Supply Chain Services Simplify Fiber Optic Cabling Deployment

Located in Wanatah, Indiana, Kankakee Valley REMC (KV) is a member-owned Touchstone Energy cooperative delivering power to more than 18,000 residential and commercial member-consumers with 21,000 meters serving seven rural counties in northwestern Indiana.

As a cooperative owned by member consumers, KV has a responsibility to make smart financial decisions. They felt that creating a reliable fiber loop connecting their office and substations was an important step to make in the process of adoption of tomorrow’s technologies. They were aware how quickly technology changes and wanted to make sure that the decisions made were the right choices for their membership. The loop would allow them to improve reliability by moving information faster and more efficiently, as well as being able to quickly spot and fix potential problems and identify outage locations. It would also allow them to identify opportunities to leverage their infrastructure to support further broadband development in their communities.

To design and secure routes for the fiber ring, KV hired Yates Engineering, an Indiana-based firm that specializes in FTTH, RUS design, SMART grid consulting, and construction services. Once the engineering firm had finished the design, KV was able to move forward with the construction phase of the project.

The Wesco sales team brought a combined sales, management, and engineering team approach and offered advice and expertise on fiber design, BOM development, and benefits of order consolidation. Once KV realized the value-added additional services that Wesco brought to the table, including global engineering capabilities provided by our Technology & Support Solutions (TSS) team, they selected us for the project.

The existing infrastructure determined the build, with a combination of strand and lash and ADSS cable construction being used in the approximately 52 miles of fiber and feeder/distribution plant that will be deployed. Besides the bulk fiber for the project, Wesco will also be supplying the cabinets, terminations, duct, and all OSP plant materials. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2021. While the initial first phase of the project is 52 miles, the entire project will encompass 180 miles of fiber.

Partnering with integrated supply chain solutions providers such as Wesco help a company effectively address opportunities in its supply chain management. Josh Pepple, Director of Operations for Kankakee Valley REMC stated, “The partnerships we have established with Wesco and Yates Engineering Services have simplified the management of our fiber ring deployment. Through these partnerships, we have been able to realize savings for our membership through direct purchase of materials, while avoiding the need to bring in additional resources to manage the procurement process.”

Supply Chain Services Create Value and Streamline Deployment

Having an integrated supply chain solutions provider as a partner presents a company with a wide range of benefits and advantages. The integrated provider essentially serves as an extension of the company’s supply chain team, significantly increasing resources available to deploy and manage a broad spectrum of supply chain components and activities.

Scott Sears, Chief Executive Officer for Kankakee Valley REMC stated, “Innovation and community are fundamental to our mission at Kankakee Valley REMC. When preparing for this project, it was key that we focused on being fiscally responsible and good stewards in the community. We are encouraged that through a partnership with Wesco and Yates, this can be achieved. This is a unique opportunity for our cooperative. We are using a new purchasing technique that will result in cost-savings without compromising quality or service.”

“We have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Kankakee Valley REMC for an extended period,” said Bart Bretsch, President and Owner of Yates Engineering Service. “The frequent communication between the two organizations helped us deliver the right design and procurement solution for Kankakee Valley REMC. With our engineer on-site to oversee contractors, combined with Wesco delivering materials palletized by work order, we were able to facilitate the building of the fiber ring in permitted segments, eliminating construction issues.”

Steve Dean, Senior Vice President of Utility for Wesco added, “Servicing our public power customers with new technologies and solutions is a key focus for the Wesco team, and we’re proud to have a long-standing relationship with Kankakee Valley REMC. Partnering with Kankakee Valley and Yates Engineering has allowed the team to build a robust fiber network that delivers increased reliability at a cost savings by utilizing our proven supply chain services that are specifically designed for fiber optic builds. Supporting our public power customers and their engineering firms with both products and supply chain services enables them to focus on what is most important – their communities.”

KV’s core mission is providing electrical service to its member-consumers and while they are not currently looking to implement broadband services, they are actively taking part in conversations both internally and with community leaders about the broadband needs in rural areas. To that effect, they will be vigilant in identifying opportunities to leverage their fiber infrastructure to support further broadband development.

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Donna Yates


Donna Yates
Donna Yates is an experienced freelance writer with over 25 years of experience generating marketing strategies, programs, and collateral specifically focused on the Utility, Broadband, Global Service Providers, and Wireless markets.