Stakeholders from the energy world come together on June 20-24th at the Parc des Expositions in Paris for the 2022 edition of Rexel Expo, organized by Rexel France. A major, unmissable event for professionals in this sector, this year’s edition brings together more than 200 partner manufacturers and experts from Rexel. Faced with the climate emergency and the challenges of sustainable development, Rexel and its partners are presenting the latest innovations in energy efficiency, electric mobility, smart buildings, and connected solutions intended for residential, commercial, and industrial markets. The exhibitors will be demonstrating their capacity to innovate and to meet the energy challenges of tomorrow. Behind the “Innovate to Sustain” slogan is an imperative for eco-responsible development, a key theme for this 2022 edition as well as for the strategy of Rexel’s French subsidiary.
Numerous, diverse, and committed partners
Rexel Expo is a key event in the energy world because it brings together industrial companies and professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds, all driven by a common conviction: that the energy sector is entering a new era. The arrival of a digital economy which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations means significant changes are needed in both energy use and production. As part of this trend, multinational companies and specialized small and medium-sized businesses recognized for the excellence of their products and their commitment to a greener planet have their stands at this year’s edition. Rexel Expo provides a showcase for these emerging companies, which are collectively bringing about change in the industry.
An innovation-themed event
To showcase this wealth of diversity, Rexel Expo 2022 has also decided to innovate in the way the event is organized, by offering demonstrations and activities that encourage more educational, interactive, and even immersive participation. A digital showroom allows visitors to immerse themselves in the exciting world of new energy solutions. This original experience is complemented by thematic stands presenting the latest innovations from Rexel and its partners, not to mention conferences on growing markets led by key experts. Finally, the Rexel Expo 2022 website provides “sample itineraries” by line of trade and by theme to guide visitors and ensure that they don’t miss anything during this rich, packed event.
Thought-provoking meetings and debates
The event also gives the opportunity, while strolling along the different aisles, to discuss, debate, and get information from partners and experts with a variety of skills. The Rexel Expo format values this type of spontaneous and friendly dialogue, which provides an opportunity to learn from one another, favoring comparisons and generating ideas for technical or commercial developments, as it represents a key driver for innovation. The quality, diversity, and number of the participants give these discussions a cross-sector transversality, making this a truly unique and irreplaceable event. By showcasing the views of experts, the Rexel Blog makes it possible to discover and better understand the major themes covered and the innovations not to be missed during Rexel Expo. The event offers a fascinating look into the energy world of tomorrow, that each professional contributes to shaping thanks to their presence, with the support and advice from Rexel teams.
What’s new at Rexel Expo since the last edition in 2019?
As in 2019, Rexel is at the heart of the event but with an even stronger presence. The central aisle leads to the center of the tradeshow where the four market stands present Rexel’s solutions and services. The visitor is then led to the stands of Rexel’s partner manufacturers. All of our products, as well as those of our partners, are showcased in this way. In addition, this 2022 edition is reducing its carbon footprint by using recycled materials for the stands and by paying close attention to waste management.
What are the main themes of the event?
Four main themes are covered by the stands:
What can participants expect at the event?
We will show visitors the products and services that have just become available and also the projects under way. We are presenting new software with a new version of Esabora that integrates configurators, has a new design, and opens up to the Tarifeo catalogue. During the event, we will also be selling version 3 of the Energeasy Connect box, a multi-protocol, open source solution for controlling connected installations offered by Rexel, which makes installation and use much easier. In parallel, we are also launching the paid version of EConnect PRO, which allows professionals to supervise and maintain their connected installations.
What are the projects highlighted throughout the week?
On the projects side, there is the 2025 webshop, presented through 4 themes: its customization so that it becomes a tool adapted and configured for each of our customers; the customer experience, with the concern of making their work easier, particularly thanks to an offer adapted to their needs; we also have a focus on the integration of services; and finally, indicators on the carbon footprint of our products and on the one generated by the activity of our customers with Rexel.
Another interesting activity is the digital showroom. This virtual showroom in augmented reality is a new way for our customers to choose their products, which they will be able to buy in the room where it is installed.
The recognition of electrical panels is also an innovative and impressive project. Based on a photo of the panel taken at the worksite, the professional can identify all the elements that make up the panel, visualize the components to be integrated to bring it up to standard, and place the order directly. The result is greater efficiency and therefore significant time saved.
I wouldn’t be thorough in my explication without mentioning the expert video support, which puts a customer in touch with a Rexel expert in the event of a technical problem in the field.
In the same spirit, but in a more community-based and totally free way, we have created SoWatt, an online platform for electrical and HVAC technicians that supports them on a daily basis.
For all these innovations, we work with our customers to ensure that the solutions we offer meet their needs.
What does “Innovate to Sustain” mean for Rexel?
We want to make it clear that by taking advantage of the innovations offered by Rexel, the professionals who place their trust in us are also entering the world of tomorrow’s energy. Our ambition is to accompany them on all the new markets, to simplify their daily life, to make them aware of new services that they will be able to offer to their customers thanks to training and pre-packaged kits. When I think of new markets, I think of energy optimization and photovoltaics for example. We want to enable our clients to grow their business. “Sustain” also refers to the “sustainable” in sustainable development. The services we offer are designed to help our customers limit their environmental impact. We all live on the same planet and it is up to each and every of us to contribute to its preservation.
What is Rexel’s role in promoting electric mobility and renewable energy solutions for its customers?
We play an information and awareness-raising role. At the stand dedicated to these solutions, the new regulations are detailed, whether they concern electric mobility, renewable energies, energy storage and photovoltaics, the building industry with the Tertiary Decree, or solutions for optimizing and controling energy consumption in buildings. To comply with these new standards, we offer our customers an increasingly wide range of products, as well as pre-packaged, turnkey services and solutions to make it easier to adopt them.
Why did you acquire Freshmile?
Freshmile was acquired in March 2021 and became a subsidiary of Rexel. It is one of the leaders in electric mobility services. Its customers are professionals, particularly owners of charging stations, but also private individuals who need to get around easily with their electric vehicle. Freshmile also simplifies the management of corporate electric vehicle fleets, with a differentiating offering because it provides them with a global solution. This is the best that can be done in this field today. Saint Gobain, Leclerc, and Morbihan Energie testified to this at Rexel Expo.
Has this acquisition accelerated Rexel’s rise in the electric mobility market?
Today, Freshmile directly manages 15,000 charging stations in France, i.e. approximately 20% of the charging stations accessible to the public on the national territory. The Freshmile teams provide remote maintenance, and can call in the professional who carried out the installation if necessary.
Freshmile also provides access to over 150,000 charging points in Europe. Rexel can now supply all the electrical equipment required for the installation and maintenance of an Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (EVCI), as well as the associated services, in a market that doubles almost every year. Here, as is the case for other services, we are not taking the place of the EVCI installers. On the contrary, we support them and we offer them a range of certified training courses, to enable them to access this new booming market.
Does this model apply to other sectors?
Yes, this is particularly true in renewable energy and energy consumption in buildings. We deliver active solutions for optimizing the energy consumption of buildings in order to comply with regulations, which require action plans to be put in place. This gives us the opportunity to offer a new range of products and services, in collaboration with the Inoveha design office. This activity goes hand in hand with the renewable energy activity, which also helps to reduce the environmental footprint of buildings. Whether it’s electric mobility or energy efficiency, we are now focusing our business on services.
How are these solutions received by your customers?
Some of our customers are reluctant to take the plunge. We encourage them to take advantage of the opportunities in these new markets by helping them build their skills and providing them with the right tools to access these markets, including making them accessible to all our customers, not just the large installers. Tougher regulations and rising energy prices are increasing the interest of our customers and we are able to help them take the leap.
How would you define the smart building market?
It’s a market that is undergoing massive changes. Historically, a smart building is a large communicating building, which, thanks to Building Management System (BMS) software, supervises its loads and possibly communicates information to the outside world. Today, smart building solutions are opening up to information technologies and concern smaller units, to offer new services, particularly related to environmental performance. This is a market that is seeing the emergence of a multitude of innovative, agile companies capable of offering high-performance yet standardized solutions, which are therefore much more accessible than the traditional large BMS software packages.
How is Rexel positioned in smart building and related energy efficiency services market?
As an eco-responsible company, Rexel is strongly positioned around the energy transition. It should be emphasized that regulations help us and push our clients to adapt: the Tertiary Decree, adopted in accordance with the Elan Act, imposes ambitious objectives on commercial sector buildings with a floor area of more than 1,000 m²: they will have to reduce their energy consumption by 40% by 2030, 50% by 2040, and finally reach 60% by 2050. In order to calculate these savings, they will be able to rely on a building control system or, more simply, on controling lighting or heating and air-conditioning, but also on local energy production such as photovoltaic energy.
Do you have offers in place for this?
We offer a support service for the optimization and energy management of buildings dubbed, “OPEN”. This service aims to answer a central question: how can we consume better and less? Our offer breaks down into three levels: firstly, we provide legal and technical support to come to grips with the administrative layers of the decree, to define the eligible scope, and to determine what information should be transmitted. At the highest level of our proposal, we place consumption monitoring and analysis; in fact, we carry out an actual audit of the buildings to find sources of energy savings. Then, in the third stage, we market high-performance equipment, whether it be automatic building control systems or, more simply, relamping systems to roll out lighting that consumes less energy. It may also involve developing renewable energies, particularly photovoltaic energy, the potential of which is still significant for commercial buildings.
Are you experiencing issues with product availability?
There are tensions for some equipment, such as photovoltaic panels, inverters, control systems, and many others. But we have a purchasing department that knows how to anticipate orders and an efficient logistics system to overcome such issues. Through a group purchasing system, we enable our customers to obtain favorable financial conditions. Finally, we work with several manufacturers, to optimize product availability. Our customers know that with Rexel’s help they will find the products they need.
Who are Rexel’s partners in smart building?
They are, of course, the historical manufacturers of electrical equipment, but also software publishers and design offices. For example, we have a collaboration with Enoptea, which has energy efficiency management software. We also work with Inoveha, an internal Rexel design office, and many partner design offices throughout France for energy audits. Installers should not be forgotten on this list. We need to work in partnership with them. When necessary, we make them aware of regulatory and technical developments with the help of marketing packages. That way, they become relays to the end customer. The world of smart building is moving away from operating in silos, so we need to work by promoting bridges between the different players and offer solutions that generate economies of scale. For example, there is no need for each installer to develop their own software solution, with the investment that this represents and the cumbersome maintenance to be provided. We offer pre-packaged solutions, with controlled costs and relevant training.
Will your role change in the coming years?
We must realize that, today, the service makes the market. In other words, we have to offer services, and based on those services, we will sell the equipment needed to provide them properly. This change is taking place in a context in which reducing energy expenditure will remain a priority for the years to come and technologies will be in constant evolution. In such a market, Rexel’s expertise makes it a leading player in smart building and not just a simple distributor. We have to keep a constant watch to stay informed on innovations, bring together competent professionals, carry out audits, and make the relevant recommendations, and then be able to sell the necessary equipment. Our role is more than ever to support our clients in these innovative markets.
Fully committed to the energy transition, Rexel offers its customers zero-carbon solutions that help to reduce their environmental impact, while providing high value-added services. Interview with Benoit Ribault, Innovation & Services Project Manager at Rexel France.
Why is the Rexel Group committed to offering increasingly innovative and responsible products and services to its customers?
Several factors guide our thinking and our offer. First of all, there is the evolution of cities: reducing the space allocated to cars, more green spaces, the introduction of low-emission zones: all of these things considerably restrict our customers’ ability to get around in the city. On average, a craftsman spends 15 hours each week in their car. This is not only very time-consuming, but also expensive. So Rexel takes over and comes as close as possible to the worksite, for professionals. Our aim is to provide the right level of service at the right time. In addition, Rexel is committed to an eco-responsible approach and to reducing the carbon impact of our activities, as well as those of our suppliers and customers. Enabling them to reduce their environmental impact is therefore fully in line with our strategy.
What zero-carbon services does Rexel offer?
Several services are already operational, others are in the testing phase. We have rolled out the “Rexel Express” service in Paris and Lyon. From the Rexel website, but also in a branch or by phone, customers can order their equipment and receive it in less than two hours at their worksite, or if they prefer, they can collect it from a branch or from a “Rexel Box” available in our partner Indigo car parks in the Paris region. The customer receives a notification of their delivery which they can track in real time. By the end of 2022, 5 additional cities should be able to benefit from this service, but our ambition in the long term is to be present in urban areas with 50 to 100,000 inhabitants. Today, 60% of last-mile deliveries are made by green vehicles. Our goal is to achieve 100% decarbonized deliveries by 2023, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50%.
We have also launched “My Express Water Heater” (“Mon chauffe-eau express” in French) in the same spirit. This saves the professional time and pollution-causing travel. For example, when a plumber is on-site, they can assess the situation, order the water heater from Rexel, and have it delivered by an electric cargo bicycle. The old water heater is even picked for recycling.
In addition, we are testing an equipment rental service which will also feature deliveries direct to the site. A “Return” feature will pick up the tools. Finally, we are looking at delivery directly to our customer’s car, the concept of “in-car delivery”. The advantage: the delivery can be made at any time, without any constraints for the professional. But I would like to emphasize that we only use permanently contracted drivers, and that there is no place for job insecurity in our services, which aim for a cleaner planet, but also one that is supportive and respectful.
Is there a typical profile for this type of offering?
We see some very different profiles. Customers immediately see the value of our offer because we don’t sell a service, we provide a service. What seems important to me is adapting to the needs and constraints of our customers, hence a multichannel approach. Some like to visit their branch, others prefer a 100% digital route. We have a response suited for everyone. What is certain is that once the service has been subscribed to, our customers do not go back. And we don’t intend to stop there. We have created a first draft of the last mile service by Rexel, but our proposal deserves to be enriched, we can still increase our efficiency.
How does Rexel encourage its customers to make eco-responsible purchases?
We play an important role in recommending and have a responsibility to raise awareness: we have to inform about the regulations and have an impact. A good way to do this is to measure the environmental impact of our customers’ activities in order to provide them with factual information. In this respect, we have created Rexel’s “Carbon Tracker”, which, in collaboration with the ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), makes it possible to develop an environmental display for electrical products. We will thus be able to offer our customers the opportunity to take action on their carbon footprint and reward them for their efforts, in the form of a credit memo or a donation to non-profits. We stand for informed, responsible purchasing.
What about your efforts to limit the environmental impact of your business?
This effort aimed at our customers does not exempt us from working on our own business and on the future of the products we distribute. We promote the circular economy, which allows us to extend the life of the product, but also to give it a second life by reconditioning it, recovering parts, or transforming it. We also work on construction site waste management in partnership with BigBag’n Go. The professional puts their BigBag on the pavement, and BigBag’n Go will come and collect it using Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV), which make it possible to limit carbon emissions and ensure their traceability to avoid any illegal dumping.
What are the main innovations or challenges ahead?
Inflation and the fragility of supply chains, which we are nevertheless managing to persevere, show that we must be thrifty, know how to store energy, and choose energy-saving appliances. This is an environmental responsibility, but it also makes good financial sense. We will therefore continue to commit ourselves to offering decarbonized services to our customers, to providing better information, and to distributing products that have less impact on the planet. All this requires significant investment and awareness on the part of all our partners. This is not so straightforward. For example, at the moment, it is very difficult to find green vehicles for deliveries. But our determination remains intact and our commitments will be upheld.
Si l’expérience client et la proximité sont au cœur de la proposition de valeur de Rexel, l’agence en est l’un des piliers pour nombre de clients. En effet, parallèlement à l’essor du web, les points de contact physiques demeurent incontournables. C’est pourquoi Rexel a tiré le meilleur parti du digital pour imaginer un nouveau format d’agence, plus connectée. Les visiteurs ont ainsi pu découvrir les fonctionnalités de l’application dédiée, améliorant l’expérience sur site : sélection des produits choisis en rayon, guide de comparaison des produits, accès à des prix personnalisés en quelques clics… tout est fait pour faciliter le parcours des clients en agence et réduire les temps d’attente.
Les outils digitaux constituent également une réelle valeur ajoutée pour faciliter le métier des clients du Groupe. Le configurateur en ligne Volt@, par exemple, permet de déterminer le type de câble le plus adapté au besoin et à l’utilisation souhaitée. Il offre un gain de temps évident aux électriciens car il intègre critères de choix techniques, contraintes réglementaires, type de bâtiment visé et usages envisagés. Les visiteurs de Rexel Expo ont pu se familiariser avec cet outil et s’en approprier le fonctionnement sur le stand dédié.
Parce que la notion de service fait partie intégrante de l’expérience client, nos collaborateurs s’y engagent au quotidien. Découvrez en images et en un mot leur vision du service by Rexel.
Cette édition de Rexel Expo a également été l’occasion d’affirmer concrètement les engagements développement durable du Groupe.
Bertrand De Clermont Tonnerre, Directeur Développement Durable Groupe, s’exprime à ce sujet :
Et pour finir, ce sont nos clients qui parlent le mieux de nous.