Graybar, a Fortune 500 company, specializes in supply chain management services, and is a leading North American distributor of high quality components, equipment, and materials. We serve the construction market, the commercial, institutional, and government (CIG) market, and the industrial and utility markets. Graybar products and services support new construction, infrastructure updates, building renovation, facility maintenance, repair and operations, and original equipment manufacturing.
Graybar works with top manufacturers to distribute a wide range of products for all types of projects. In addition to our core electrical, communications and data networking (comm/data) categories, we also offer lighting, MRO, safety, security, and other products needed across a variety of industries.
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Graybar specializes in complete building solutions, and can help customers manage even the largest projects. Services include logistics, inventory, and materials management, process efficiency, complete building systems, and other business services.
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How NEC Section 240.87 Impacts Your Gear
As National Electrical Code (NEC) Section 240.87 continues to evolve, contractors must adapt.
When the section was first introduced in 2011, electricians were required to reduce clearing time when circuit breakers without instantaneous trip devices were used. A 2014 update shifted the focus from these devices to the actual problem that NEC is attempting to resolve: reducing arc flash incidents (AFI) across electrical workspaces.
Rather than looking for the presence of certain trip functions, the latest update focuses on the ampere rating of circuit breaker frames—and their relationship with AFI. It states that any circuit breaker that can be set to 1200A or more is required to install safety components, such as an energy-reducing switch.
This change impacts a wide variety of gear from commercial strip malls to large medical installations.
One method for reducing AFI is to install an Energy-Reducing Maintenance Setting (ERMS) switch.
An ERMS switch, when activated, can set circuit breaker trip units to "maintenance mode” reducing the overall clearing time and lessening the chance of AFI. When the switch is turned off, the settings return to their previous values and circuit breakers continue with normal function.
In new projects, ERMS switches are now included as factory-assembled items and allow an operator to easily switch the breaker between “normal” and “maintenance” modes.
For existing installations, inspectors may require the equipment be brought up to 2014 standards. Installing an ERMS switch in the field can cost twice as much as a factory installation not including the amount of downtime involved.
When gear representatives understand local standards and national codes, they can help contractors save time and money.
As of January 2019, the AFI reduction standards determined by Section 240.87 are in effect in 43 states. (New codes have not been adopted in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas or Nevada, and Arizona, Mississippi and Missouri remain outside NEC standards altogether.) With more and more states moving towards 2014 standards, Graybar recommends installing components like the ERMS switch which can improve safety and reduce cost.
Graybar’s sales representatives are up-to-date on local code and can assist you by asking the right questions about your next installation.
Headquartered in Albany, New York, Advanced Network Services (ANS) is a turnkey engineering, furnishing and installation (EF&I) provider of telecommunication solutions.
In today’s fast-paced work environments, flawless connectivity and mobile coverage is an essential component of doing business.
“Distributed antenna systems (DAS) allow enterprise customers to build out infrastructure inside their facilities that take carrier signal from wireless providers through a series of conversions and transfers them back to phones, devices and large automation in inside environments,” explains ANS Program Manager Brendan Delaney.
To improve its coverage, a large governmental agency with facilities located nationally contracted with ANS for DAS installation at two initial locations in Wichita, Kansas and Greensboro, NC.
The government agency’s facilities execute complex operations on a large scale. Many are operational on a 24/7 basis. In addition to fast and cost-effective installation, it was important that the installation process not interfere with customer operations. Storing large amounts of equipment, product and parts at the facility was impractical. Shipping as needed or through a third party would lead to delays and add extra expense.
“For efficient, cost-effective deployment of these systems, it was important to ANS to find a distribution partner with local warehouses that we could trust to store, ship and manage materials,” says Brendan.
HOW GRAYBAR HELPED
With 290 locations across the U.S. and a complete selection of data communication products including everything needed for DAS installation, working with Graybar made sense for ANS and for their customer.
Graybar supplied ANS with all of the DAS materials including co-ax, radio frequency systems, antennas, connectors and more.
“Graybar’s service stood out with consistent communications and the ability to have Danielle as the single point of contact on these projects,” says Brendan.
“Once a PO was issued, Inside Sales Representative Danielle Pustolka from our Albany office, got everything rolling. She created a spreadsheet and sent it out once a week with quantities that had shipped. She communicated proactively with Brendan and our local team near the installations. Everyone was in the loop,” explains Graybar Comm/Data Business Manager James Sweet.
“We didn’t deliver $300,000 of material, set it in front of the facility and say, ‘Have at it.’ We released as the project needed,” adds Danielle. “There was no foreman or project manager wandering around a giant facility looking for material.”
In addition to preventing loss or damage to materials, hold and release gave ANS more flexibility to schedule deliveries at a time that worked for the job and the facility.
“In one location, there were concerns about too much noise in a call center area. Another facility was operational 24/7. If there was downtime at either, it would result in a huge monetary impact on the end users,” says Brendan. “Having materials stored locally at Graybar gave us more flexibility to schedule deliveries at a time that didn’t interrupt their business.”
There were also consumables and items that couldn’t be forecast: conduit fittings, j-hooks, fire rated penetrations and more. Once ANS installers were on site, they had a better idea of what was needed. With Graybar close by, ANS could send someone to the counter for pick up rather than over ordering or waiting for delivery.
“Without Graybar’s staging and delivery, our logistics costs would have been higher and our response times reduced. We look forward to continuing to work with Graybar on these kinds of projects,” says Brendan.
ANS’ customer was satisfied with both the process and the results of their DAS installation. Negotiations are underway to do more installations.
For both locations together, three weeks of end-to-end time to market was saved getting the projects scheduled and installed and more than $1,000 was saved in third party logistics and shipping costs.
For a large research enterprise such as NC State, procurement can be a difficult and tedious task. With 22 colleges and divisions who have purchasing authority, numerous vendors and massive amounts of invoices and paperwork, NC State needed to enhance its procurement process. The central Purchasing Department needed a way to streamline and automate the ordering and invoicing process for the faculty and staff while also reducing costs and risks.
The Purchasing Department staff began by reviewing the university’s annual spend data sorting it by commodity categories, and by the number of purchase orders processed, as a first step to creating an extensive online marketplace for the faculty and staff.
“We built an interactive user interface that brought together supplier catalogs in 13 commodity categories,” said CPO and Director of Materials Management Sharon Loosman. “Graybar covered a number of the categories within MRO, specifically electrical, data communications and security equipment. In addition, the Graybar contract terms and price protection were established with the publicly bid U.S. Communities contract.”
According to their website, U.S. Communities is the leading national government purchasing cooperative, providing world class government procurement resources and solutions to higher education, k-12, non-profits, special districts, and state and local government agencies looking for the best overall supplier government pricing.
Today, every faculty and staff member at NC State can browse the MarketPlace while 3,700 customers have the authority to place orders.
“There are a number of process efficiencies we’ve experienced by integrating the Graybar catalog into our MarketPlace” said Loosman.
“Graybar’s catalog and shopping cart system automatically pushes a complete requisition into our financial system and assigns the appropriate workflows to the order. Now supervisors can approve these orders remotely or after hours and never have to touch paperwork again.”
Another benefit is ease of product delivery. Every hour, approved purchase orders travel from NC State to Graybar for fulfillment and next day delivery at the customer’s location or desk.
But that’s not the only way NC State can shop with Graybar.
“Perhaps one of the biggest time savings is the quote to order function,” said Marketplace Manager Eric Shiflett. “For large electrical or communications projects, Graybar can work with our users to create a list of products, assign a quote and place it in the catalog for easy ordering and approval.”
“The Purchasing Department is actively promoting the use of the NC State MarketPlace as the most efficient way to purchase supplies,” said Loosman. “This automation allows us to realize $30 in process efficiency savings per purchase order and we place approximately 1,000 Graybar orders per year.”
Graybar’s product selection, pricing through the U.S. Communities contract and the ability to handle a high volume of transactions electronically matched NC State’s MarketPlace.
Since then, Graybar’s integrated online catalog and ordering automation has enabled NC State’s Purchasing Department to successfully streamline the purchasing process by lowering costs and providing easy access to the MRO products the campus customers need.
Sales surpass $7 billion, net income doubles
Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical, communications and data networking products and provider of related supply chain management and logistics services, reported today that the company finished 2018 with its seventh consecutive year of record net sales.
In 2018, net sales totaled $7.2 billion, an 8.6 percent increase compared to the previous year. Graybar also achieved record net income of $143.3 million, a 100.1 percent increase compared to 2017. The company saw positive organic sales growth across all markets, and its net income was favorably impacted by a lower corporate income tax rate combined with ongoing tax planning initiatives.
“Graybar achieved breakthrough results in 2018 thanks to the outstanding efforts of our employees,” said Graybar’s Chairman, President and CEO Kathleen M. Mazzarella. “As a company, we have raised the bar on our performance for seven consecutive years by relentlessly working to create an exceptional customer experience and pursuing new opportunities for growth and innovation. I am proud of everything we accomplished last year, and I look forward to sustaining our momentum as we celebrate Graybar’s 150th anniversary and 90 years of employee ownership in 2019.”
Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, communications and data networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of 289 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, helping its customers power, network and secure their facilities with speed, intelligence and efficiency. For more information, call 1-800-GRAYBAR.
The 500,000 square-foot Raleigh Convention Center located in Raleigh, North Carolina, includes a soaring street-level lobby, an elegant ballroom and a massive exhibit hall. Completed in 2008, the facility averages between 250-350 events per year and more than 440,000 visitors.
In 2014, Graybar worked with the Raleigh Convention Center on a lighting retrofit for its 45,000 square-foot underground delivery area. The retrofit consisted of replacing existing HID fixtures with high bay LEDs with integrated occupancy sensors from Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds series. The new fixtures helped to reduce energy usage by an estimated 18,480W per day, not including the additional energy savings from the occupancy sensors, which turn the lights off when no one is in the area.
So when the time came to upgrade the lighting of its exhibit hall, the Raleigh Convention Center turned once again to Graybar for a solution. Committed to having the most environmentally efficient convention center in the nation, the Raleigh Convention Center wanted an energy-efficient solution that would uphold the aesthetic as well as functionality standards visitors expected.
“We’re always striving to make better environmentally sound choices,” said Raleigh Convention Center Facilities Manager Tim Greene. “And saving on electricity is a no brainer. Looking back at the way LEDs have progressed and their longer lifespan, the benefits in converting from traditional lighting to LEDs just made sense.”
By utilizing the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Cooperative, Graybar helped the Raleigh Convention Center secure the right fixtures for the exhibit hall. According to their website, U.S. Communities is the leading national government purchasing cooperative, providing world class government procurement resources and solutions to local and state government agencies looking for the best overall supplier
The large, 150,000 square-foot exhibit hall contained approximately 160 sets of lights, with each set including one 750W HID and four 500W quartz fixtures. Graybar worked with several manufacturers to provide the convention center with a number of sample fixtures to install and evaluate based on functionality and appearance.
To replace the existing fixtures, Graybar proposed an LED combination that included 300W high bays and 85W cylinders, paired with Lutron dimming controls. With events being held year-round, shutting down the space to install the new fixtures was not an option. Instead, Graybar stored and received all fixtures at its local Raleigh branch, and worked closely with the installer to deliver the fixtures for quick installation between shows.
Completed in October 2015, the convention center now has a much more modern and contemporary look. Plus, the lights turn on much quicker than before.
“Overall, the look is much softer and the lights are not as harsh as before,” said Greene.
In addition, the exhibit hall lighting upgrades have helped to significantly reduce energy usage and related maintenance by an estimated 318,230W per day.
“Before the lighting retrofit we were changing around 170 bulbs a year,” said Greene. “Now, that number is down to zero.”
Pleased with the results, the Raleigh Convention Center is currently working with Graybar to retrofit the lighting of its 45,000 square-foot ballroom, along with a number of other projects.
With 8,500 employees in more than 290 locations across North America including Canada and Puerto Rico, Graybar is a national company with local career opportunities, including:
• No. 426 on the FORTUNE 500 ranking of America’s largest companies (2018)
• No. 55 on the Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies list (2017)
• Named to FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 16th year (2018)
• Named by Forbes as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” (2018)
• No. 13 on the National Center for Employee Ownership “Employee Ownership 100” list (2018)
• No. 3 on the Modern Distribution Management Market Leaders list (2018)
• No. 3 on Electrical Wholesaling’s Top 200 Electrical Distributors list (2018)
• Named one of the Top Workplaces in Atlanta, the California Bay Area, St. Louis, Oregon and Southwest Washington (2018)
• On Broadband Communities’ Fiber to the Home Top 100 list (2018)
• Named one of Selling Power’s “Best Companies to Sell For” (2018)
As a leading North American distributor, Graybar operates with one clear mission: to serve as the vital link in the supply chain, adding value for customers and suppliers with innovative solutions and services. Graybar’s strategy is to sustain the organization as an independent and employee-owned company, while achieving the results that position the company as an industry leader and allows Graybar to work to the advantage of those it serves.