Globalization of Supply
May 20, 2015
Thomas Friedman helped us all understand that “the world is flat” in his 2005 book of the same name. Over the last 10 years that has become so true for IEWC and for our customers.
In that time we have expanded our footprint – from 5 US locations to 22 locations in key business centers around the globe – and we will very likely expand further in the next months to nearly 30 locations. This expansion has already been very impactful for both IEWC and for our customers.
Yet there is still another wave of change to come and that wave is the trend toward localization of supply.
To date IEWC’s global expansion has been primarily to serve US-based customers who have specs and purchasing history with our regular US suppliers. US supply to US-based customers in different countries has been quite a natural place for us to start our global expansion.
But the nature of today’s global economy is a steady drumbeat that calls out for localization of supply. Among other things, our customer base is expanding and now includes customers who are domestic to the countries in which we have new locations. Those customers have different historical supply partnerships. The bigger revelation, however, has been with our traditional US-based customers. They are responding to global economic trends and increasingly looking to source high quality, low cost product that is made as close to their assembly and manufacturing locations as possible.
IEWC has been responding to this call from our customers in a variety of ways. We have commissioned Matt Herbers as IEWC’s Global Sourcing Director and he has travelled the world at the leading edge of this localization movement. Additionally, as we have made international acquisitions, those acquired companies outside the US have brought their own stable of supply partners. Now we are on the verge of an acquisition that could get us even deeper down the trail of local supply.
We are well aware of the upstream actions of wire and cable suppliers seeking to extend their reach into new geographies, products and markets. The consolidation of manufacturers here in the US and in Europe has been quite remarkable. Companies like Prysmian, Nexans, Southwire and General Cable are jockeying for position, as each goes about acquisitions and grass roots investment that will sustain them.
IEWC’s traditional stakeholders include both customers and suppliers. Our customers are now telling us we need to make sure we choose the right suppliers for the right solutions. And if IEWC does anything consistently, it is to listen to the voice of the customer.