CES and MCG Industrial Invent New Lighting Control for Sunbelt Rentals
Sunbelt Rentals knew they needed a lighting control product that didn’t exist yet.
What they didn’t know was that just a few months before, Charleston Project Group Project Manager John Murray and TAMCO Engineer Jeff McClure had talked about creating that very product at City Electric Supply.
Lighting Control on the Mind
“My son had just built a new house,” explained John. “I was looking into Bluetooth lighting control, and I ended up on the phone with Jeff. I said it was impressive and it was a shame we couldn’t do the same thing with control panels, like a lighting control relay panel. Jeff said he’d been wanting to do just that, and we got excited talking about it.”
This was all in the back of John’s mind when he got the call about Sunbelt’s new building project from CES West Ashley Branch Manager Josh Winningham.
“Josh had worked with the customer before; he has a great relationship with them,” said John. “They wanted a lighting control relay panel. It was just the perfect timing and also a great opportunity.”
Not Scared Away by a Challenge
CES landed the project and even supplied most of the materials for it, but that wasn’t what made this project unique.
“What makes this project unique is that this is the first time working with this type of lighting control,” explained Contractor and Owner of Southcoast Electrical Contractors Kevin Davis, who is currently overseeing this project.
Lucky for Kevin, CES isn’t scared away by a challenge. Josh got Sunbelt on board to let them handle the product themselves.
“Along with the best service, we offer a lot of product knowledge,” explained Josh, “and our relationship with TAMCO and MCG Industrial is another amazing perk. The fact that there are people there who can put things like this panel together is absolutely crazy. Other distributors would have to contact an engineer to even try to put this together. We did it in-house.”
CES was able to create a product completely in-house because of their in-house team at MCG.
“Give them anything, and they’ll figure it out,” said John.
That seems to be the mindset of the entire CES team that played such a crucial role in this success story. It doesn’t matter what you need, somebody’s going to find a way to get it.
“When John rang the doorbell, we went straight to the drawing board, sparking the development and design behind the panel. We ran with it and were able to give John a full packet to share with the customer for approval,” said Product Manager of RPP and MCG Kyler Morehead. “Then, we assembled and delivered it to John’s customer as a plug and play unit.”
While that is an impressive feat, Jeff didn’t just care about getting it done. He cared about making a competitive product.
“It features PLC and lighting contactors, giving it a solid state relay. It can get hit really hard, and it won’t blow up on you like other lighting controls on the market. It’s a lot more robust,” explained Jeff.
Something else he cared about? Making it as easy as possible for the electricians who would be installing it.
“The biggest thing was that most electricians don’t carry laptops or computers, which is what you need to program. With this, you don’t need those things,” said Jeff. “I tried to make something fast and comfortable for the guys in the field. We can design stuff all day long, but if we don’t make it easy to install for guys in the field, it’s not going to be helpful.”
So, how long did this brand-new, electrician-friendly, pre-programmed, and pre-labeled product take to go from an idea to a product with a UL certification tacked on top? You’ll be surprised to hear — less than four weeks.
“That’s ridiculously fast,” said John. “I come from custom switchgear, so I know what’s involved in this, and that timeline is a little crazy. The customer was thinking at least six weeks, and we got it done in a little over three.”
John never questioned the team’s ability to get the job done, but he was still impressed by the product and the turnaround.
“I knew they wouldn’t say no,” said John about the MCG team. “I could ask them to design the silliest thing in the world and they could do it. Not only would they do it, but they’d build it, get the documentation, UL it, and ship it out in under six weeks. They’re not throwing a thing together; they’re meeting standards. But still, it takes late nights and early mornings to get something like that done.”
Their lighting control relay panel is unique, but the story isn’t new. For CES, TAMCO, and MCG, this is just how they do business.
“We have the unique ability to listen and respond to customer requests,” said Kyler. “It’s so rewarding to see all of the different segments of CES work together to get everything done within the company.”
With the product successfully in Sunbelt’s hands ahead of schedule, it’s safe to say CES is already looking forward to the next challenge. Whatever it is, they’re ready for it.
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