Interview with Chris Wren, Global Market Manager for Scapa Cable Solutions
Chris Wren is Global Market Manager for Scapa Cable Solutions, which is a business unit of Scapa Group plc, a global adhesive tape solutions manufacturer.Chris heads the Cable Division of Scapa, which manufactures a wide range of woven and non-woven cable wrapping tapes and components for use in energy, fire survival, telecommunication, data transmission and sub-sea cables. Prior to working for Scapa, Chris has been involved with the supply of materials to cable makers for some 20 years, including spells with Geca Tapes and NEPTCO. With a degree in Textile Technology and background in industrial nonwovens, Chris has been involved in both Business and Product Development.
What makes Scapa unique to the cable & wire industry?
Scapa Cable Solutions, formerly Lindsey & Williams and Rotunda, has over 100 years experience as a supplier of specialist materials to the Cable Industry. With this experience has come technical expertise allied to an in-depth understanding of what is expected of our materials when they are used inside a cable, or as part of a cable joint. The cost of our material is small, compared to the total cable cost, but its impact on the performance of the cable, or cable joint, can be enormous. As cables and jointing systems change, we continue to provide new solutions to meet the challenges presented by our customers.Our 100 years of experience is characterised by Scapa’s professionalism and integrity.
What targets does Scapa have in place to counter the current financial climate?
Scapa looks at the situation today to test ourselves and become a fitter, and more responsive organisation, understanding that our business is now very global and we must support it globally, by being ever more attentive locally. We want Scapa materials to be recognized and available anywhere in the cable world.
Do you see the Scapa market base expanding into new markets in the future? i.e. opening operations in areas such as China, West Africa, and Asia?
Scapa is already present in Asia, with operations in China, Malaysia, and Korea, along with our plants throughout Europe and North America. We intend to leverage these operations to supply our customers wherever they are. We are also improving the availability of our products in Latin and South America, as well as parts of Africa.To operate on a global level brings with it proper challenges, to which you have to be able to respond. For example, Scapa’s rising international brand awareness has led to copying and counterfeiting of our name and products, and Scapa is taking appropriate steps to address this situation.
Are there any new products and technology developments in the pipeline?
As ever in a market driven business, as Scapa’s is, there is much going on, and this reflects changes in the designs of cables and their applications. We see increase in many forms of alternative energy leading to revised cable designs and harsher environments in which cables operate and we are providing protection. Good examples of this are offshore wind farms and photovoltaic arrays that require connecting to the existing energy network. The increase in the use of fibre optic cables is leading to greater specialisation and the cable, as the packaging for the optical fibre, needs to reflect this.We are continuously working on new product developments, and anyone visiting Wire Dusseldorf 2010 are welcome along to our stand in Hall 10, stand number D75, to discuss these with us. Alternatively our global sales team can always be contacted, full details are available online at www.scapa.com
With climate change becoming an issue; how does Scapa see this affecting the energy sectors?
Our perspective is that the move from carbon based energy to renewable is going to result in major changes in the power distribution networks of the world. In the medium term we see an increase in the number of generating units, driven by solar and wind energy, replacing larger carbon fuel based units. In the developed and developing world, implementation and investment is occurring, against a backdrop of increasing energy use.
Do you see Scapa expanding into other electrical markets?
Scapa is already a major supplier to the Automotive Industry for Wire Harness as well as providing a huge range of adhesive tape solutions within many industrial assembly sectors. More information can be found on our Group website at www.scapa.com
Has it been a good year for Scapa, and are there any particular projects that re-iterate the strength of the company?
2009 has been a challenging 12 months with our customers reflecting the uncertainties of the global economy, following a period of growth. There are sectors where we have continued to see growth, but much cable manufacturing has seen significant drops in activity, at the same time as investing in new capacity. This makes for a highly competitive environment, where Scapa’s customer focus and product range has meant we remain an industry leader.
How does Scapa view on-line media, advertising and promotion?
Scapa wants to make sure we are accessible to our customers. Increasing use of the internet by cable designers and engineers has made this medium ever more important to us. We think it is here to stay and will continue to look at ways of increasing our online presence and service to our customers, which will complement the more traditional media produced by Scapa.
What have been the key factors behind the success of Scapa?
“Having the right materials, at the right price, in the right places, at the right time, backed up and underwritten by a global organisation.” It comes down to having the right Scapa people working closely with our customers at many levels.
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