Immediately after the pandemic took hold of the country in March of 2020, nearly every state declared construction to be an essential business. While that was encouraging, since distributors and manufacturers did not have to completely shut down operations, they did have to make some significant pivots to meet the needs of contractor customers, who were working under new conditions.
Henry Kao, Director of Marketing, and Ray Horner, Director of Codes and Standards for Atkore, joined the “DistributED with tED magazine” podcast to talk about how the manufacturer worked with distributors to meet the needs of contractors.
“Together we are bigger than ourselves,” Kao explained on the podcast. “We as manufacturers, distributors, and contractors. We are not in the business of just selling conduit or cable or metal framing, although that is what we do obviously. But we are working with everybody in our industry, both upstream from us and downstream from us, to build something. We are all working together to build telecom, infrastructure, to support communication so we can propel other businesses that lean on it.”
Kao added that at a time when it would be easy to only look out for your own company, Atkore realized the responsibility was much larger than that. “We have an obligation to serve distributors and help them achieve their goals, which is serving their customers, the contractors. That includes providing contractors with the right information they need for the right solution and how to install it,” Kao explained.
Horner said during the podcast that Atkore started developing programs to help distributors and contractors continue to work, and install their products safely. “We try to create the correct partnerships to make sure our products are installed safely. Because of the pandemic, a lot of that is virtual through Teams meetings or through webinars, but we’re still trying to stay active.”
Kao also said it invested heavily in digital tools to help distributors and contractors. “Digital is still big. Everything is digital now and we need to change the way that we live,” Kao said. “Contractors frequently want simple things like spec sheets for submittals, which you can do with our metal framing or cable management resources online. Just setting up the ability to work closely with contractors and give them what they need and give distributors what they need is a big part.
“We are always asked for things beyond that. ‘I’ve got wire baskets selected for my project, and I don’t know what hardware goes with all of these bends and fittings that I selected.’ So there’s an online tool for that with our cable management solutions. And many of those tools that we have can integrate with the distributor sites, so we are creating that so we can build something together and all have transparency across what we are doing,” Kao said.
The entire podcast is now available on all podcast players, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. You can listen to the entire conversation below:Tagged with Atkore, Biggest News, DistributED, podcast