By November 6, 2014 Read More →

Knowledge is power when it comes to cable management

01 Malcolm HeadshotMALCOLM DUNCAN (pictured), Managing Director of Super Rod, explains why sharing experience and knowledge is a very important part of the cable installation process.

The life of a wholesaler is a constant challenge of balancing the needs of your customers and meeting the expectations of the manufacturers that you are partnered with.

But perhaps one of the biggest challenges that you face on a daily basis is keeping up to date with all of the latest advances in technology. The same can be said for your customers, because your average contractor needs to know everything about everything and keeping on top of that knowledge isn’t an easy task.

There are, of course, numerous training courses on offer which explain everything that you need to know about LED technology or energy management for example, but one thing which seems to be sadly lacking is information about how to install all of this technology. You will find information about where to install the latest LED technology and how efficient it will be in operation – but how often do you see tips and advice for the contractor which covers how to navigate your way through a wall or ceiling to install these LEDs?

As a company, we recognised that there is a distinct lack of information available which would make the life of the contractor easier and as a result, we have put it at the heart of our development process, focusing on the methodology which is needed to install cable using the wide variety of cable management systems which are available on the market.

Time is money 

I am often asked: “Why is it so important to focus on the process of cable installation?” The answer is simple – to save time.

I frequently meet up with contractors and their main area of concern is time – or more importantly, how to carry out a professional cable installation quicker. The key here is the word professional – because it is very easy to cut corners and do the job in half the time, but that isn’t what the professionals want to achieve. When it comes to any installation, the greatest amount of time is spent on the cabling and therefore any efficiency gained here can deliver huge benefits in both time and ultimately money to the contractor and the end client.

Over the past few years we have seen some excellent developments in cable management and many of them have been from UK companies. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are aimed at saving time for the contractor – so it is definitely a theme that runs throughout the industry.

It is also a theme which we will continue to pursue with things like Super Rod TV ( which hosts all of our high resolution product demonstration videos. So if you or your customers are unsure about how to use a Super Rod product, all of the information can be found here – and there are some great time saving tips which will ensure a professional job every time.

Sharing knowledge and information is something that will change the way that the industry operates and ensure that contractors both old and new are constantly improving the way they operate. For example, there is an old Chinese proverb that says: “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. If you teach him how to fish, you will feed him for the rest of his life.” This is exactly the type of approach which we need to take as an industry because information which is shared – either by a wholesaler, another contractor or direct from the manufacturer – can last that contractor for life.

06 Rod Set In UseIn 2008, Super Rod was awarded the Queens Award for Industry for saving over nine million labour hours in a single year – and that was all from reducing the time it takes to install cable. Since then, word has continued to spread and contractors have continued to share their tips and advice. What this demonstrates is that training isn’t just about sitting in a classroom and learning, because as far as cable management is concerned there isn’t necessarily a rule book. What we do have is a lot of people with a lot of knowledge and sharing this knowledge and advice is just as important for the wholesaler as it is for the contractor.

Getting the message across

Sharing knowledge is an area which more and more wholesalers are taking advantage of and for many it is really beginning to pay off. One manager at a South London location recently told me: “Life is tough out there because everyone is fighting over a limited number of customers, and price is often the blunt instrument used to win the contract. We have taken a different approach, whereby we really aim to work with our customers to help them win the work in the first place. By getting involved right from the estimation stage and providing advice on area’s where they may be able to operate more efficiently we are ultimately giving our customers the edge and helping them to win the contract. Cable management is always a key area of focus for us. As an ex-contractor I know how much time is spent on the installation of the cables and the infrastructure involved and by sharing this knowledge my customers stay loyal.”

This is exactly the type of approach we have taken with our Distributor Support Unit (DSU), which is headed up by Sam Horseman. Sam visits wholesale branches around the country providing training and support for wholesalers and product demonstrations to contractors. The feedback that we have received suggests that this ‘hands on’ approach is the perfect way for wholesalers to not only to learn about how the products work but also to find out more about their customers and share their experiences, challenges and concerns – all of which adds up to loyalty in the longer term.

05 DSU Truck

But for us as a company it isn’t just about sharing our knowledge because listening to the industry is just as important – particularly when it comes to the task of cable management. By talking to the wholesalers and contractors we can hear the problems that they face at first hand and as a result we can develop products to meet their needs. It’s all about listening to what the customer wants and combining their ideas with our experience to launch new products that are of benefit to the industry.

As a wholesaler you may never need to install cable in a partition wall or through some trunking – but that’s not to say that you shouldn’t have that knowledge. This is the type of information that your customers need and that you can provide and it is this information which will help to shape the industry and save many millions more labour hours in the years to come.