Careers at General Cable
General Cable’s mission is to be the best performing wire and cable company in the industry, relentlessly focus on the customer, and innovate in the utilities, communications, and industrial markets.
General Cable is a provider of of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire, and cable products. The firm operates four reportable business segments based on geography:
- North America - Operates primarily in the United States and Canada. Contributed approximately 54% to total revenues in 2015.
- Europe - Operates in France, Germany, Norway, Portugal, and Spain, and sells in markets throughout Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean. Contributed approximately 23% to total revenues in 2015.
- Latin America - Operates in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico. Contributed approximately 17% to total revenues in 2015.
- Africa/Asia Pacific - Operates in Algeria, Angola, Australia, China, Egypt, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and Zambia. Contributed approximately 6% to total revenues in 2015.
General Cable was established through the mergers of a dozen companies originally founded in the 1800s. In 1925 New Jersey-based Safety Insulated Wire & Cable Co. acquired two small firms to form Safety Cable Co. In 1927, after a few more acquisitions, it combined with Standard Underground Cable and a number of other businesses to create General Cable Corporation.
The new company was now one of only six in the U.S. with the ability to produce wire from beginning to end. However, this status hid many problems. The abundance of merger transacations saddled General Cable with significant debt. Also, while it had 22 manufacturing plants across 14 locations, many were outdated and worthless. Moreover, its top-heavy management created inefficiencies.
The stock market crash and the Great Depression only made things worse. The company was dependent on copper, and so purchased a significant amount in order to build up a large reserve. However, the value of copper dropped to five cents a pound in 1932, leading to five years of losses. To address its concerns, the company turned to executive Dwight R.G. Palmer.
Palmer garnered a contract for the Hoover Dam and brought in much new business. He also saw several opportunities as World War II approached. General Cable became France’s only supplier of wire and Britain’s most important source of the material. It also ramped up production to provide the United States military with necessary items, growing from six operating plants to ten.
The firm emerged from the war on stronger footing. It eliminated its debt and pursued an aggressive expansion plan, opening new plants in Florida, California, Texas, and Illinois. It also grew through a number of new acquisitions. These purchases helped it diversify its portfolio – it now produced terminal housings, galvanized steel wire and strand, and cable installation/maintenance equipment.
In 1966, General Cable posted a $31.2 million profit. In 1979 it changed its name to GK Technologies to better reflect its broader portfolio. In 1981 it was acquired by Penn Central, but in 1992 it was spun off and reclaimed the General Cable name. In 1994 it was acquired by Wassall PLC, but in 1997 it became independen tthrough a public stock offering. It began trading on the NYSE.
Business model of General Cable
General Cable has a segmented market business model, with customer groups that have slightly different needs. The company targets its offerings at firms in the energy, industrial, construction, specialty, and communications markets.
General Cable offers two primary value propositions: innovation and brand/status.
The company has embraced innovation throughout its history. Its groundbreaking efforts include:
- Installing the world’s highest underground distribution line at Pikes Peak, Colorado
- Producing the first 75,000-volt submarine cable in the U.S. for the Delaware River Crossing
- Inventing Romex brand non-metallic sheathed cable at its facility in Rome, New York
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It is one of the largest manufacturers
of wire and cable solutions in the world and employs over 11,000 associates. It has also been cited as one of the top 20 mid-sized companies in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region.
General Cable’s main channel is its direct sales team, which operates from offices around the world. It also sells its products through retailers, contractors, independent distributors, and original equipment manufacturers. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, catalogs, and participation in trade shows and conferences.
General Cable’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
General Cable’s business model entails designing, developing, manufacturing, and distributing its products for its customers.
General Cable’s key partners are the suppliers that provide it with the raw materials it needs to manufacture its products. The main materials it uses are copper and aluminum.
General Cable’s main resources are its human resources, who include the engineers who design, develop, and manufacture its products, the salespeople who market it, and the customer service employees who provide support. It maintains important physical resources in the form of its global network of manufacturing facilities in its core markets.
General Cable has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation. Its biggest cost driver is cost of sales, a variable expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and administration, both fixed costs.
General Cable has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from the sale of its products to its customers. Sales typically occur through the signing of long-term contracts.
info: Michael T. McDonnell earned a B.S. at Pennsylvania State University and an M.A. at the University of Massachusetts. He previously served as President and CEO of TPC Group and President and CEO of Pregis Corporation, and worked at Henkel Corporation and DuPont.
info: Matti Masanovich earned an MBA at Assumption University. He previously served as Vice President of Finance at Delphi Automotive, as Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of Collins & Aikman Corporation, and as Controller of Dura Automotive Systems.
info: Emerson C. Moser earned a Bachelor’s degree at Purdue University and a JD at Wake Forest University. He previously held a few leadership roles at General Cable, including Assistant General Counsel and Interim Chief Legal Officer.
info: Leah Stark earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physiology at Lee University and a Master’s degree at Michigan State University. She previously served as Senior Director of Global Human Resources at Whirlpool Corporation.
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