Company Reports - General Cable
StatisticsCompany Industry Founded Headquarters Key People Products Revenue Employees
Platinum and Gold Partners
Silver and Bronze Partners
Providing products that make the world move and work
Written by: Michaela McNamara Produced by: Sean Bakke
With 44 manufacturing facilities in 22 countries, General Cable is a global leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of wire and cable products for a variety of industries.
The company was established over 160 years ago, and has grown significantly through acquisitions of different wiring and cable companies to become the third largest wire and cable manufacturer in the world, and the largest in North America.
SPECIALITY WIRE HARNESSES
Within its diversified portfolio, General Cable manufactures specialty wire harnesses, which generate revenues of $200 million for the corporation per year. The majority of these revenues come from North America, and currently the General Cable specialty wire harness team has operations in the US, Mexico, France and is expanding into the Asia Pacific region.
Specific end-markets include OEM automotive, automotive aftermarket and generic OEMs,
for the medical, military, industrial, transit, renewable energy industries and beyond.
According to Roger Roundhouse, Senior VP & GM of Specialty Wire Harnesses, “The
strategy for the speciality wire harness team is to develop specific markets for value-added
assemblies that leverage our vertical integration in the production of the wire and cable
products we make as a whole for the company.”
General Cable has been on a Lean journey for 10 years across the company, and continuous
improvements span the entire organization from the factory floor to the office environment
and even during process transactions with customers. The company as a whole is trained
with what Roundhouse describes as a “Lean Toolbox,” filled with statistical tools and
philosophies to satisfy the DMAIC process and the desire to discover potential solutions.
The company strongly believes in operator-led process control, in which General Cable
associates are empowered on the factory floor, not only to give them a voice, but to
streamline processes, eliminate waste and reduce cycle times. “The shop floor is where you
tap into the power of the organization,” Roundhouse says.
Associates on the shop floor know the end result of the product they are making and take
pride in those outcomes, knowing that the assemblies they are making may be for MRI
machines or lift trucks. “The products that we produce, in large part, enrich the lives of
people around the world, whether enabling them to have electricity, communications, or
enhance their healthcare,” Roundhouse says.
General Cable recently built assemblies and harnesses for the 2010 Winter Olympics, fitted
for cameras that were placed underneath the snow in order for viewers to experience
different angles. This project brought great pride to the General Cable speciality wire
harness division, knowing they played a part in something as exciting as the Olympics.
This vision of empowerment is the main way that General Cable attracts and retains its
associates. “We look at business holistically and involve everyone in the organization in the
overall outcomes of business,” Roundhouse explains.
The company celebrates all forms of success, whether it’s quality service, the ability to be
cost-competitive or accolades. General Cables believes it is supremely important for people
at the factory level to have visible results of their work.
Parallel to Lean and Six Sigma initiatives is a Zero and Beyond safety policy. As a company,
General Cable wants to protect its greatest asset—its people. “Safety is our number one
priority, and that has paid huge benefits to the company. Not only do we illustrate that we
have the associates’ best interests in mind, but the financial benefit of safe and healthy
people is significant, too,” Roundhouse says.
Part of the company’s continuous improvement strategy is developing strong partnerships
with customers through open communication and the exchange of ideas.
General Cable even holds operator-led tours in which customers can see production, and
speak directly to the associate on the shop floor, ultimately sharing knowledge with one
another. “It’s a great message of how we truly empower the workforce. It sends a powerful
message to the customers that we put the actions behind the words and have their needs
met all the way down to the shop floor,” Roundhouse says.
General Cable views its customers’ projects as a joint development. Often times, the client
works with General Cable’s engineers to develop specialty harnesses for new technologies
and new equipment, creating incremental value. The company believes in design
responsibility and creates multiple designs for customers, as well as supplying logistics and
other value-added services.
Portions of the business are made-to-order versus made-to-stock, giving the company a
broad, diversified portfolio. General Cable boasts highly flexible manufacturing to meet the
ever-changing demand patterns of the customer.
Bringing a broad global footprint, financial stability, and Lean and continuous improvement
attributes to the table, General Cable is poised for continued growth. The overall global
market for wire harnesses is fragmented so there is room to grow.
It is well-positioned to be the best speciality wire harness provider in the world, and
will continue to grow through new businesses in the form of acquisitions, as well as
international expansion into France, Mexico and the rest of the world.