Alpha Wire has been making successful connections with customers for more than 90 years, and it continues to make new ones by introducing new products and helping its customers survive in an increasingly globalized marketplace. According to Director of Marketing Tim Howlett, Alpha Wire and its network of dedicated distributors around the world are looking forward to another 90 years of serving various industries with innovative new products such as its EcoGen line of eco-friendly wires and cables.
The company was established in 1922, hitting its stride in the 1930s by producing wire and insulation for radio antennas. As World War II and the following peacetime economic boom increased the country’s need for electronics, Alpha Wire continued to grow. Today, Alpha Wire serves numerous customers around the world with wire, multi-conductor cables, tubing and other related products. Howlett says the company’s customers typically use its products for either heavy industrial power solutions or in electronic applications, with the majority on the electronic side. These applications include military control systems, medical equipment and semiconductor capital equipment.
Although Alpha Wire faces a great deal of diversified competition in the marketplace, Howlett says the company has the strengths in place to help keep it at the forefront of the industry. In addition to having the largest selection in the marketplace, Howlett says the company’s partnerships with its distributors are one of the most important elements of its success. Combined with the company’s drive for innovation, this provides Alpha Wire with a strong foundation for the future.
Leading the Way
Innovation is one of the key differentiators Alpha Wire brings to the marketplace, Howlett says. The company’s capabilities allow it to devote considerable resources to the development of new products, as well as create customized products. Howlett says Alpha Wire has a broad range of stock wire and cable products in quantities as small as 100-foot reels. “Products that are custom for other people are standard for us,” he says. “We’re not the type to take an order for 200,000 feet with an eight- to 10-week lead time.”
The company’s innovative thinking also led to Alpha Wire’s recently introduced EcoGen line of products. These eco-friendly wire and cable products contain no halogens, phthalates or heavy metals, allowing manufacturers to meet stringent requirements for the reduction of hazardous substances and recyclability. Howlett says the EcoGen line also provides customers with significant cost and space savings compared to wires and cables made with PVC because they are smaller than the dominant standard.
The other half of Alpha Wire’s formula for success is its network of distributors. Howlett says the company’s products are sold exclusively through its distributors, many of which have been working with Alpha Wire for a long time. That means Alpha Wire and its distributors have built up a high degree of trust, which Howlett says is crucial in terms of serving customers. He says many manufacturers will go to distributors when they have excess capacity, only to go back to selling direct when orders increase. Alpha Wire, on the other hand, not only has the stability to maintain good distributor relationships but also works closely with them to give them peace of mind. “We’re going to stick to our guns, and they know that,” Howlett says.
Its distributor network is essential for Alpha Wire’s success because the increasing demands of globalization mean that its customers’ supply chains are always in flux. As Alpha Wire’s customers enter new international markets, their supply chains need suppliers to have significant infrastructure in those markets to develop the scale required to serve emerging economies. Howlett says Alpha Wire’s distributors are skilled at establishing infrastructure and therefore make it easy for Alpha Wire to serve customers in those developing economies.
These strategies have served Alpha Wire exceptionally well over the last few decades as it has grown into a major international player, and the company continues to expand. Howlett says it continues to become more intelligent about the specific applications it aims to serve, and has become more targeted in terms of where to allocate its assets. As long as Alpha Wire continues to lead the industry in terms of innovation and maintain strong ties to its key distributors, Howlett says, the company is on solid ground.