Industrial Parts, Products Supplier Consolidates Two Divisions in New Space
Although it has passed the half-century mark, Anixter is a stellar example of the new breed of industrial distributor. Not only has the company segmented its markets into four very focused but diverse business units, but it has also blended three key value-added functions-customized supply chain services, technology expertise, and global reach - into its core competencies.
The $6 billion, New York Stock Exchange-listed company has come a long way from the old distribution model of dialing a phone number, placing an order for parts, and giving a shipping address, notes Michelle Allard, Anixter Regional Vice President. "We don't manufacture anything ourselves, but we have very strong partnering relationships with our customers and suppliers, helping them coordinate projects all over the world. Our Sales engineers help recommend solutions based on the application and then provide advice on choosing the right products or systems. We get the products to the destination, often outside the United States, taking care of customs and duties and taxes. We also know how to package and consolidate products into kits to cut down on costs."
These modern-day capabilities sharpen the competitive edge across all four divisions of the company-Aerospace Hardware, Fasteners, Electrical and Electronic Wire & Cable, and Enterprise Cabling & Security Solutions-the latter two of which have a Hacienda presence. Allard runs the local Enterprise Cabling & Security Solutions operation, which here consists of inside and outside sales representatives, Sales engineers, and customer support staff. Her colleague, Jack Maze, heads up a parallel sales and engineering organization as Senior Vice President for the Electrical/Electronic Wire & Cable division, which recently joined Allard's group in new quarters at 4464 Willow Road. A total of 85 employees now occupy the 35,000-square-foot suite, which includes a demonstration lab.
"It's much better for us to have both divisions under one roof," Allard comments about the joint facility. "We provide both network infrastructure and security products as well as Electrical/Electronic Wire & Cable and corresponding services to some of our accounts, which creates a lot more synergy for our business."
While the two groups service a wide swath of northern California, from Marin County to King City, most of their customers are concentrated in Silicon Valley. This proximity makes Hacienda "a great location," she says, although in many instances the sites being supplied are in far-flung corners of the earth. "Getting products to some of these remote areas can be an intricate process, so we offload these responsibilities for our customers. Being global is very rare in this business, but it is one of our core strengths," she emphasizes.
Still, the two groups do their share of work closer to home. Allard's division provided many of the network and security cabling systems that are installed in various buildings in the park. "We worked with the end users to help specify their systems, and then sold the systems to their contractors, who performed the installation," she relates.
Corporate headquarters are in Glenview, Ill., a Chicago suburb close to where the Anixter brothers originally founded the company as a reseller of electrical wire and cable back in 1957. For more information on its history and business units, visit www.anixter.com .
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