Allied Awarded Family Owned Business Award

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We are proud to announce that Allied Wire & Cable has won the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Family Owned Business Award for the Best Medium Sized Business in Philadelphia and it’s surrounding areas. This is Allied’s third year of winning achievements in this specific award category.

Company Co-owner, Tim Flynn, was also invited to discuss his successful business philosophy during a special panel at this year’s 2018 award ceremony. There he spoke at great lengths about his guiding motto… “Common sense before dollars and cents.” Here is a brief excerpt from the panel.

Tell us your story

Allied Wire & Cable was started with my two brothers and friend Chris Burke in 1987 in my parents’ basement in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Like many entrepreneurs, we had limited resources but big dreams and an unbeatable work ethic. We had to – because we were responsible for sales, marketing, purchasing, operations, invoicing and collections. Our parents helped us with billing, operations and fed us nightly or, most likely, we would have starved. Today, our Allied Wire & Cable family has grown to almost 300 team members. We have locations throughout the country and have received two presidential awards for business excellence. We have always known that, if you treat people well, great things can happen. We are blessed with a great group of team members who work with us and care deeply about the company. This is one of the biggest reasons Allied Wire & Cable still prospers.

We were taught early in our lives to help the less fortunate. If you can’t give money, give some of your time to help make a difference. I am delighted to say Allied Wire & Cable has given millions of dollars back to the community, supporting organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and providing scholarships for at-risk Greater Philadelphia youths. Recently, we raised $65,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

What is your biggest challenge and how are you working to overcome it?

Our biggest challenge has been finding and hiring good people. We are offering bonuses internally to team members who help us recruit good individuals. We also use recruitment services, ads, signs—anything that draws in prospective employees.

What is the proudest moment in running a family business?

I have so many to share over a 30-year career. One of our highlights is when we could finally afford to move out of my parents’ basement. After four years in our parents’ basement, we moved to Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, in an old 10,000-square-foot warehouse in which built our own offices.

Why should readers patronize family businesses in the region?

Family businesses care. They care for their employees; they care for their customers; and they care about the community.

As a Family Business of the Year winner, what is your family business motto?

This is the motto we have been using since we came up with it in 2008 during the last recession. This motto shows why we are better than most companies:

“Common sense, not dollars and cents.”

We do what it takes to make you successful.

Allied Wire and Cable Is Primed to Meet Demand for 5G Networks

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5G networks, which promise to deliver faster internet access on mobile devices, are coming to select U.S. markets such as Houston as early as this year, with nationwide availability rolling out in 2020. Allied Wire and Cable is a key player in this 5G technology revolution, providing cables to companies constructing parts for cell phone towers that will soon be used by the nation’s wireless service providers.

5G Networks to Boast Blazing Speeds, Changing How Technology Is Used

5G is short for fifth-generation mobile and represents the next evolution in wireless communications technology. Touted as offering the next generation of internet speeds, folks can expect 5G internet download speeds that are at least 10 times and as much as 100 times faster than 4G capabilities. One description of what this kind of speed looks like to an internet user is to picture a movie that takes a few minutes to download on a 4G LTE network today taking only seconds to pull down from the cloud using 5G internet’s blinked-and-you-missed-it speeds.

What these 5G internet speeds could mean is a complete transformation in the way people utilize and engage with technology. Some have envisioned cities better managing electrical grids and energy consumption as well as vehicular traffic flow. Some have illustrated that sensors on 5G-connected water mains, for example, could tip off water authorities about leaks far before pipes burst. Another example highlights smart streetlights, which could lead drivers to empty parking spaces. In the home, many more smart devices utilizing inexpensive transmitters and cloud-based apps, known as the Internet of Things, will be launched. Imagine ingestible health monitors and the rise of smart clothing in the same way stretch clothing has taken over the fashion industry.

Allied Wire and Cable Is an Attractive Company for Helping Build 5G Networks

Allied Wire and Cable is providing multiple wireless providers with first-rate solutions and speedy turnaround times for their 5G networks. With the race on to get 5G networks in place for mass consumer use, cell phone providers are attracted to companies with reputations for providing outstanding quality, service and pricing as well as industry-leading shipping speeds.

Since late May, Allied Wire and Cable began leasing 34,000 square feet adjacent to its Collegeville, Pennsylvania, headquarters. In this space, team members are cutting and shipping hybrid copper and fiber optic cables for use in terminated assemblies for cell phone towers for a major wireless service provider. Allied Wire and Cable is ready to meet the call and scale up production to serve more wireless service providers.

The company developed five years ago a unique fiber optic cable featuring a copper tape shield for ground lightning protection. This special copper tape shield cable isn’t utilized for shielding purposes but for lightning protection. Soon afterward, Allied Wire and Cable made major inroads in building components for cell phone service providers when an Allied Wire and Cable partner company created a “plug-and-play system” to build cell phone towers. This system enabled fiber optic cables to be placed in terminated assemblies, which are part of cell phone towers. Before the advent of this system, contractors would connect the fiber optic cables on site.

The Building of 5G Networks Is Foreseen to Be a Lucrative Business

The cell phone tower business is going gangbusters. About 300,000 new cell phone antennas will be installed for 5G networks in the United States. This number equals the number of cell phone towers built in the country in the past three decades. This many new cell phone towers are needed, industry leaders say, because 5G technology’s high-frequency waves are faster but travel smaller distances compared with existing cell phone towers. All this comes with a hefty investment. Deploying 5G technology in the United States will cost as much as $200 billion a year for the next five to 10 years.

Getting 5G networks’ capabilities into the hands of cell phone and gadget users as well as all the industries 5G internet is poised to transform will require coordination of federal, state and local governments. The Federal Communications Commission is making available radio frequencies that 5G uses, and Congress green-lighted legislation to stimulate 5G deployment on federal properties.

Even in 2018, almost 20 million Americans still are not able to tap into broadband internet. For all the high-tech ways 5G technology is projected to change the world, 5G networks might finally bridge the digital divide as well as give consumers more choices in the services they use to access the internet.

For more than 30 years, Allied Wire and Cable has helped power the world. Now the company is instrumental in the 5G revolution and equipped to serve companies requiring wire and cable products for 5G cell phone towers.

Jim Thivierge: ‘With Shipping Accuracy, We’re Practically Perfect’

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Jim Thivierge, vice president of Operations, who joined Allied Wire & Cable in 2006, is interviewed for Word on the Wire, a series celebrating Allied Wire & Cable’s 30ish anniversary.

I started at Allied in November 2006 at the warehouse in Merrimack, New Hampshire. I was the warehouse manager there, and I had just come over from Anixter, where I had worked for many years. I was at this location for about three years. The company gave me the offer to come down and serve as vice president of operations, and I’ve been down here at headquarters since June 2009.

When I came to Collegeville, 80 percent of this warehouse was just racking. There were big, huge aisles. They were 12- to 15-foot-wide aisles. It wasn’t the best use of space. At the time, there was no addition in the back of the original building, no building across the street and no space next door.

My first order of business here was to look at the space and how we were using it. I was to look at what our productivity was and what our manpower was and focus on what was going to be the next evolution in laying it out. Up until 2016, every year or two, we’d reconfigure the space for growth. It’s been a constant evolution in the warehouse to continue to get more space to expand production.

It’s hard for a lot of people to be able to conceptualize what a space needs to look like from what it is. Spatial acuity is something I’ve always been good at. I’ve always enjoyed puzzles. Tetris is one of my all-time favorite video games. When I look at spaces, they just make sense to me.

All of Allied’s satellite locations are my responsibility. I’m responsible for all facilities and all assets and inventory at all the company’s locations. I try to get out to each location yearly and also touch base with local managers during weekly Monday meetings and throughout the week as well. I helped with layouts for the buildings, but they’ve evolved. As far as layouts, efficiency and productivity, it’s up to the local managers to make sure these areas are covered. With our Wisconsin location, we started making significant changes when we bought the building last year.

Allied Wire and Cable warehouse in 2010

The Allied Wire and Cable warehouse at the company’s headquarters in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, in 2010, seen in this photograph, wasn’t maximized to its space potential. The facility has undergone several transformations so the Operations team can best meet the needs of the company’s customers. Allied Wire and Cable has achieved a “practically perfect” shipping accuracy with Jim Thivierge, vice president of Operations, at the helm.

With shipping accuracy, we’re practically perfect in every way. That’s a Mary Poppins reference. When I was at one wire and cable company, if your shipping accuracy was down to within 3 to 4 percent, you were exceptional as a facility. My job was to stay under that. I see that 2 to 3 percent returns seems to be a common theme that crosses many industries. We don’t believe that here at all. We’re at 99.9 percent shipping accuracy.

Mondays are probably my most consistent days. I spend most of my day in my office going over beginning-of-the-week reports and looking at our logs and sales increases. As the week progresses, I spend less and less time in my office and more time out on the floor, working with the managers and leads on rolling tickets.

On Fridays, I’m mostly out on the floor, interacting with team members. I’m a big fan of MBWA, or Management by Wandering Around. I wander. I look at tickets and peripherally watch what people are doing and whether they’re following our processes. One of the things I do is look for, not right or wrong, but for something that doesn’t make sense in the picture. I’ll be walking along and just stop and know that something that doesn’t make sense registered with me. I’ll have a conversation about it.

I make it a point to know everyone’s first and last names and their spouse’s and kids’ names, if possible. I try to say hi to everybody every single day during first and second shifts. I manage 105 employees here in Collegeville and about 15 at our other locations.

To me, it’s always about doing whatever it takes. A lot of people aren’t able to put themselves into customers’ shoes, but it’s key. We have to make sacrifices and reprioritize every hour every day. We’re open 16-and-a-half hours, and for all this time, we have to continually reprioritize and restructure what our day is going to look like. A lot of orders may come through, machines may break, employees may call out sick, and you’ve got to do whatever it takes to be successful in getting products out the door and maintain our efficiencies and mitigate the deficiencies.

Running Operations is a constant juggling act and occasional miracle. It’s a good challenge.

Holly Gantert: ‘There Is a Bond’

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Holly Gantert, a sales representative who joined Allied Wire & Cable in 2004, is interviewed for Word on the Wire, a series celebrating Allied Wire & Cable’s 30ish anniversary.

I started a year after they moved into the Phoenixville location. It’s funny seeing it the way it is now, with all these departments, because when I started, there were just a few people in Accounting and there was Sales, and that was it. You know how co-owner Tim Flynn likes his Marketing. Since I was his assistant, he would try to get me to do Marketing things. “I don’t know how to do this,” I’d say. So when Natalie Beers came on board, she started out in Accounting, but then Tim found out her major was marketing, and I was like, “She can take care of this.”

When I started, there were maybe 10 sales representatives. You knew everyone’s families. You went out to lunch together all the time. It was really cool to have a small office like that because you get to know everybody. I knew everybody’s kids. I enjoy the people I work with.

We used to have lunches called Crockpot Thursdays. Oh, my God, it was so fun! One person was assigned a Thursday, and this included Tim Flynn, Dan Flynn and Chris Burke. That person was responsible for lunch that day, bringing in a crock pot or whatever they wanted to do. Chris Burke, of course, probably ordered out and got something delivered. Everybody took turns making lunch for everyone else, and we all fit in a tiny lunch room.

It’s a very good transition to go from sales assistant to sales representative. I think anybody here who transitions is pretty successful. There’s so much information to learn. When you’re starting out as an assistant, you’re learning it all so that, when you’re in Sales, you don’t have to worry about learning the system, you can just focus on the sales aspect.

Of course, Sales is competitive. When we started out in the Collegeville location, we were clumped together in groups of four. There was constant competition among us and wanting to come out on top, but at the same time, we genuinely were happy for others’ success as well.

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Holly Gantert (second from left) is photographed with a few other Allied Wire and Cable employees in this photo from late 2006.

When you think about it, we’re with each other more than our families. All day almost every day, whether it’s work-related or family-related. We all know so much about each other. There is a bond. There’s a friendship there that, for a lot of us, is going on 15 or more years. It’s a long time.

I’ve gotten to the point here where I’m in tears from laughing so hard. I saw something posted somewhere that said if you can laugh at work, it makes a huge difference. It’s so true.

When we moved to Collegeville, everything exploded as far as our growth. I mean, it was about instantaneous. When we moved here, we were like: “We’re never going to be able to fill this office. Look how big this office is!” It was wide open; it echoed. And now we’re bursting at the seams.

In this industry, it’s not like you have one-time buys. I have people coming back time and time again, so I do build relationships with customers. We share stories of our kids, vacations, weddings…  The relationship I have with them is really neat. At the end of our calls, it’s like, “Oh, by the way, I need to place this order.”

Tenacity and self-confidence are the biggest lessons I’ve learned here.

Both of my kids got scholarships from Allied. They were basically raised as Allied kids. This meant a lot and helped a lot. My youngest was in kindergarten when I started here, and he is now finished his sophomore year in college.

With Tim and Dan Flynn and all us being here so long, every single one of us has gone through something. I’ve probably cried in each of their offices at least once. When it comes down to it, they care. They’ve helped me out tremendously through every different stage of my life.

Allied Wire and Cable Answers the Call for 5G Equipment Production

Allied Wire and Cable warehouse space added in 2018

5G cell phone towers are coming, with 5G cell phone service projected to launch in some U.S. cities late this year. Allied Wire and Cable is answering the call for 5G cell phone tower equipment production, supplying cables to companies building terminated assemblies for providers’ cell phone towers.

To take on this major job, Allied Wire and Cable had to expand its Operations space. In late May, the company took over about one-third of the 34,000 square feet it began leasing next door to its Collegeville, Pennsylvania, headquarters, said James Thivierge, Allied Wire and Cable vice president of Operations. There, team members are cutting heavy-gauge hybrid copper and fiber optic cables to length using four high-capacity, heavy-duty machines, including two shaftless, one shafted and one rim drive machine. The space has quickly turned into a receiving, production and shipping facility. By the time the space is fully utilized and requests for production are ramped up, it could employ six to 10 team members.

“Allied Wire and Cable is no stranger to providing equipment used in cell phone towers. With this job, the company received multiple purchase orders for cables from a longtime Allied Wire and Cable partner company,” Thivierge said.

Allied Wire and Cable has grown markedly beyond the size of its 80,000-square-foot headquarters, which opened in 2008. An addition to this building in 2012 added 21,000 square feet. Allied Wire and Cable bought and expanded a building across the street, creating 22,000 square feet of extra Operations space, in 2016.

“We’re running out of buildings in the business park to buy,” Thivierge said with a laugh when asked about where Allied Wire and Cable might expand once it completely utilizes the 34,000 square feet of recently leased space. “We already almost own the corner here, so it’s a good problem to have. It’s a pain in the butt to have to run three locations on a block. We’re all losing weight from running back and forth, back and forth.”

Mark Berry: ‘Everybody Here Has a Personality’

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Mark Berry, an account executive who joined Allied Wire & Cable in 1998, is interviewed for Word on the Wire, a series celebrating Allied Wire & Cable’s 30ish anniversary.

The Bridgeport place was pretty run down and nasty with all kinds of rodents and stuff running around everywhere. Everybody would attest to that. I even stepped on a rat’s tail there and nearly crapped myself! But everybody was awesome. I really became friends with my co-workers. We had a blast. We were very tight, close and did things together. We’d go out after work to happy hours. They’d treat us to lunches. It was smaller back then. Everybody was all in one area. Co-owner and co-president Tim’s office was kind of like his own office with a divider wall. It had a dividing window. I used to open the slider and bust his chops. It was fun.

Phoenixville was great. It was a brand-new building. It was huge compared to the Bridgeport location. They hired new people, and I met new people, who I became friends with. They’re still here, too. It was a fun, family atmosphere.

I was at the groundbreaking for the Collegeville building, and it’s really neat to see where we’ve come from. When we first moved in here, there was a huge area where it was wide open for about two years. Now it’s completely filled. Twenty years is a decent amount of time, but in these 20 years I’ve been here, we’ve grown pretty fast.

I’ve known some of my co-workers, especially Libby Achenbach, Pat Wilson and Jen Byrne, for 20 years. I have seen some come and go who I became friends with and still keep in touch with some of them, too. Which is cool. It’s definitely a family, for sure.

Our Christmas parties have always been fun.One employee during the Bridgeport years showed up as Santa Claus, and nobody knew he was going to do that. We were all blown away.

The secret is a prompt response, getting right back to the customer. Trust is a huge thing, especially with a lot of our competitors. Our Sales team is trustworthy and gets back to customers very quickly. We have competitive pricing and good shipping, usually shipping out within 24 hours.

I think everybody here has a personality. Which makes it more interesting for the customer to deal with you because they’re dealing with vendors all day. Some people are by the book: “Oh, here’s your price. Bye.” We have a relationship with our customers. I’ve had customers since we were in Bridgeport. They’ve been with me for 20 years. I’ve reconnected with customers who have left the business they were in prior. I’m like: “Oh, my God, thanks for remembering me! I appreciate it.” That’s a huge compliment right there.

At the first golf outing I went to, I didn’t golf at the time. Later, I took up golf and was able to experience it for myself. Pat Wilson was very influential in getting me into golf. He’d be like, “We’re going to play,” and I would say: “I don’t have any clubs. I don’t even play.” And he’d say, “You can borrow some of mine or somebody else’s,” and we’d go. A lot of times, I remember going to the outing, and I didn’t golf, and I’d be like: “Oh, man, I want to play. I could be out here.” And then I remember co-owner and co-president Dan Flynn saying: “You can hit one drive. You can use my clubs.” I did, and it was great. I got addicted to it, and now I just can’t stop playing. I’ve been playing golf for six or seven years now, often with Pat Wilson, Matt O’Reilly and Jim Thivierge, from all different departments.

The golf outings are huge for connecting with customers. We’ve had the golf outing every year since I’ve been here, and a lot of other companies don’t do that. I think Tim Flynn and everybody else knows that it’s very important to reward your customers for being loyal all these years. It’s also important for customers to come out and meet your rep, or salesperson, to be able to spend time with them. We’re really not talking about business; we’re just shooting the sh*t and having fun. Everybody who has ever come to it loves it and comes back all the time. Which is great. It couldn’t be any better than that.

With customers, we’re friends more than having a traditional customer-vendor relationship.

I still love coming to work every day, and the people I work with are great. I couldn’t ask for anything better right now. I’ve actually seen my whole life happen here. I got out of school and met the mother of my boys through here. We bought a house when I was here. We had our boys when I was here. Everything’s happened in 20 years for me since I’ve been with this company, and they’ve seen it all. It’s definitely a big family.

Kansas State SAE Team’s Car Competes in Canada

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Sporting wire and cable products donated by Allied Wire and Cable, Kansas State University’s Society of Automotive Engineers formula race car and the talented academic design team, Powercat Motorsports, behind it competed in Formula North in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, on May 31 against some of the highest-ranked North American teams.

Thanks to Allied Wire and Cable’s donation, Powercat Motorsports’ car, named Ocelot, benefited from high-quality wire and cable products as opposed to off-the-shelf parts from years past. In writing Allied Wire and Cable last fall in its request for wire and cable products, the team expressed its desire to raise the bar in terms of quality and performance.

“This year, we want to … have a thoroughly designed electrical system with state-of-the-art equipment that meets or exceeds industry standards,” the team wrote in an email. “The electronics team’s goals are to create a reliable, high-quality harness that cuts down on weight, and meets Mil-Spec standards.”

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At the Formula North, Ocelot successfully made it through a series of static events and received tech stickers after passing thorough inspections by a team of judges. These inspections encompassed a brake test, sound test and tilt test, the latter to ensure the car doesn’t leak liquids. The vehicle also successfully competed in Formula North’s first three dynamic events: skid pad, acceleration and autocross. Ocelot didn’t finish the overall competition because of a non-wire-related issue.

“We are already working on better design options for next year’s car and have used the experience to better our understanding of weak links and how to prevent failures,” wrote Brett Cook, Powercat Motorsports president, in a letter following Formula North.

“Thank you so much for your help!” Bailey Martin, Powercat Motorsports’ electronics design leader, wrote in an email to Allied Wire and Cable in late June. “As a first-year leader, it was a huge help! It is difficult to find wire in the small quantities we need for each year. Thank you for being so helpful and flexible.”

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Each year, Allied Wire and Cable supports a number of college and university design teams by supplying wire and cable products to help power their cars. The company supplied GXL, SXL, TXL, Expando and HST products.

“The experience gained from the process of designing, building and competing for Formula SAE is incredibly valuable for aspiring engineers,” Cook wrote. “… As sponsors of this team, you are helping to prepare us students to succeed and propel our career as engineers.”

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