Manufacturers

Make the most of wire and cable sales

By Gary
Thomas

Each year, tED’s
Annual Branding Study identifies the products most commonly carried by its
readership. According to our most recent survey, 95% of electrical distributors
report the sale of wire and cable. But how many are making the most of those
sales?

McDonald’s
fast food chain is often credited with popularizing what is commonly known as
the “up-sell” or “cross-sell” approach.  Routinely, before closing out the
order, the counter order-taker asks if another food item or drink can be added;
market experts claim that significant incremental profits are realized as a
result.

This
technique is particularly applicable to a distributor’s counter sales area.
Rich Buchicchio, region manager for Cicoil (cicoil.com,) pointed out that flat
cable orders for less than standard measures of wire are typically more
profitable because distributors can include labor charges for breaking a reel
and cutting custom lengths. 

Asking if
there is any need for other wire/cable types—such as fiber-optics, coax,
undercarpet wire, or VDV—can also build the order and increase profit dollars.
The same is true for typical wire/cable accessories. Every counterperson should
routinely inquire about accessories that upgrade, hold, attach or terminate
wire and cable. Included in this list are cable trays, duct, track or surface
raceway, crimping tools, standard or compression connectors, jacks, faceplates,
boxes, clamps, clips, tape, relay racks, and tubing.

According to
Greg Lampert, General Cable’s CEO of The Americas (generalcable.com),
distributor sales personnel “aren’t expected to be wire and cable experts,” but
they can solve application problems by asking a few simple questions as to
where and how the product will be used, then work with their supplier to
provide appropriate wire and cable options.

For example,
because distributors know that mass transit authorities are inclined to stress
safety and reliability, they can offer a menu of alternative product
configurations that address those issues, including premium priced LSZH (low
smoke zero halogen), chemical resistant, flame retardant, multi-conductor
cables. Buchicchio noted that technological advancements, like LSZH, have
opened new opportunities in several industries, such as military, medical, oil
exploration and renewable energy where product safety, quality, durability, and
reliability considerations are key.

Renewable
Energy

Pollution,
global warming, acid rain, and other ecological concerns are driving national
efforts to take advantage of renewable energy resources.

Presently,
there are more than 2,000 hydroelectric plants and 45,100 wind turbines in the
United States.  Furthermore, nonresidential solar energy capacity (measured in
megawatts) increased 77% over 2011.

Byron
Lipper, senior global sales manager for CommScope (commscope.com) noted that
integral to sustainable energy systems is grounding protection. “The weight of
copper grounding wire, its tensile strength, and its restrictive pliability can
add cost and installation time to any job,” Lipper pointed out. “A copper-clad
substitute can mitigate those restrictions—and it’s less expensive.”

Fiber-optic
cable also plays an important role in controlling and monitoring data
collection and transmission. It also eliminates electromagnetic interference
(EMI), thus, data degradation or loss is overcome. 

Ultimately,
while sustainable energy projects are limited, there are continuing growth
opportunities for committed distributors and contractors. Being qualified in
power and low voltage technologies will enhance any distributor’s reputation
and overall growth potential, and having adequate inventory to support both
technologies adds credibility.

Electrical
products will necessarily change to accommodate tomorrow’s technologies and
applications, but wire and cable will continue to be an indispensable catalyst
to the pathway on which power and data travel.

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