Connecting the dots-- integrating the integrators' supply chain

It had to happen. Anixter, one of the largest industrial distributors in the world, has become the first to try to integrate the integrators' supply chain.

Integrators, especially smaller integrators in the under $20 million per year revenue range, often have great difficulty easily putting together what they need to do a project. Upwards of 50% of an integrator's revenue is often pass through-- that is, they buy hardware, devices, field instruments, final control elements-- and pass through the costs, with a very small mark up, directly to their client, the end user company.

Because they don't buy in bulk, they get short shrift from the vendors. They get lousy discounts from the vendors' prime distributors, and can often find themselves in the embarrassing situation of having their client be able to purchase a product at a lower price than the integrator can.

Anixter has put together a whole group of vendor partners, and they showed their wares yesterday at the CSIA conference in Naples, Fla. Anixter has partnered with Eaton, Red Lion, Wago, Panduit, Puls, Elpro, Belden (including Hirschmann and Lumberg) and others to offer a complete "nuts and bolts" connectivity solution including cyber security and industrial Ethernet and fieldbus connectivity.

"We can even kit for specfic projects," said Jill Shea, Anixter's director of marketing. "I've been an integrator and had the experience of trying to locate just one j-box on a pallet. We can polybag all the components necessary to put together just that one application. And our pricing is based on the aggregate of purchases from all our partners, not just one."

Judging from the comments I heard from CSIA integrators, Anixter seems to have hit a hot button.