Libby Achenbach: ‘Relationships and Trust Are Huge’

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Libby Achenbach (pictured above), a sales manager who joined Allied Wire & Cable in 1994, was interviewed for Word on the Wire, a series celebrating Allied Wire & Cable’s 30ish anniversary.

It was awesome that I got this job. This was my first job out of college, and I got so lucky. I hear how the corporate world is, that it’s so rigid and nonflexible. … With the family atmosphere here, it’s really nice. The owners—Dan, Tim, and Chris—want to reward everybody with tickets to Phillies games, bowling night, Employee Appreciation Month all throughout March. … If we do well, they do well, so they want everybody to be happy so we’re all doing well. … I feel appreciated here, and that’s why I’ve stayed here so long.

I knew nothing about wire or cable; I never faxed anything before; I never worked in an office. Coming in, I sat with Pat Wilson. He was very—“Hey, how are you? I’m busier than a three-legged cat in a litterbox!” He still uses that phrase. I didn’t have much training at all. I had a week or so of just sitting with a few salespeople, listening to them make sales calls. Everyone was extremely busy. Tim [Flynn] was doing IT, sales and all kinds of stuff for the company. Dan [Flynn] was also doing sales, managing the warehouse and accounting. … I’d just start cold calling. They gave me a bit of a script and said to just ask these questions. If someone said something to me, I’d put them on hold and run over to one of the guys and find out what I should ask. I’d then get back on the phone.

Everything was brand new to me, so I just listened to what Dan, Tim, and Chris told me and just took it to heart. I did 100 dials a day, constantly just dialing and prospecting people.

We had no computer system. I’d run out and ask Frank James in the warehouse: “Hey, do we have this or do I need to buy it somewhere?” I used to get in trouble because I’d write out my orders and write “Please ship today” with a little smiley face [laughter] so it’d always ship that day. And then the guys said: “You can’t do the smiley face anymore. You can’t be all nice to them so they ship your orders and not our orders.” [Laughter.]

We did almost everything ourselves. It was a lot to learn. Which was great because I know everything—well, not as much now because of our growth—about what every department goes through.

When we first moved to Phoenixville, we barely filled all the cubicles. We moved in, and I was like, “Oh, my God, we have so much room!” and “We’re going to be here forever!” And then we just started hiring people and filling cubicles. It was definitely a busy time. We had a lot more stock. Everything was right there. It was a brand-new building.


I’ve been here 24 years, and I still have customers from when I first started out. They’ve been with the same company, and I’ve kept them the whole time. Or they may have left and gone to a different company. Some people have gone to multiple companies, and they’ve always come back and said, “You’re always so knowledgeable and friendly.” I’m always positive and want to be very helpful to them. … I definitely feel as though I’ve taken care of them over the years so they feel like: “I’ll go to Libby. I know she’ll take care of it and make it happen and help me find what I need.” Relationships and trust are huge in keeping businesses going.

I enjoy helping the new people because I’ve been in their shoes. … When they’re new, they come into the office of myself, Sean [Brennan] and some of the other mentors to get advice on certain situations and how to quote things. No matter how busy I am, I say: “What do you have? Let’s take care of it.” Because I know they have to get back to their customers, and they need to learn everything.

The Collegeville years—a lot of growth. We’ve added on to the warehouse. It’s been awesome. As I’ve built up my base of customers, these have been my best years with the company financially and saleswise. When I started in Bridgeport, we didn’t have departments, and then in Phoenixville, we had some small departments. Now, we have [all these departments] and branches. Having all these departments makes it much easier to sell nowadays. We’ve just exploded. We keep growing, and for a lot of our competitors, you can’t say that about them.

Allied Wire & Cable Is Recognized for Commitment to Supporting BLOCS

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Support Helps Many Receive Catholic School Education

Allied Wire & Cable was recently recognized by the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, for its longtime support of Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools, commonly known as BLOCS. Allied Wire & Cable has donated more than $1.2 million in the past five years in support of Greater Philadelphia’s Catholic schools.

Allied Wire & Cable received a letter from Archbishop Chaput in mid-April 2018 thanking the company for its support. “On behalf of administrators, teachers, parents, and students, I want to personally thank you for your generosity and commitment to Catholic education,” Archbishop Chaput wrote. “Without the assistance from local area business leaders like yourselves, many families would be denied the opportunity to take advantage of a faith-based, Catholic education.”

Allied Wire & Cable has funded more than 100 scholarships for students in need at schools such as Pope John Paul II and St. Francis of Assisi. Allied has also supported the GESU school, located in one of Philadelphia’s most marginalized neighborhoods. Most students currently enrolled at the GESU school would be forced to attend one of the poorest-performing schools in the city if left in the public school system.

Company Has Had ‘Enormous Impact’ on Education

With the support of BLOCS and companies like Allied, more students have access to high quality, values-based education, helping them succeed not just in academics, but in becoming well-rounded, active members in their communities.

Founded in 1980, BLOCS is supported by individuals, companies, firms, and foundations throughout Philadelphia and Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. BLOCS has helped as many as hundreds of thousands of children throughout Greater Philadelphia receive high-quality, values-based education. BLOCS reaches more children in more communities than almost any other private education charity in the region.

“You and your colleagues throughout the area have made an enormous impact which has allowed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to continue our great tradition of educating thousands of area children in the morals and values of our Catholic faith, and for that, we are most grateful,” Archbishop Chaput wrote.

Chris Burke: ‘Just Be Yourself’

WOTW-ChrisBurkeChris Burke (center in top image), a co-owner and vice president who joined Allied Wire & Cable in April 1990, is interviewed for Word on the Wire, a series celebrating Allied Wire & Cable’s 30ish anniversary.

I played professional basketball for about six years over in Europe and here [with the Philadelphia 76ers] and used to deal with the clubs in negotiating contracts. I had an agent but just learned to deal with people. I’ve always been a people person. Being on your own at a young age over in Europe with no support system, you learn how to get what you need to get done and to protect yourself. That prepared me for coming back here.

I thought I was finished with my basketball career and was looking to get on with the next phase of my life. My brother’s wife reached out to me and said there were two brothers selling wire and cable out of their basement. She set up a meeting for me to go out and meet Tim [Flynn] and Mike [Flynn] at their house along with their father and mother. There were two desks and two phones in a basement, and I looked around and said, “This could work.”

A funny story that I like to tell often happened about a week in for me, in April 1990. I’m just learning the ropes, learning how to get on the phone and do all that kind of stuff. Tim tells me that their brother Danny is getting married down in Florida. Danny was still in Florida, selling industrial lube at the time, I think. He says, “We’re going to go to the wedding.” I say, “Great!” He says, “Well, we’re all going to the wedding, and you’re going to be here by yourself.” [Laughter.] So two weeks into my tenure there, they’re all leaving for Florida, and I’m sitting in the basement by myself, fielding phone calls. At one point, I tell Tim, “Hey, I have to get lunch,” and he says, “Put them on hold.” So I put the phones on hold and quickly got lunch and came back.

We were doing everything on our own. A customer would call, and we’d take an order. We would literally have to go wait for it to come in from the factory, we would repackage it, put a UPS label on it and wait for the UPS guy to come. We did everything. At night, we’d invoice items. We did whatever it took.

Early on, we would call anybody. I was calling people at Bombardier Learjet, a billion-dollar company, and we were selling them wire and cable. What was funny was when they’d say: “So where are you guys located out of? Where’s your warehouse?” If they had Google Maps back then—[laughter]—and they saw our address, they’d be like, “That’s a house!” I always laugh about that now. The funny thing was, they never knew. We’d service them and got them what they needed and got them out of their jams and kept their production floors running. Thinking about it now, it’s awfully funny to think that these gigantic companies were coming to us and usually to find something that they couldn’t find anywhere else.


We never ever said no to anybody. Until we looked under every rock. Usually, a lot of the bigger companies back then wouldn’t do that. If they didn’t have it in their stock, if it wasn’t on their screen, they’d say, “We don’t have it.” But we’d go find it, and that’s how you get in the door with a lot of these guys. You’re solving their pain; you’re getting them something that they can’t find; and you’re making them look good.

Just be yourself. I tell a lot of the young guys, “You know what, people always tell me my greatest attribute as a salesperson is that I sound genuine and am somebody they can trust.” That’s just being yourself. That’s the way I am. I always say, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” It’s pretty simple.

Recently, we had an event and were taking a picture as a company family, and we had everybody out in the parking lot. I looked around and said, “Oh, my God.” You get a sense when someone says you employ 250 people, but until you actually see it—. … When I go out into our warehouse and look around, I go, “Oh, my God.” We were in a garage with a little motor and a screwdriver. … It’s amazing. It really is.

Lock in Allied Wire & Cable’s Best Prices on Teflon Products


Avoid sticker shock and lock in Allied Wire & Cable’s best prices on Teflon products now through Friday, April 20. A number of suppliers have informed us in recent weeks that they have had shouldered commodity price increases and are compelled to raise the cost of their Teflon wire and cable products. As a result, Allied Wire & Cable must also raise its prices on these Teflon wire and cable products.

Allied Wire & Cable is grateful to be your leading distributor of Teflon wire and cable products and is reaching out to give you an opportunity to lock in our best prices on Teflon products through April 20. We’ve increased our inventory by 30 percent to help our valued customers buy now to beat the price increase!

We are extending this special opportunity to all our valued customers to lock in our best price on Teflon products through April 20. We encourage all our customers to think strategically and save thousands of dollars down the road by making blanket orders through April 20. Allied Wire & Cable’s inventory of Teflon products is bountiful and able to meet your needs. Make your orders through April 20 to lock in our best price on Teflon products and receive large-volume shipments from Allied Wire & Cable when your business needs them. We will hold firm pricing through July 31 on blanket orders.

Allied Wire & Cable, whose headquarters are located in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, has served global markets—including the aerospace, automotive, commercial, industrial and mil-spec—since 1987. Our company’s owners and sales representatives—located in Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire, New York and Wisconsin—boast a combined 500-plus years of experience and are ready to address your needs. The Allied Wire & Cable team prides itself on providing outstanding pricing, quality and service, assigning individual sales representatives to each customer.

Contact an Allied Wire & Cable sales representative today to lock in the best price on Teflon wire and cable products for your company now and for the foreseeable future.

Supplier Letters and Emails

Following are letters and emails we’ve received from our suppliers about recent price increases they’ve faced.
We would like to bring to your attention changes to the pricing for the following base metals: Tensile-Flex (A135), Cadmium Copper (C162), HPC-80EF, HPC-35EF, and 40% Copper Covered Steel. During an annual review of internal manufacturing costs and supplier pricing it was revealed that gaps exist between published pricing and actual costs. As a result, [we are] forced to pass along price increases related to these metals. These changes are effective January 16, 2018.

Having held off from price increases for several years now, and this in spite of increased cost incurred by our company to provide you the known levels of product quality, service and innovation, we are obliged to raise your fabrication prices in 2018.

Our quality records, on-time delivery performance and overall responsiveness in service have been continuously high and our goal is to keep it that way and secure future growth, performance and excellence in everything we do for you.

We thank you for your understanding in this matter and look forward to continuing and growing our business relationship with you next year.

As a valued customer, we want to make you aware of the fact that the following products are in very tight global supply:

PTFE: all grades
FEP: some grades
PFA: all grades
ETFE: all grades

We request that you work closely with your account manager to enter your forecast and purchase orders in a timely manner so that we can ensure our continued excellence in product quality, reliability, delivery and service.

We value your business and strive to meet all your fluoropolymer needs. Your account manager will contact you within the next few days to discuss your specific situation, product availability and timing.

Sustained inflationary pressures have forced us to evaluate our pricing. We have absorbed and sheltered from our customers the impact of constant rising raw material and labor costs over the last 10 years but unfortunately, we can no longer absorb the impact and continue to provide the quality and service that our company is known for without implementing a price increase.

Effective 5–1–2018, our company will implement a 3% price increase on all standard products with the exception of our identification products. Any standard products purchased within standard published volumes after this date will be subject to the price increase.

Our company remains committed to providing our valued customers with the broadest offering while maintaining a high level of service.

In recent years, we have seen meaningful increases in our cost of manufacturing. So far, we have delayed passing these costs on to you in order to offer the most competitive quality product possible.

As an example, energy and freight make up a growing portion of our cost of goods sold and is more impactful to costs than for most polymers, particularly for the smallest batches. In addition, we have incurred increased costs for regulatory compliance and personnel as we continuously work to provide our customers with the best service over the long term.

More recently, we have seen our raw material prices (fluoropolymers up +2% to +15% depending on the grades, high-temperature polymers up +6%, and pigments particularly whites and blues) start to increase as of a few months ago.

Market dynamics are currently strong and supply of some products has tightened. We find ourselves having no choice but to share the burden of these increases, and announce a price adjustment effective April 1, 2018.

We hope for your understanding and cooperation by supporting us through this time as we move to adjust our pricing in order to remain a trusted long-term supplier.

Dyson Electric Cars – Allied Automotive News


From Vacuums to Cars: the Dyson Electric Car May Arrive Sooner Than You Think

Dyson electric cars will soon represent the latest entries in the race to bring electric cars to the masses. Dyson has enjoyed a reputation for making leading-edge, future-is-now, exquisitely designed household appliances such as cordless and robotic vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans that double as heaters. Now the Wiltshire, U.K., company, launched by tycoon James Dyson in 1987, is planning a trifecta of Dyson cars—surely utilizing automotive wire and battery cable—for the 2020s.

Dyson is investing $2.8 billion into its project to produce Dyson electric cars that are touted to be radically different compared with the automobiles now on the market. The first car—a high-end, limited-edition model—is planned to drop onto the scene in 2020, with the follow-ups targeted to have greater mass-market appeal. Dyson is investing in lightweight materials and solid-state battery technology and has reported that the electric motor for the first Dyson electric car, at least, is ready. James Dyson has indicated that the company will equip Dyson electric cars with lithium-ion batteries at least in their early incarnations to ensure they meet production schedules.

The First Dyson Car to Arrive in Same Year As Next Tesla Roadster

The forthcoming Dyson cars are making waves a decade after Elon Musk’s Tesla unleashed the Tesla Roadster sportscar, which was the first production vehicle to use lithium-ion battery cells. The next iteration of the Tesla Roadster—touted to be the quickest car in the world, going from zero to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds—is projected to hit the streets in 2020, making for a compelling showdown of electric automobiles bedecked with high-end designs.

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It’s unclear where Dyson electric cars will be built, but they’re expected to count as British exports. The company anticipates manufacturing Dyson electric cars where it makes their batteries. Speculation exists that the manufacturing location may be in the Middle East, where James Dyson believes these vehicles will be well-received as well as throughout the Far East.


Dyson Vacuum Cleaners All the Way to Dyson Electric Cars

James Dyson invented a wheelbarrow with a ball in place of a wheel, representing his first consumer product, in 1974. A few years later, disappointed in the performance of bag-containing vacuum cleaners, which sometimes clogged, James Dyson was driven to create a superior product. Dyson drew inspiration for a bagless vacuum cleaner from a sawmill, where he observed how dust was siphoned from the air by cyclones. He developed more than 5,000 prototypes for a bagless vacuum cleaner on his way to selling his first vacuums.

In time, Dyson would later expand its reach in the household appliances market by creating well-crafted, forward-thinking products such as the Dyson Airblade hand dryer and Dyson Air Multiplier fans. Dyson also sells other air-treatment appliances such as purifiers and humidifiers along with hair dryers and lighting systems.

Dyson Electric Car a Long-Burning Desire for Company Founder

James Dyson expressed in an interview published in The Guardian that he’s had a burning desire to improve air quality since 1988, when he read a U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health paper on the connection between exhaust from diesel engines to premature deaths. Work at Dyson commenced in 1990 to create a cyclonic filter that could trap particulates.

The automobile industry rejected Dyson’s invention three years later, arguing that disposing of the soot-laden filters was problematic. “Better to breathe it in?”, James Dyson asked rhetorically in a September 2017 email, published on Twitter, to Dyson employees in which he announced the forthcoming Dyson cars. “… It has remained my ambition to find a solution to the global problem of air pollution. … Rather than filtering emissions of the exhaust pipe, today we have the ability to solve it at the source.”

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BAE Systems: Lands Massive Government Contract – Allied Military News


BAE Systems Lands Massive Government Contract for USS Chafee Enhancements

BAE Systems has been awarded a $22.7 million contract by the U.S. Navy for selected repair availability on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee. BAE Systems’ repair work certainly will involve tremendous amounts of shipboard cable.

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, BAE Systems Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems plc., a global defense, aerospace and security company delivering comprehensive products and services for air, land and naval armed forces in addition to technology solutions and support services.

BAE Systems INC. Repair Work to Focus on Main Engine Intake and Structural Repairs

The USS Chafee (DDG 90) will receive BAE Systems’ repair work after completing an independent deployment to the Western Pacific and South America. The scheduled selected repair availability, commonly known as SRA, represents an opportunity in the life cycle of the vessel to make repairs to update and enhance the ship’s military and technical capabilities.

Shop these Popular Shipboard Mil-Spec Cables:

Much of BAE Systems’ work on the USS Chafee will focus on the main engine intake and uptake compartment structural repairs as well as topside prevention, according to the Pentagon. BAE Systems’ repair work will take place at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and is projected to wrap up in September 2018.

In December 2017, the USS Chafee was the subject of voyage repair availability in Singapore. This work was completed by Logistics Group Western Pacific during the ship’s operational deployment to the Indo–Asia–Pacific region.


An Advanced Ship, the USS Chafee Was Vital in Narcotics Recovery Mission

The USS Chafee is regarded as the U.S. Navy’s most advanced and powerful ship. It’s designed to provide prompt, sustained combat operations while at sea in support of national policy such as peacetime presence and crisis management. The USS Chafee carries out air warfare, undersea warfare, surface warfare, strike warfare and air control warfare operations in extreme environments.

The USS Chafee began its deployment in June 2017, returning to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in January 2018. The USS Chafee has participated in multinational exercises with naval units around the world, including units from Chile, Peru, the Republic of Korea and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. The USS Chafee was utilized in the recovery of 800-plus kilograms of narcotics while patrolling the waters of the U.S. Fourth Fleet. The ship also integrated into Carrier Strike Group 5, backing the USS Ronald Reagan’s sweeping patrol of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

BAE Systems Receives Another Contract, for Work on the USS Cape St. George

BAE Systems Inc. received another notable contract from the U.S. Navy, for $34.7 million, to deliver a special selected restricted availability on the Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), located in San Diego, California. This contract covers depot-level maintenance, improvements and modifications that will enhance the vessel’s military and technical capabilities. This repair work is estimated for completion by January 2019.

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3D Printed Homes: Build a Home in Just 24 Hours

3D Printed Homes

3D Printed Homes, Start to Finish, in Just 24 Hours

Imagine 3D printed homes produced from scratch in just 24 hours. This is what Apis Cor, a construction 3D printer with offices in California and Russia, and PIK Group, the largest real estate and homebuilding company in Russia, joined forces to achieve in early 2017, creating a 409-square-foot home constructed from the highest-quality materials. Their revolutionary triumph in presenting a remarkable proof-of-concept home has given rise to a seismic shift in thinking in the construction industry.

Most tiny houses, for example, are built over several months and require factories to produce, package and transport materials as well as a range of tools to assemble the structures. The construction of most tiny houses call for hundreds of hours of labor, cost $25,000 to $75,000 to build and leave a small mountain of scrap waste. The 3D printed house from Apis Cor and PIK Group was constructed with just raw materials, costing $10,134, and a 3D printer. Apis Cor construction costs run as much as only 40 percent compared with the costs of erecting a traditional concrete building. Only 8 kilowatts of power—the equivalent of five electrical teapots working simultaneously—is consumed by operating the Apis Cor 3D printer. The house is capable of lasting up to 175 years.

Watch 3D Printed Homes Being Built by Apis Cor and PIK Group

The feat of creating 3D printed homes with such speed and at such small cost using Apis Cor’s technology blows open the doors of possibilities for creating an improved world. Consider that communities could provide 3D printed homes at affordable costs to serve homeless shelters. Consider that emergency-use 3D printed homes could be raised in mere hours to help citizens affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Consider the environmental savings 3D printed homes offer at a time when the earth’s resources are becoming ever more precious as the human population soars past 7.5 billion and is projected to escalate as high as 10 billion by 2050.

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Apis Cor Technology Enables Faster, Cheaper 3D Printed Homes

Existing construction 3D printers, although powerful, are limited. These printers work in rectangular coordinate systems and require a flat surface for installation. If the rails are not installed on the same plane relative to one another, the 3D printer can operate with less precision or even jam, compromising the building. Moreover, existing construction 3D printers are able to print larger and taller structures only if the size of the printers are increased, raising expenses considerably.

Apis Cor’s technology has overcome size, transport and financial restraints imposed on existing construction 3D printers. The Apis Cor 3D printer measures just 15 meters long, 5 feet wide and 5 feet tall and weighs 2 tons, making it easily transportable and minimal preparation work before jobs. This printer functions optimally with elevation differences of as much as 10 centimeters. The Apis Cor 3D printer prints self-supporting walls and partitions of an entire building—providing coverage of 1,420 square meters for erecting 3D printed homes, offices and other structures—while being installed in the center of the building. The Apis Cor 3D printer is the first printer of its kind to start building 3D printed homes from the inside as well as the outside, as opposed to solely outside.

As 3D printing technology surges forward, look for the construction industry to consider new methods in building homes, businesses and other structures.

3D Printed Home

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