EIS Inc.’s diversification through acquisition and the backing of its parent company, Genuine Parts Company, help make the company a major force in its target markets. “We strive to be a total source to our customers for everything they would need to build a motor, power a data center or repair a transformer,” President and CEO Bob Thomas says. “We tell our customers that we are an extension of their business and a single source for materials when they want them.”
The Atlanta-based company is one of the leading distributors of process materials, production supplies and specialty wire and cable in North America. EIS serves the electrical OEM, motor repair and assembly markets with more than 100,000 products. The company operates 48 branches and seven fabrication facilities totaling more than 700,000 square feet of warehouse space.
“Because we’re across North America, our scope and reach separates us from a number of competitors and our people have technical knowledge of products, devices and applications, which also gives us an advantage,” Thomas adds.
The company’s extensive supplier base also gives it an edge. EIS carries products from many of the country’s most well-known manufacturers including Rea Wire, Elantas, 3M, DuPont, Southwire, Intertape Polymer Group (IPG) and Champlain Cable. “Our top-50 suppliers truly are partners with us,” Thomas says. “We want to be the premier channel for our suppliers to reach the markets they want to serve.”
Acquisitions & Growth
EIS consists of three business units:
- An electrical and electronic materials and supplies business, which offers electrical insulation, wire, solder and other process materials to OEMS as well as electronic assembly manufacturers.
- A fabrication and coating division, which offers services including product engineering, material sourcing, prototyping, converting, laminating, complex printing, custom die-cutting, rotary die-cutting, water jet cutting, laser cutting, assembly and performance packaging. The company also provides materials for thin film and rigid silicon solar panels including tapes, laminates and high-strength acrylic foam tapes;
- A specialty wire and cable distribution division, known as Genuine Cable Group, which offers high-performance wire, cable and wire management products to the marine, defense, transportation, oil and gas, telecom and industrial sectors.
All of EIS’s business units include subsidiary companies it has acquired as part of a diversification strategy. EIS has purchased 10 companies since 2006 to reach out to growth markets and replace business lost as a result of offshore manufacturing migration in its traditional markets, Thomas says.
“I’m proud of the resilience of this business team,” Thomas says. “We’ve gone from being a company that in the early part of the 2000s suffered tremendous shock from changes in the marketplace to reinventing our business and becoming a more important contributor to our parent company’s financial performance. It has been quite a transformation.”
EIS’s specialty wire and cable division is the result of the acquisition of three companies: Seacoast Electric Co., acquired in August 2010; Cobra Wire and Cable, acquired in September 2011; and Electro Wire, acquired in January 2014.
The operations of Fabrico – EIS’s fabrication and coating division – were also enhanced through acquisition. In August 2013, the division acquired Trient Technologies Inc., a contract converter serving the automotive, medical, industrial and aerospace markets.
In November 2013, EIS entered the new material distribution and coating markets following its acquisition of Tekra Corp., an independent coater, converter and distributor of specialty plastic films including those used on touchpad electronic devices and car dashboard displays.
In August, the company purchased Insulation and Wires (IWI) Inc., an Oklahoma City, Okla.-based fabricator and distributor of process materials to the electrical OEM, motor repair and energy markets. IWI’s presence in the oil and gas market in its region and client base – which includes Baker Hughes – made it attractive to EIS, Thomas notes.
EIS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Genuine Parts Co., one of North America’s largest distributors of automotive replacement parts, industrial replacement parts, office products and electrical/electronic materials. EIS is responsible for GPC’s electrical/electronic parts business. GPC’s other main component businesses are its automotive parts group, which includes the National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) brand; an industrial parts group, operating under the name Motion Industries; and its office products group, S.P. Richards Co.
The company takes advantage of its owner’s scale and resources in several ways including leveraging GPC’s existing contracts with business service providers such as those that may offsets its shipping costs. “In many ways, GPC gives us the freedom to run our business like we own it, while also giving us many centralized functions like human resources, payroll and health benefits,” Thomas says.
EIS also looks to its ownership for guidance on ways to improve its efficiency and measure its productivity. EIS’s recent productivity enhancements include employing operations, logistics and supply chain leaders who help it optimize its costs, he adds. q