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Lessons Learned From Great Depression

Despite downturn, Siemon embarks on aggressive product launch strategy


September 1, 2009  


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The fourth Carl Siemon to hold the title of president and CEO of the network cabling company that bears his name, did not personally experience the Great Depression, but his grandfather certainly did. Carl M. survived that tumultuous era by adopting a conservative management style that is still in existence today.

“It became ingrained in the company,” Carl N. Siemon said in a recent interview with CNS at its offices in Toronto. “It is now part of our culture. We have been disciplined about not letting our debt structure become overleveraged and having more liquidity than we think we might need for the rainy days. That has served us well.

“We were driving forward full steam ahead and on record course going into the fourth quarter of last year,” he recalls. “It came as a shock when it really should not have. After it began to happen and deepen, when you think about and analyze the underlying causes, it made sense.”

Despite the downturn, the company, which expects 60% of revenues next year to come from outside the U.S., has not shied away from embarking on aggressive green manufacturing and product launch strategies.

Siemon points out that as a company, “we were been green before it became fashionable.” An example of that is Branch Hill Farm in New Hampshire, an award-winning 3,300 acre tree farm operated by members of the company’s board of directors that began in 1962 when his father bought his grandparents 1786 farmhouse and an accompanying three acres of land in what was the first of 38 different land acquisitions. His father personally managed and worked the wood lots for 40 years and it was his wish, according to the facility’s Web site, that “the protected land would provide an oasis of forests, fields, wildlife, recreation, clean water and air for generations to come.

Meanwhile in June, company officials “flipped the switch” on a new solar power system that will provide green house gas reductions of 159 metric tonnes annually at the Siemon head office and manufacturing campus in Watertown, Conn.

On the product side, MapIT G2, launched on July 31, is an upgrade of the MapIT intelligent infrastructure management (IIM) system, which provides real-time tracking and reporting of network-side physical layer activity.

Available in Category 6A (Class EA) shielded and unshielded and Category 6 (Class E) unshielded as well as single-mode and multimode 10 Gb/s optical fiber, the IIM is made up of smart patch panels, Master Control Panels and MapIT software.

According to the company, it also uses 75% less power than other IIM systems resulting in a lower power consumption that reduces heat generation and energy consumed by thermal management systems.

Energy efficiency is also a key part of the VersaPod, the company’s first data centre cabinet offering. “Instead of looking at a cabinet as a standalone product, we looked at it from the perspective of what is the end to end functionality in a row in a data centre and approached it from that design standpoint,” says Siemon. “We spent a lot of time on the areas that interconnect the cabinets.”

That, he added, opened up opportunities for more efficient air flow handling, which allowed the company to increase the thermal efficiency and reduce the typical footprint by about 20%.

“Energy conservation efforts are being introduced into the data centre at an ever-increasing rate with good reason,” a company white paper states. “Current studies show that power alone represents from 30- 50% of overall data centre budgets. While a portion of the energy is consumed by the actual servers, switches, routers and other active gear, an additional power load is needed to cool this equipment.

“In order to have the most efficient cooling, cabling must be properly designed, remediated and routed to allow the air to flow in an unobstructed manner. TIA-942 and other complimentary data centre standards around the globe suggest that horizontal and vertical cabling be run accommodating growth so that these areas do not need to be revisited.”