Industry partnerships provide us an opportunity to stay at the forefront of an evolving market and advance our industry as a whole. Southwire strongly supports and participates in industry associations that champion our key customers’ needs. Our partnerships enable us to improve access and sustainability of products and services in the industry by:
- Giving a voice to customers;
- Increasing awareness of our sustainable innovations;
- Assuring product safety and sustainability; and
- Sharing our expertise with policy makers.
Southwire also uses our associations with industry organizations as opportunities for Giving Back to budding apprentices.
Our engineers and leaders work to maintain and create our industry partnerships. In 2015, we proudly participated in the following organizations:
Giving a Voice to Customers
Another goal is to develop and implement a consistent framework that measures and improves customer experience and creates a sustainable competitive advantage by year-end 2017. Consequently, we plan to launch Voice of the Customer in 2016, a new customer service survey that measures satisfaction. Listening to customers helps us maintain industry leadership. As we engage our customers and other industry interest groups through these associations, we request feedback on our products’ performance and identify needs or gaps around products that may or may not exist. For example, Southwire collaborated with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to successfully commercialize EPRI transmission line monitoring technology and substation monitoring systems. By working with organizations like EPRI, Southwire gains insight into the evolving market as well as access to the latest technologies.
Southwire works alongside its peers to provide application expertise for new products, or simply standard products that require some knowledge or training for optimal use. Southwire also makes available various toll-free hotlines for wire and cable applications and provides easy-to-use mobile apps with which users can design wire and cable applications and installations.
Increasing Awareness of Our Sustainable Innovations
Southwire products help eliminate hazards to contractors’ lives; therefore, industry partnerships offer a venue to share our safe and sustainable innovations with end users. In a 2012 brand study, Southwire identified that it did not have strong relationships with younger, less experienced electricians. In late 2014, Southwire entered into a partnership that gained momentum throughout 2015 with the electrical training ALLIANCE (previously called NJATC). This investment in future electrical contractors exposes them to innovative ways to install wire and, ultimately, creates preference among this audience for Southwire products and services.
In 2015, Southwire proudly became one of eight National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Premier Partners. As a premier partner, we have unique opportunities to share how products like the SIMpull REEL™ system and the CoilPAK™ payoff reduce physical strain as well as waste at the job site. Through NECA and the Independent Electrical Contractors, we support Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) and SkillsUSA—programs that train apprentice electricians. By introducing each new generation of apprentices to our products, we maximize our efforts to make the industry safer and more sustainable.
Sharing Our Expertise with Policy Makers
Few are more familiar with the impacts of wire and cable products than Southwire. It is our responsibility to share our knowledge and expertise in the development of new industry policies and standards. Our partnerships improve our ability to connect with the industry’s decision-makers.
Southwire’s customers benefit from our involvement in policy discussions; our knowledge of pending code changes enables us to swiftly alter any soon-to-be non-compliant products. By anticipating these changes, we allot ourselves ample time to implement the appropriate changes to product components or construction. This enables Southwire to supply products to our customers without the interruption or risk of non-compliant or outdated products.
Assuring Product Safety and Sustainability
While our status as an industry leader pushes us to rigorously test our products internally, our industry affiliations help us add an extra layer of assurance to the development of new products—a reflection of our fundamental commitment to safety and quality. When we innovate, we fully understand how our products perform because we test products in partnership with certification companies such as UL. This type of collaboration helps us ensure our products are safe before introducing them to the market.
Giving Back to the Community
Industry partnerships also offer Southwire the opportunity to give back to the community. Through our affiliations with these organizations, we donate time, products, personnel (for training and demonstrations) and our expertise.
We often donate the supplies for continuing education and training events we host with our industry partners such as the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), NECA and JATC. For example, we provide supplies for “wire-offs”—events in which electricians compete to wire systems.
Contractors often have continuing education requirements. To help contractors remain certified, Southwire works in conjunction with our industry partners to host events that count toward those requirements. We also donate employee hours to train contractors through product demonstrations.
Rather than setting a specific goal or target, customer and market needs dictate where and when Southwire engages in industry partnerships. When we do engage in these partnerships, we measure success by tracking product revenue and EBITDA but, as a privately held company, choose not to share this information publicly.