Optimizing Labor on a Fast-paced Job Site

Anixter Case Study: Optimizing Labor on a Fast-paced Job Site



Electrical contractor


  • Keeping up with a fast and fluid timeline
  • Managing materials on a chaotic job site with thousands of workers and contractors
  • Finding manufacturers that could build product to spec with short lead times
  • Minimizing waiting and nonproductive labor for up to 500 electricians


  • Cable layering 
  • Material management 
  • Sourcing 


  • Saved 30 percent on labor for cable pulls = $240,000 
  • Reduced non-productive labor from 6 to 5 percent 
  • Eliminated more than $10,000 in waste removal costs 
  • Minimized overtime hours, avoiding an estimated $380,000 in costs 
  • Met all project timelines and maintained zero injuries related to cable management

An electrical contractor, who was a customer of Anixter’s, partnered with another contractor on a joint venture—a huge construction project in Nevada with a fast and fluid timeline. Anixter’s customer knew they needed support for cable management and was interested in deployment services and logistical support. They needed a distributor that could manage their wire and cable locally and Anixter’s Reno distribution center was only 30 minutes from the job site.

Keeping Up With Construction

The fast timeline of the project presented a lot of challenges. The contractor’s customer was trying to engineer, design and construct simultaneously, which often meant changing direction mid-phase. To keep up, the contractor needed a distributor that could deliver product exactly when and where it was needed, which required finding manufacturers that could build product to spec with very short lead times. They also needed help keeping track of materials on site, which was a challenge due to the extensive acreage of the job site and the thousands of people working there, including many other electrical contractors. To add further pressure, the contractor was paying up to 500 electricians a hundred dollars per hour, plus overtime, for working 70 hours per week. They needed to have product on time and ready to install, or their labor cost would be dramatically impacted.

Managing Material and Optimizing Labor

Anixter’s first step was sourcing material. Long-standing relationships with manufacturers made it easy to identify and partner with those that could quickly build product to spec at lower costs, thus avoiding long lead times.

To keep everything organized between the manufacturers and the chaotic job site, Anixter provided material management services, as well as custom labeling and daily delivery service. Partnering with Anixter was especially beneficial when the contractor needed to scale up to meet changing timelines and demands, as Anixter was able to scale with them by adding more shifts at its Reno facility and leveraging its wider distribution network.

To keep the contractor’s 500 electricians working efficiently, Anixter provided cable management solutions, which included:

  • INSTA-REEL, a reel and payout stand in one, which allowed electricians to get to work as soon as the reel arrived
  • PARASPIN, reel technology that allows different diameters of cable to be pulled simultaneously 
  • Layering different cables on a single reel before shipping to minimize the number of reels on site 
  • Pre-installed pulling eyes, eliminating the need for electricians to install on site

Measurable Results Beyond Cost Savings

In terms of labor costs, the contractor is realizing at least 30 percent—$240,000—in savings on faster pulls with PARASPIN and cable layering, 30 to 40 percent savings on layered pulls, and an estimated $40,000 in savings as a result of the pre-installed pulling eyes. By helping electricians work as efficiently as possible, nonproductive labor was reduced from a budgeted 6 percent to 5 percent, saving the contractor $550,000. Additionally, Anixter minimized overtime at the job site, resulting in an estimated cost avoidance of $380,000. Since Anixter’s INSTA-REEL and PARASPIN reels are shipped back to Anixter and reused, the contractor also avoided more than $10,000 in waste removal costs. Due to the inherently safer INSTA-REEL and PARASPIN, the contractor completed the work safely with no injuries and kept the Enhanced Modification Rate (EMR) from increasing.

Additionally, with Anixter’s Supply Chain Solutions, all project milestones were met, and the end user was very pleased, which has helped the contractor win millions of dollars in additional business on the project.