Control Cable

As the manufacturing of voice and data communications cabling steadily grows into an offshore commodity, CEO of Control Cable Richard Meltzer says his Maryland-based company has shifted focus to custom cabling manufacturing.

“In data communication everything has become very small, very fast, very standardized and very much offshore,” Meltzer says. “Control Cable has shifted into custom manufacturing. We do continue to sell commodity offshore products, but our real specialty is custom manufacturing of electrical and mechanical data cabling for a variety of customers.”

Control Cable has more than 30 years of experience in custom cabling manufacturing and in March 2009, the company took steps to improve this service by pursuing ISO 9001:2008 certification. To meet the ISO standards, Control Cable underwent a one-year evaluation process that included quality management system development, a management system documentation review, pre-audit, initial assessment, and clearance of non-conformances, all of which work to identify corrective actions that eliminate non-conformance to the quality management standard. In February, the company was audited by BSI, an independent agency that recommended Control Cable receive the certification.

Although there is a dollar amount associated with the measures implemented to achieve this certification, Meltzer claims the real sacrifice is time more than money.

“This was in investment of time,” he notes. “We had to document every one of our processes and procedures which is very time consuming.” Meltzer says that the certification will put the company on a new playing ground by allowing it to work with other customers that are also ISO 9001 certified.

“What it means for our company is we now have a quality management system in place that is robust and focused on providing measurable information with respect to quality, customer satisfaction and vendor performance,” he says.

One such system that improves upon customer satisfaction and efficiency is Control Cable’s ability to measure the actual time it takes to manufacture each product. After manufacturing multiple cables for a customer, Control Cable can look at its system and determine the amount of time it took to not only make the cables, but each part that goes into them. The company uses this data for future time estimates when quoting its customers.

Meltzer says working toward ISO certification demonstrates one of Control Cables biggest strengths – adaptability. The company was founded in 1975 as an installer of computer networks, early generation computer mainframes and electronic cash registers. It then began assembling cables for other installers of those same products. In the 1980s and 1990s all industries exploded with needs for voice and data products, which also require cables. Control Cable expanded its vendor catalog offerings to keep with the new demand. Two years ago, it responded to another customer request by adding molding services and metal fabrication as part of its contract manufacturing services.

Through all of this change, Meltzer points out that the company has maintained a high employee retention rate; the average overall tenure is about 20 years. Much of the management team and many account executives have been around for 25 years or more. Meltzer says their industry knowledge is an incredible asset in working to provide customers with whatever they need.

“This is a company that has been around for 35 years and is constantly reinventing itself,” he says. “I’m proud of the way it has managed to survive the economic downturn and adapt to the changes that have occurred in the market and the economy. Through all the uncertainty and the increase in competition, this company has just remained committed to its customers.”

Meltzer says Control Cable’s future over the next 10 years includes growing its capabilities in manufacturing. He also sees the company working with more original equipment manufacturers to supply cable assemblies used in other manufacturers’ products. However, its largest client base remains government and military agencies that are close to Control Cable’s headquarters.