Conversation with Robert Connors

Division President, Gexpro Services


Can you give us an overview of what Gexpro Services provides?

I think the most succinct description would be that Gexpro Services provides global supply chain management services such as global sourcing, value engineering, quality control, inventory management , and IT solutions for industrial OEMs. We were acquired by Rexel, which is the largest global electrical distributor in the world, in late 2006 as part of their acquisition of GE Supply. Gexpro Services offers powerful supply chain management solutions with and for the customer, and our affiliation with Rexel has only strengthened our position and capabilities in the United States at more than 2,500 locations around the globe. We support five vertical segments — technology, transportation, consumer/industrial, aerospace, and energy — and we’re particularly involved in the wind-power industry, for which we provide C-part component hardware as well as electrical and fabrication supplies.

If I were a wind-industry OEM, what would you be able to do for me?

We can provide products and services for their nacelle, blade, and tower applications, to begin with. That includes bolts, fasteners, brackets, ladders, platform assemblies, and a lot of other large-diameter hardware for the tower internals. Electrical supplies would include power cables and trays, lighting fixtures, receptacle kits, and cable harnesses and assemblies. So we offer a vast array of products, but one thing in particular that our clients really appreciate is our global quality and sourcing capabilities, because a strong global supply chain drives competitive costs.

We have quality and sourcing resources in Asia, for example, who are constantly seeking the highest-quality products at the best  available price, which allows our customers to be very competitive in their manufacturing operations. Beyond supplies, however, we can help manufacturers streamline their assembly lines by overseeing and managing their inventory. We utilize Kanban systems to monitor stock levels and trigger supply shipments as well as kitting programs, where we gather all of the individual component parts necessary to assemble a particular bill of material and ship them complete to the customer’s facility or to a job site, depending on their requirements.

We actually become an extension of our client’s supply chain operation, scanning their bins using our Oasis Pro software every day so that we know what components are progressing and regressing in real time. For instance, if we see a unit manufacturing schedule ramping up, or know that a new product is being introduced, we’ll work with our customers to make the necessary adjustments to inventory levels so they have just what they need, exactly when they need it.

Sounds like you’re in a position to free up a lot of your client’s resources.

Absolutely. While they may have been dealing with literally hundreds of individual suppliers before, we become their single source and point of contact should they choose to work with us, and our quality experts manage all of the necessary documentation for each part, such as drawings and certificates, on file. We also provide trade working capital relief, because they’re not paying for the parts until they are used on the line. And we know when every single part is moved, because it must be scanned on the floor or in our warehouse, and we track shipments so that we always know where they are in transit, whether that be on land, at sea, or in the air.

Is each contract singular, in terms of your level of involvement?

Yes. Each contract is tailored to meet the customer’s individual needs, and we work with them to establish terms and conditions that result in a fair and equitable contract for both parties. Should we enter into an agreement, however, we do require a three-year commitment, which allows us to negotiate long-term agreements with our suppliers in order to obtain the best possible prices and on-time deliveries. I would say that among the many ways we provide value to our customers is by managing their global supply chain, having strong quality and sourcing infrastructure supported by digitized tools, and offering tailored inventory management solutions. By working with Gexpro Services our customers can count on us to effectively manage their wind turbine component needs, which allows them to refocus their energy and resources on meeting their manufacturing goals and objectives We’re here to offer our market and supply chain expertise and resources to ensure 100-percent product fulfillment, and to help them reach their market penetration.

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