Wiring Harness News WHN Jan-Feb 2017

• What’s your company’s DNA? • Timing the Sale - A Case Study • 2017 WHMA Conference • APX Labs Brings Augmented Reality to Harness Assembly at Boeing • Going Green in a Manufacturing Environment Increases Profits • Wire Wisdom - UL Follow-Up Services Maintain Product Integrity • OEMs Consider Cross-Border Move in Face of Uncertainty • The Impact of LV 214-4 - The German Automotive OEM Connector Test Specification January February 2017 37 Years of Marine Wiring Proficiency at Pacer By Joe Tito Wiring Harness News _____________________________ I f you’ve ever traveled to Flor- ida’s beautiful west coast, it would be no surprise that it is home to Pacer Group, a major supplier to the marine electrical industry. Pacer is uniquely positioned having integrat- ed three major industrial components into their business. At the heart is the 42,000 sq ft marine wire manufactur- ing facility at their group headquarters in Sarasota. Just east of there, in the town of Wauchula, Pacer has a similar facility where they manufacture electri- cal panels and wiring harnesses. Pacer maintains a 14,000 sq ft state of the art marine electrical component distribu- tion center in Hollywood. I recently chatted with John Swait- owski, President of Pacer Group, about the company and their unique position. “My father was in the wire and cable business up north, and started the busi- ness in Ft. Lauderdale in 1979,” John began. It was a wire distribution busi- ness at the time, and as John’s father quickly grew the business, they began to extrude and manufacture their own cable. “There was a lot of marine repair going on there, and it was a great busi- ness to be in.” The business continued to grow over the years, even through the tumultuous economic cycles that seem to dispro- portionately affect the marine indus- try. “The recession of the 1990’s was actually beneficial for us because, as a smaller manufacturer, we became more accessible to the industry than some of the large wire manufacturers. The ma- rine OEM demand was reduced to a point where a more agile supplier was required,” John explained. Pacer out- maneuvered the larger firms, with their big overheads, and began to fill what Pacer Group headquarters in Sarasota, FL would have typically been a distribu- tion role. In 1996, Pacer was approached by some of their marine OEM wire cus- tomers about making assemblies and harnesses. “At the same time, we saw that our wire volume was somewhat jeopardized as some of our other OEM customers began outsourcing to assem- bly contractors.” There was no guar- antee that the raw wire business would come back to Pacer in this changing en- vironment, so they decided to venture into the harness assembly realm. “We have grown substantially, and have cap- tured a good portion of that market, and virtually 100 percent of our customers are OEMs,” he advised. Pacer has added a lot capabilities to its arsenal through this growth. “We don’t just manufacture wire harnesses; we make a lot of electrical panels, and we actually outfit the entire electrical system of the boat,” John said. This lev- el of integration means that Pacer has positioned itself as a wiring system pro- duction house for the marine industry. “We’re not a job shop. Our capabilities include hydragraphics, powder coating, painting, and we have all the systems to give a pleasing look to an electrical panel for a boat.” Pacer engineers work directly with OEMs, and under recommendations published by the American Boat and Yacht Counsel, produce the harness assembly, battery cable assembly, and panel assembly to completely outfit an electrical system. “Just imagine a 28 ft. Pursuit, and look at all the electrical as- pects of that boat; our products are in the entire electrical system.” The marine OEM industry is vastly different from other industries in terms _____________ Continued on page 23 The 2017 WHMA Conference Poised to be Another Winner By Joe Tito Wiring Harness News _____________________________ F ew investments beat those which enrich us personally and professionally. A few years ago, WHMA embarked on a jour- ney to vastly upgrade the offering at their annual conferences. WHMA con- ferences of recent years have been un- paralleled opportunities to learn, grow, share, and discover new approaches to many aspects of the wire harness busi- ness. The WHMA Conference Com- mittee has chosen excellent motiva- tional speakers, as well as personal and professional enrichment presentations, that are still yielding results. I recently spoke with Jim Manke, Executive Di- rector of WHMA. It’s clear the 2017 Conference, scheduled for February 27 - March 2, in San Antonio, Texas, will be another stellar event. One of the departures from tradition this year is the location. “We kind of got stuck in that Orlando, Vegas, Ari- Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio, TX zona rotation,” Jim said, “so this will be a new venue and we’re excited about San Antonio and all that it has to offer.” The event will be held at the San Anto- nio Marriott Rivercenter. “You literally step outside the hotel, and you are on River Walk, with its renowned specialty bars, restaurants, and unique shops,” he noted. The next thing the Committee tack- led was who to have as a guest speak- er. After reviewing many options, the group picked pro football’s legendary Joe Theismann. Mr. Theismann is an entrepreneur and the former star quar- terback for the Washington Redskins. He has spent the last two decades work- ing on NFL broadcasts for ESPN and the NFL Network. His keynote talk is titled, “Game Plan for Success,” and is sure to be a hit. “It’s certainly a recog- nizable name,” Jim explained,” not only _____________ Continued on page 19