-time load lock chambers, secure containers or direct delivery to specific locations on large construction sites. There are several payment options compliant with the relevant country legislation, including secure online solutions. Complex and rigorous logistics for Sonepar mean simplicity for its customers.

“I can now place my own orders for my business and know they will be delivered overnight. It’s a real time-saver that allows me to stick to my schedule and ensure my customers are satisfied.”

“Sonepar’s added value? The best logistics, availability and technical support. The company simplifies everyday life for its customers.”

“We chose Sonepar for the quality of their services: expert guidance in the choice of materials and equipment, quality support and appropriate technical advice. Not to mention fast delivery.”

customers save time at
our branches


Sonepar redesigns branches, provides e-commerce solutions and develops mobile applications.

New technology, changing markets, increasingly complex products that give rise to high value-added solutions, and product innovation are among the many factors affecting the business activity of Sonepar customers. To meet their needs, the Group operates a dense, global network of branches offering human contact, which is as essential as ever today. Customers can get in-depth information, advice and expertise at those locations. In addition, we operate self-service branches where customers have direct access to all items in stock—but also to an Advisory Desk and dedicated salespeople. A Sonepar branch is also the place to meet with both suppliers and the installers who use their products.

These solutions are designed to make life easier for customers and assist them as they expand their business.


At the same time, the Group promotes constant connection with customers. This gives customers easy, real-time, around-the-clock access to information on product availability, delivery time frames and prices, and to the information they need to confidently order products. Sonepar has accelerated the development of its e-commerce systems and new mobile applications in ways that reflect emerging styles of work and the increasingly paperless character of trade, orders and payments. We embrace the digital transformation of our business as a strategic priority, because it will enable us to serve our customers more and more effectively.

“We’ve been working with Sonepar for fifteen years. They offer the widest range of equipment and have lots of products in stock. They also deliver orders faster than almost any other wholesaler.”

“Sonepar’s added value includes commitment to the customer, flexibility and responsiveness. For example, when we have a special need, they cater to that need, even outside their usual store hours.”

“It’s a pleasure to work with a company that not only welcomes and understands customer requests, but also adds value to those customers with innovative ideas and solutions.”

and services for
our customers


As markets and products become increasingly complex, there is an increasing need to facilitate customers’ product knowledge— and help them choose the right solution.

In parallel to a growing number of branches, Sonepar has developed a three-tier approach for responding to customer needs. Showrooms, technical assistance and dedicated training programs all deliver additional support. Sonepar’s showrooms are dedicated spaces for displaying project designs and presenting the interconnected elements of innovative project-specific solutions, for example, functional lighting systems for a built structure and energy-saving systems. The Group also exhibits at trade shows and organizes its own exhibitions and shows.

Disneyland amusement park, Shangai, China
Disneyland amusement park, Shangai, China

Sonepar’s technical teams are constantly on hand to assist customers with the design and implementation of complex projects. Training keeps their skills up to date and they work closely with manufacturers. They offer advanced services in specific areas such as lighting, heating, air conditioning, industrial processes and controls, home automation, telephony, building management and energy efficiency.

The technical complexity of integrated and interconnected solutions entails a need for customer education. Sonepar passes on the training provided by its suppliers and offers its own courses, which take place either on suppliers’ premises or at Sonepar branches. Every possible measure is taken to give customers tailored support, and help them develop their business and make the right choices and decisions.

“Customer support before, during and until the end of a project is the strength of the Group.”

“Sonepar makes the difference with the team they have assembled to support our business. Sonepar employs technical support personnel that have a sound fundamental understanding of the products that are being distributed, and they can provide technical expertise when required. The Sonepar staff understand our business and they provide us with the tools we need to be successful.”

for our customers


Accompanying customers as their business expands, developing new solutions for the industry, offering innovative services: that is Sonepar’s winning formula.

Integrated supply chains for customers

Seeking to make our customers’ lives easier, we assist them in streamlining their procurement processes and their systems for stock and inventory management. Sonepar has developed integrated supply chain management services for this purpose, helping companies improve their quality of service while reducing costs. With full-service and specialty catalogs, dedicated websites, on-site inventory management or by taking full responsibility for the client’s entire supply chain, the objective of the Group remains the same: excelling at how we serve our customers.

Beginning with a joint effort to define the customer’s expectations and analyze existing processes, the customer selects the solution best suited to their needs. Implementation of that solution is then monitored using management dashboards to evaluate delivery on commitments. IDG and Hagemeyer in the USA and Asia are expert in this approach. The customer advantages are self-evident—a single source of supply with clear quality-of-service commitments, dedicated expertise and cost savings.

Key Figures 2015

  • 600+On-site customer branches*

*In addition to a network of 2,800 sales branches

Mobile units for testing protective equipment

In the United States, Irby has developed a set of solutions tailored to meet the needs of customers operating in utilities, power distribution, manufacturing and the construction industry. The personal protective equipment used in these industries is required to pass stringent safety and insulation tests. Irby installs mobile testing units for such equipment on customers’ sites, delivering follow-up reports and test certification. Benefits to the customer include team safety, less inventory, time and cost savings. Reinforcing its position in the U.S. market, in 2015 the Group acquired the ELTG dielectric test laboratory that operates either on-site or out of mobile units.

Closely supporting our customers’ major projects

Technische Unie (TU) in the Netherlands resolves the supply and storage problems of construction companies running projects in complex or restricted environments. Working in close partnership with customers and taking site specificities into account (e.g., tall versus elongated buildings, commercial versus industrial sites, classified defense areas), the company delivers products directly to designated site areas.

In Malaysia, KVC saves customers time and generates goodwill by using a mobile truck-based demonstration stand. Products suited to the customer’s needs are presented on-site.

Vallen Proveedora in Mexico uses impressive trailers resembling mobile homes to install its security, maintenance and repairs service on-site for its major industrial customers. Bringing the warehouse, the workshop and the office directly to wherever the customer needs them, this all-in-one solution, along with an ERP system for monitoring and checking inventories and shipments, is particularly valued in the oil, gas and mining sectors.

“Sonepar’s added value is support. They have a complete portfolio of products and solutions offering responses to our needs on project, large and small.”

“Sonepar’s added value? A wide range of products in stock at their logistics centers, with no waiting time or pre-ordering required. Plus highly professional customer support.”

“Sonepar? They have practically everything in stock!”