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Since starting outside of Chicago in 1957, Anixter has been striving to redefine distribution based on their customers’ needs. The original premise of value-added wire and cable distribution back in 1957 was to “buy by the mile and sell by the foot,” just what the customer needed, an industry first. That innovative mentality has continued to where Anixter is now the leading global distributor of communications infrastructure, specialty wire and cable, security and OEM supply fastener products. Anixter is a Fortune 500 company that is publicly traded with 2013 sales of $6.2 billion.

Although Anixter continues to provide the basic fundamentals of distribution — moving products from point A to point B — it has also added technical engineering assistance and innovative supply chain support for its customers around the world. 

Global Expertise

Anixter has locations in more than 280 cities and a technical staff around the world that can assist customers across the complete sales cycle, from design to implementation. Anixter can leverage its technical team, its labs and its select portfolio of world-class manufacturers to help create solutions that meet customers’ needs. Anixter’s understanding of technical and deployment challenges enables projects to be completed on time and under budget. Whether recommending an integrator or coordinating products to multiple countries in different time zones, Anixter understands that global reach with an on-site presence fills a unique gap for multinational customers. It works with top-tier suppliers, integrators and end-users to deliver a singular integrated experience.

“Anixter assists customers who may not necessarily know exactly what they need, who require customized solutions or support, or who may be updating existing or deploying new technologies,” Senior Vice President of Global Solution Marketing Randy Mortensen says.

In North America, Anixter’s broad warehouse network allows it to get material to most cities overnight via ground, without the expense of airfreight. Anixter’s presence in Canada includes eight of the country’s 10 provinces. 

Anixter is also the largest distributor of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean, with sales offices in all of the primary countries. In the EMEA marketplace, Anixter has a local presence in 22 European countries. Asia/Pacific continues to be a growth market for Anixter, as it is expanding its presence in India, China and other emerging countries.

Anixter is targeting markets that have similar profiles to its existing business. Those include large and fragmented industries driven by long-term global trends such as data and technology growth, security concerns, energy production and infrastructure spending. Anixter is investing in key initiatives such as industrial communication and control, security and in-building wireless. In fact, earlier this year, Anixter  announced it had expanded its product and customer portfolio with the acquisition of Tri-Ed.

Headquartered in Woodbury, N.Y., Tri-Ed is a leading independent security distributor that services customers out of more than 60 locations across North America and provides security dealers and integrators with products and solutions from the industry’s leading manufacturers of video surveillance, access control, fire and life safety, and intrusion.

Tri-Ed serves four major segments of the security business including video, access control, intrusion detection and fire/life safety, and it provides approximately 110,000 products to more than 20,000 active dealer and integrator customers. The company employs more than 600 people across its 63 locations in the U.S. and Canada. The company’s multi-channel distribution strategy integrates branches, technical sales centers and an e-commerce platform. Tri-Ed generated approximately $570 million in sales and $36 million in adjusted EBITDA over the trailing twelve months ending June 30, 2014. 

“The acquisition of Tri-Ed is a strategic opportunity for Anixter and our security business, consistent with our vision to create a full-line global security platform and to accelerate profitable revenue growth,” said Anixter’s President and CEO Bob Eck. 

By expanding its offering into highly complementary product lines, Anixter’s customers will benefit from a broader set of products and solutions in the areas of video, access control, fire/life safety, and intrusion detection. On top of that, the combination brings Anixter’s expertise in IP video surveillance to Tri-Ed’s customers. 

“In addition, this transaction provides access to the residential construction end market at an attractive point in the recovery cycle as well as to a community of security integrators and dealers not currently serviced by Anixter,” Eck added.

Products with Service

As Anixter’s global footprint has expanded, the company has also grown its product portfolio. With a current global footprint that includes more than 7 million square feet of warehouse space and approximately $1 billion in inventory, Anixter carries more than 100,000 diverse products. Those products include everything from network cabling solutions, video surveillance and access control for the enterprise and security markets to power cable, control cable and multi-pair cable in the wire and cable market, as well as various fasteners and small components designed for the OEM supply market.

The company strives to provide innovative supply chain solutions to support the products it sells. The goal of these solutions is to help customers minimize risk, time and cost while increasing overall efficiencies. Cutting to length was a core service Anixter provided to customers in its beginnings, but today, Anixter’s supply chain solutions have evolved into sophisticated, customized solutions, which vary based on the customer or application. 

For example, Anixter can assist in rolling out a standards-based technology refresh to data centers across multiple countries, transacting in local languages and currencies, and providing recommendations for local installers. Anixter offers a wide range of services to streamline project deployments such as technical support, e-business integration, asset tracking, Anixter Data Center and Security HealthChecks, and kitting and packaging to help meet sustainability goals and financial services needs. 

Anixter’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. This fall, Anixter received the prestigious Control Design magazine’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Award. Anixter was selected as a leader in Service and Support for Wire and Cable by the publication’s readership, highlighting Anixter’s core service value to the manufacturing industry.

Anixter’s recognition by the industrial controls market demonstrates the company’s continued dedication to quality and customer service. Anixter’s service offerings are aimed at reducing cost, risk and complexity in its customers’ business. The available solution offerings provided by the company include preassembly and kitting, product enhancement, and cable preparation services.

Technical Value

In addition to its UL-verified Infrastructure Solutions Lab in Glenview, Ill., where technical experts push the boundaries of technology and solutions, the company expanded its global presence through its satellite Solutions Briefing Centers. These facilities allow customers to discuss needs and assess product choices before they are deployed in their environment. With an increasingly global customer base, Anixter has seen the growing need to address technological challenges in different regions as essential to meeting customers’ requirements. 

In fact, the Infrastructure Solutions Lab is at the center of Anixter’s worldwide collection of labs and Solutions Briefing Centers that research, test and evaluate products to help customers meet their current and future application challenges. The world-class research and educational center encompasses more than 4,000 square feet where Anixter’s technical experts push the boundaries of technology, products and solutions.

“At The Lab, we work to evaluate, demonstrate and educate. We bring customers in so they can see first-hand the products and technologies they are considering. The applications and solutions highlighted in The Lab include industrial communications, enterprise networks, wireless solutions, data centers and physical security,” Mortensen says. “We do this so we can address our customers’ toughest infrastructure challenges while meeting their current and future application needs.”

Anixter’s labs have helped thousands of customers make informed purchasing decisions. In one example Anixter worked with a leading global technology firm to evaluate solutions for a physical access control deployment. By visiting Anixter’s Infrastructure Solutions Lab, the customer and its integrator partner determined the technology approach they were considering would not meet their long-term global strategy. By leveraging Anixter’s Lab and technical experts, they were able to identify a solution that would scale with their organization globally to meet their long-term requirements and save money.

In addition to the Infrastructure Solutions Lab, Anixter also has accredited quality labs to support its OEM businesses by providing design support for highly engineered components as well as independent investigation and product verification. Anixter also offers full manufacturing capabilities for its OEM supply fasteners business at its Wood Dale, Ill., manufacturing facility.

Strong Culture

One thing that has not changed over the years is Anixter’s culture. The company is guided by a set of philosophies and beliefs that its founders documented in 1968 after the firm went public. “The Blue Book” outlines Anixter’s relationships with customers, suppliers and employees, establishing a “customers first” focus and an adaptable, open and productive culture.

Anixter’s founders developed the Blue Book more than 45 years ago to present the beliefs and ethos that define its business style. Although Anixter has grown and changed dramatically since it was established, Anixter’s commitment to the values presented in the Blue Book has remained constant.

Now in its 32nd printing, the Blue Book continues to represent the “Anixter way” in how Anixter thinks about its business and behaves with customers and suppliers. The simple, to-the-point philosophy in the Blue Book has been central to Anixter’s success through the years. 

Anixter also believes it is important to support its communities. The Anixter Cares foundation supports charitable organizations such as the Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and the American Diabetes Association. The company supports employee participation in charitable efforts through matching gifts and time off to volunteer. Anixter is also a participant in the United Nations Global Compact as part of its commitment to ethical and sustainability practices.

One example of Anixter’s commitment to its communities came about earlier in 2014 when the company joined forces with Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity to address the growing housing poverty crisis throughout the Chicagoland area. Central to the effort was a major house build event that began on Thursday, May 29 alongside busy Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago and continued through Sunday, June 1. Twenty Anixter employees participated in the house build, while booth volunteers encouraged passersby to “post a selfie” and “like” Anixter on the company’s Facebook page; in turn, Anixter donated a dollar for every new posting. Anixter employees globally were also encouraged to participate.

“At Anixter, we’re excited to be part of this experience – not only as a corporate sponsor but also as individuals, wanting to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Anixter’s Executive Vice President – Finance and CFO Ted Dosch.

Anixter plans to continue to deliver products, services and solutions by partnering with best-in-class manufacturers and providing customers with quality interactions. By focusing on reducing customers’ risks and costs, Anixter will continue to redefine what distribution truly means.

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