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Anthony Bickimer
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2008 - WireMasters Has Built A Reputation On Service For 20 Years

WireMasters Has Built A Reputation On Service For 20 Years

Company Overcomes Death of Founder to Become Industry Leader

COLUMBIA, Tenn., May 30, 2008 - "Anyone can go out tomorrow and set up a wire distribution company," said David Hill, president of WireMasters, Inc. "But one of the first things your customers are going to ask is, 'How long have you been around?'"

For WireMasters, the answer is 20 years – two decades of providing military specification wire, cable and accessories to customers in the military, commercial and private sectors. And like Hill said, while anyone can set up a distributorship, to last in this highly competitive field, you have to prove yourself every day.

"We do our job well. Purchasing agents call us because they know that their order will be handled and they can move on to the next thing on their desk," Hill said. "The key is to deliver on that promise for 20 years, and we have. That's why WireMasters has been blessed with strong growth from the beginning – not just in this country, but around the world. Looking ahead, I see international sales being a much bigger part of our business."

Rapid Growth Despite Loss of the Founder

WireMasters started in 1988 with five employees and 5,000 square feet of leased space. Today the company employs more than 90 people and owns its own 43,000-square-foot-building, with plans for a 23,000-square-foot addition. Annual sales have grown to more than $50 million.

Hill arrived in 1991, when the company was just three years old, and was soon named sales manager. Three years later, disaster struck: company founder John D. Huett contracted bone cancer in 1994 and passed away within two years. Hill purchased the company in 2001 and worked hard to build on the success of the founder. The hard work paid off. Within a short time, the company had purchased additional space to hold its expanding sales force. Inventory then expanded to the point that even more space was required, so another building was purchased.

The Place to Call When You Need It Right – and Need It Now

The WireMasters team has worked hard to establish a reputation for the company as the place to call when you need it yesterday – and you need it right. "It's not just about speed. It's about speed and quality," said Operations Manager Richard Farris. "So, we emphasize quality and attention to detail as much as meeting quick deadlines, which is why we are AS9100 Revision B and ISO 9001:2000 Certified, as well as RoHS compliant. We still adhere to the founder's personal slogan: 'Quality is not expensive. It is priceless.'"

WireMasters keeps millions of feet of wire and cable in its on-site warehouse, as well as an extensive inventory of associated products, so that when a customer calls with that "must have" request, it's likely that the answer will be "yes."

It also has strong relationships with many shipping companies to assure that the orders that are ready today, get shipped today. For example, a Federal Express office is just around the corner from the company's headquarters. And the local UPS office has made WireMasters its first delivery in the morning and last pick up in the afternoon – so the company has the widest possible window for shipping orders the same day they are made.

"And if we don't have a particular product in stock, we'll find out who does and drop ship it to our customer. We do whatever it takes to get our customers what they need, when they need it," Farris added.

In addition to distributing wire, cable and related products, WireMasters has a value-added service of creating a custom product for a specific job. The company has the systems in place to cut wire to any length, provide terminals, heat shrink tubing, laser mark to any specification or add a color stripe. The firm has also built a reputation for providing custom cables for unique needs – not just in avionics, but in any industry with equipment that uses wire, such as mining and ship-building.

"Engineers frequently consult with our sales executives to solve design issues. Often, they include our recommendations in their drawings and use our part numbers. This really helps us streamline the ordering process for future purchasing agents." said Sales Manager Rush Holladay.

A Place Where People Want To Work

Hill wants his employees to think of "Team WireMasters" as a family. Some employees actually are family and many who are not relatives still have some connection with the family. CFO Dennis Thomason, for example, rode the school bus with Hill growing up and went to high school with Hill's wife.

"Hiring people you know, whether they are family or not, means having people you can count on if things get tough. This strong commitment to each other is what makes WireMasters work. We are all in this together," said Hill. "By working this way, the company not only grows, but we help our employees build a career and a better life."

Building a career and a life is what WireMasters is all about. The company is built on appreciating the value of every employee's contributions and treating everyone with respect. And this respect is more than lip service: pay and benefits are among the most attractive in the region. WireMasters shares its success with its employees. The difference this makes is clear to visitors – employees are obviously happy to be there. Thanks to this positive culture, WireMasters attracts and retains the best people.

Values Run Deep

These values of treating people right are ingrained in the company. As salesperson Jeff Wood put it, "We have more than 6,000 customers who depend on us and trust us. They know we'll go the extra mile not just to fill their order, but to provide them with the right solution – even if this means we make less money.

"For example, a purchasing agent called us looking for a particular wire that sells for $5 per foot," Wood said. "It would have been easy just to take the order and collect my commission, but I pointed him to a different product that could do the same job for $1 per foot. We sacrificed a bigger sale, but it was the right thing to do. We work hard to stay on top of developments in our industry, so that we have the product knowledge needed to do the right thing for our customers."

Nearly every member of the sales team at WireMasters has a similar story. Corny as it may sound, employees will tell you that they love working for the company because they are encouraged to see big picture - and to be a part of it.

WireMasters will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a gala dinner and a golf tournament in October. Customers and vendors have been invited to the weekend event to help celebrate this important milestone.

"We want to thank the people who have made our success possible," said Hill. "Our customers come from a variety of industry sectors. Golf seems to be a common denominator they all share. We think this will provide us with an opportunity to strengthen the relationships that have kept us growing strong for 20 years."

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