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Indianapolis Airport

Graybar’s First-Class Logistics Help the Indianapolis Airport take flight

After more than 30 years of planning and a three-year construction timeline, the new Indianapolis International Airport welcomed its first air travelers in November 2008.

As the largest LEED-certified building in the Midwest — and the first airport built after 9/11 — Indianapolis International marked many high points in modern technology, but its uniqueness also posed one-of-a-kind logistical challenges for ERMCO Indianapolis and Sachs Electric, the joint-venture operation contracted to install the airport’s electrical and communication systems.

ERMCO/Sachs JV needed a streamlined logistics solution that could accommodate both the sprawling job site and fluctuating schedules. The contractors also needed competitive packages for lighting, gear, cabling and wiring, communications cabinets, and security and alarm equipment.

Not long after receiving three multimillion-dollar airport contracts, ERMCO/Sachs JV called on one of its dedicated distributors for a first-class solution that would help get the project off the ground.

"We had people working everywhere — the parking garage, terminal, concourses, landscaping, the fuel storage facility, and even baggage claim," said Chris Roberts, vendor partner liaison with ERMCO. "We needed an organization that could get us what we needed, where we needed it, and Graybar delivered."

Graybar Works to Your Advantage

Graybar is a leading distributor of electrical, communications and security products with a history of working with ERMCO. In fact, Graybar has provided an on site customer service representative at ERMCO’s offices for the past three years to help coordinate and expedite orders. Graybar even maintains a separate product staging facility dedicated to ERMCO’s business.

All of these services proved invaluable for a project like Indianapolis International as Graybar and ERMCO/Sachs JV developed a plan that would ensure all the people and materials appeared at the right place, at the right time, with little disruption. Day-to-day airport operations carried on as contractors built the new terminal, snugly between two active runways, scheduling their work around the timing and visibility needs of Air Traffic Control and the Federal Aviation Administration. But by far, the largest test proved to be the sheer size of the worksite – 1 mile wide and 2 miles deep.

At the height of construction, more than 230 ERMCO/Sachs JV electricians worked throughout the mile-wide terminal, frequently needing materials replenished to keep on schedule. Though all the supplies were stored by Graybar and delivered in stages to the appropriate areas and floors as they were needed, it quickly became apparent that the size and scope of the job required an “in-the-trenches” solution.

"It could take a half hour to walk from one side of the site to the other," said Graybar Account Manager John Sepiol. "ERMCO/Sachs JV really needed a way to get all the supplies to the right locations, and we developed a complex, on-site solution that went beyond basic delivery."

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So Graybar purchased a van and enlisted Chad Crawley, Graybar on-site supervisor, for duty. For two years, Crawley’s role grew from delivering much-needed supplies to the appropriate areas, to taking and placing hundreds of orders, to building relationships with the foreman and suppliers who became his partners.

"Each day, I’d sit down with the foremen and figure out what they needed down the line," said Crawley. "This helped them avoid downtime and waiting on materials."

Foreman and journeymen alike would call Crawley daily for supplies. In most cases, he delivered the required material from Graybar stock, but he also worked with different suppliers to locate additional items. Though working with competitors at times, Crawley continued to provide exceptional service by driving out to the supplier and picking up the materials himself.

The result: In less than three years, the contractors installed more than a million feet of conduit cabling and wiring, and with Graybar’s help, had the power and lights up and running throughout the terminal, concourse, and five-story parking garage.

On-Site Services from Graybar Prove Invaluable

The project’s timely completion marked logistical success and taught an important lesson in the value of on-site services.

"It was very efficient for us to work hand-in-hand with somebody who knew the dynamics of the job, and having someone we could call on directly on the site was crucial,” said David Peterson, Vice President of Business Development for ERMCO. “With so many different scopes of work within one master project, having a sole source for procurement through Graybar was critical to our success.”

With air traffic steady at the Indianapolis International Airport, ERMCO and Graybar have set their sights on future projects in the Indianapolis area. And with the results of on-site services proven, ERMCO says it now looks forward to seizing new opportunities with a comprehensive logistical strategy that not only makes life easier but also makes their business more competitive.

Tech-Rich Terminal Shows Its Runway Style

Today, the new airport can accommodate up to 12 million passengers a year and houses 50-plus gates, more than 50 retailers and restaurants, and seven security lanes equipped with two state-of-the-art full-body scanners.

Behind the scenes, complex networks support an integrated visual display system, voice paging system, and energy-monitoring and control system. Cutting-edge technology permeates everything throughout the 1.2 million square-foot terminal, from the $25.6 million luggage sorting system, handling more than 65 bags per minute, to the digital closed-circuit TV network interfaced with the fire alarm and access control systems.

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