From Brazil and Turkey, to Germany and China, Prysmian Group has become a leader provider of energy and telecoms cables, serving customers all over the world. With sales reaching over €7.5bn in 2016 alone, the Group continues to develop its existing products to support new and emerging markets. Its exponential growth, reflected in the high volume of infrastructure projects within Australia at present, has seen Prysmian Group house two factories within Sydney – one for its telecommunication cables, the other for its energy division.
“We are in a great location, and are a short distance from Sydney CBD, so this makes a big difference for customers who want to ensure that their cables are produced and delivered on time, sometimes at extra cost – I think that’s a big selling point,” explains Frederick Persson, the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
Significant investment has been placed in the development of the two factories within the last five years, with a long-term goal to deliver a personalised touch whilst providing a global presence. Such is the Group’s success, it has been the sole supplier of not only Telstra’s telecommunication cables for the last 15 years, but it is also the major cable supplier of the National Broadband Network’s (NBN) government-funded, fibre network project across Australia. Set to complete in 2020, the Group is continually manufacturing all the required cables for successful deployment of the NBN rollout.
One stop shop
Striving for customer satisfaction has seen Prysmian Group become well respected throughout Australia, something which Persson notes with pride. Proactively responding to any spikes in demand, he explains that this has granted the Group an award at the NBN Supplier Summit for three consecutive years. “This is on the back of our very high ability to predict possible changes and flexibility to produce any cable at short notice,” he says.
The Group therefore embeds a high level of quality control, guaranteeing high standards across the board. “With some production lines, we have speeds of up to 900 meters per minute and these are monitored automatically,” comments Persson. “If we encounter any problems with the cables, we are immediately alerted and work to make sure that this doesn’t impact the customer in any way.
“We’re a global company, so I think our name carries some weight. We support customers on the cable management side, so we take care of the delivery and also give a lot of technical support when clients define their projects. I feel that we are quite competitive overall.”
The Group’s ongoing work has seen it garner positive relationships with suppliers – but even a good reputation has not removed it from common challenges within the Australian market. Utilising local suppliers has enabled reduction in any bottlenecks within its supply chain. Proximity is a significant driver, delivering potential cost savings. Consequently, the company has strong local relationships with Dow Chemical and Metrod Holdings, amongst many others in the delivery of its cables.
“We have been able to position ourselves as a quality product manufacturer and I think we have very few problems with regards to the quality of the cables we are putting on the Australian market,” adds Persson. “Do people prefer to pay for this? Not always, but to a larger extent we are able to support those customers that can see the value on the products we are making.”
Additionally, despite ongoing growth potential, the Group also continues to tackle ongoing international challenges, especially with regards to importing products with varying levels of quality, and even compliance.
“Often we find we are competing against suppliers with a very different set of standards and we have had a couple of very high issues here in Australia. We are sometimes competing with products made under fewer regulations or fewer standards which we are obliged to apply under Australian laws. Being a local manufacturer sometimes makes this hard,” Persson says.
Wishing for a level playing field, Persson adds: “We work to make sure that we are efficient, and whatever we lose in terms of having a more expensive workforce here in Australia, we will therefore compensate by creating smarter solutions or advanced machines – in the end we have to be able to compete in a global arena.”
The use and subsequent loss of energy is something which Prysmian Group is working on reducing throughout the development of its cables in a bid to better serve its customers. Increased energy prices in Australia and the need to become more sustainable are two key areas where the Group is allocating resources in order to provide efficient solutions and the design of cables efficiencies to the whole network.
Additionally, not content to just better its existing technologies, the Group is working at supplying connectorised cables, which will support the delivery of a complete system, rather than sole parts, in order to further extend its services.
“Our new invention, Prycam, is where customers will be able to monitor the cable whilst it is live and be alerted if there is a fault,” Persson says. “This is something that people are asking for – to predict potential black outs.”
“We are slowly moving towards a smart grid, where energy is injected into the grid depending on peak usage times. It is becoming more intellectual. We are trying to move from just a transactional cable supplier to offering the complete solution.”
Delving into the renewable energy market will also open up further doors for Prysmian Group. A steady demand for wind and solar farms is emerging within Australia, where the Group aims to deliver the cables for such projects.
Adopting a proactive approach and responding to customer needs has enabled Prysmian Group to continue developing its services across Australia, whilst maintaining the focus on a personalised touch. “We are a global supplier with the ability to supply high quality cables worldwide,” concludes Persson.
“Although being a corporate organisation can sometimes be very hard for the customer to get through, I can confidently say that our customers can trust our ability to combine local capabilities and industry expertise with a global ability to source cables and solutions from any part of the world. All of it with one goal: maintaining our position as a supplier of choice.”