Established in 1978 and with over 40 years of experience in the field of cables and cable accessories, Cleveland Cable Trading offers 360 degrees of cable solutions to some of the world’s most critical and demanding industries. With an established client base in Europe, the company successfully opened its facility in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone in 2016, to offer its services to the Middle East and Africa through its 20,000 square metre facility.
During his interview with the Zone, Michael Powell, General Manager, Cleveland Cable, shed light on the way in which the company has made use of e-commerce platforms to drive its growth.
Opened a 20,000 square metre facility in 2016 in Jafza to caterer to the MENA region
Would you like to provide details on what kind of cable solutions you offer to your customers, and what are the industries you cater to?
CCT provides full power, instrument, control, data, and communications cable solutions for a wide range of industries which include construction, power generation, oil and gas, and data centres. Wherever possible, we source cables from within and around the UAE to minimise our carbon footprint and to assist the local economies wherever possible.
During the 40 years of your existence in the market, what kind of strategies have you adopted to ensure growth in business?
We have learned to adapt and embrace change as it happens. It started as early as the mid 1980’s. Suddenly Telecom operators were moving away from copper and looking into glass fibre as the main cable source for communication. Since then, we have seen a decline in lead-lined / oil-filled cables which have been replaced with far better materials in terms of insulation and sheathing. We have been through the development of more rigid and harder wearing polymers for outer sheaths to replace external cables that may have previously been armoured, the use of finer strands that create flexible cables, the move away from carcinogenic plastics inside buildings which have been replaced by low smoke, and zero halogen polymers.
We ensure that we are always at the cutting edge when a new technology presents itself, we can only do this because of our unique relationships with our trusted manufacturers. Because of this approach, each of our branches and companies have vast stocks of both new and traditional legacy cables available for immediate use.
What aspect of your company do you think serves as your competitive advantage over your competitors?
We believe that our stockholding is unrivalled, we carry a large range of cables in-house for immediate pickup or delivery, throughout all our branches and companies. Due to our relationship with manufacturers, we receive the best pricing and best lead times that are available. The business this brings is a major competitive edge and we often find that we aren’t really competing like for like with other distributors. Our biggest single competitive advantage though is that if a decision is needed, any staff member can directly call the directors and senior managers, because of this, we run very lean as a company and are able to respond rapidly to new opportunities, and react to problems before they start to affect our customers.
How has your company made use of e-commerce to ensure its growth?
20 years ago, we started to write an in-house intranet-based electronic stockholding and ordering system which we call Eclipse. Five years since we undertook the decision to upgrade it and decided on a three-point approach to ensuring that whatever the information our client needs, we will listen and provide it in a format they want. We set out to upgrade our stock control system Eclipse, our general IT system, and then finally our web presence.
In early 2019, the decision was made to bring Cleveland Cable Company’s web and online development task in-house after several years of working with outside partners. This decision was taken after an assessment of the need for innovation in this area, and an acceptance of the requirement to take full ownership of the whole development pathway from inception to launch.
The first project fully undertaken by this new team was the redevelopment of our core web- site into a full-featured web presence, information store, catalogue, and lead generation platform. The success of this project led to the widening of the team’s remit to include ground-up redevelopment of our electrical wholesale e-commerce website consisting of a bespoke data structure, coded using proven open-source technologies, controlled by an ergonomic and mobile-friendly UI/UX solution, and fully integrated both with third-party critical infrastructure and our own internal order capture and fulfilment systems. Launching the e-commerce site in the UK, will therefore act as a benchmark for releasing an entire system worldwide.
How has your existence in Jafza helped in the prosperity of your company?
Jafza has given us the ability to grow as a company in the UAE and GCC. Being the hub of business in the Middle East, we can now trade across the region as the free zone offers a gateway to the GCC.