What sets your electrical supply operation apart from the big online retailers? The rise of omnichannel retail and mega-e-commerce outlets means electricians can buy their cable, wire, and material handling supplies from pretty much anywhere, often at bargain-basement prices.
But, as a dedicated electrical materials supplier, you have something the big companies don’t: expertise. If you can translate that expertise into services that make your customers’ jobs easier — leading to greater productivity and a clear, demonstrable ROI — you can thrive in a crowded marketplace.
What sort of value-added services? The list is nearly limitless, but confining ourselves just to wire and cable, the following options can help win business for smaller electrical supply houses:
Wire-Cutting to Specification
Electricians in the field rarely have time or equipment to cut cable to specific lengths. By offering pre-cut cable and wire, you help your customers save time in the field and reduce waste.
Compartmentalized Steel Reels
What happens to a wooden reel at the end of a job? Typically, they become just one more piece of job-site litter, requiring time and money to dispose of. Make the leap to reusable steel reels to limit waste for your customers. Add compartments to a single reel, rather than using multiple smaller reels, to save space and keep cable organized.
Why make your customers complete three distinct pulls when they could get the job done with a single effort? Place multiple conductors parallel on the same reel, or on multi-compartment reels, for drastic productivity enhancement during installations.
Striping, Dyeing, and Printing
Aside from a few notable exceptions (like grounded conductors), the National Electrical Code doesn’t organize specific conductors by color. Customers may need specific colors, stripes, or text printed on their order to keep everything organized.
Ideally, from a customer service perspective, suppliers would offer these services for free, truly adding value to the purchase. However, the staff-hours it takes to complete these tasks sometimes overburdens the business, requiring them to charge a fee for extra services, however nominal.
One possible way to reduce the time it takes to complete cable-processing tasks is to use dedicated material handling equipment, along with labor-saving solutions. Parallel Reel Payouts with a Spool Winding Trolley make custom paralleling quicker, producing better-quality reels for delivery. Load storage reels onto one Reel Stand and the delivery reel onto another. Affix the Spool Winding Trolley, lead up to three lines of conductor through it, and load the delivery reel at a rate of one linear foot per second. The Spool Winding Trolley counts this length, ensuring perfect order fulfillment every time — with less waste for the customer. That’s the whole strength of value-added services for electrical supply houses; they save customers time and money, driving loyalty and earning business, even in a competitive environment.
Chichester, A. Lee. “Wire Cutting and Paralleling.” ECMag. Electrical Contractor Magazine, Apr. 2003. Web. 22 Oct. 2018.
Lucy, Jim. “50 Services Your Electrical Distributor Should Offer.” ECMWeb. Informa, 16 Mar. 2018. Web. 22 Oct. 2018.
“NFPA 70: National Electrical Code.” NFPA. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 2017. Web. 22 Oct 2018.