North American Electric Celebrates 30 Years of Focusing on the Customer
Hernando, Mississippi — Sept. 12, 2023— Statistics on start-up businesses are nothing if not grim. More than 90 percent fail; 75 percent go out of business within the first 15 years. So, when a company survives and thrives twice that long to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary, as North American Electric (NAE) does this year, one must wonder, “What are they doing right?”
According to Roy Stone, president of NAE, which sells motors and motor controls through distribution, the answer is focusing on the customer. “When you call us, a real, live person answers the phone. And if you look at our website and our catalogs, the theme is, ‘Motors and Motor Controls Made Easy,’” he said. “We organize our products by product categories designed for applications — general manufacturing, oil & gas, agricultural, aggregate and so forth — to help the customer get right to the products that are relevant for their industry.”
As part of its customer focus, NAE maintains a large in-stock inventory of standard products in its three U.S. distribution centers in Hernando, Mississippi, Reno, Nevada, and Odessa, Texas, allowing most orders to ship the same day they’re received. Stone said this practice helped the company significantly during and after the COVID pandemic, when supply chain issues affected everyone. “Our inventory levels were better than most, so we were able to keep the business going without having to lay off any of our 80 employees and continue to meet customer needs when so many others couldn’t.”
NAE was founded in 1993 by David Hackman, the company’s owner and CEO, and his father, as an importer and wholesaler of electric motors to distributors. They started in the Southeast and Central U.S. and grew the business over time by adding new products and new customers, Hackman said.
In 2014, NAE achieved a major milestone by adding motor controls to its product offering. Unlike motors, motor controls require a full staff of electrical engineers and are built in both pre-engineered and customized designs in an on-site UL508A control panel shop at the Hernando headquarters. Today, motor controls is the fastest growing segment of NAE’s business.
“With motors, customers typically know exactly what they need,” Stone said. “With motor controls, not as much, so customer-focused service becomes even more critical. Our staff is trained to work with the customer to determine whether one of our standard motor control panels will meet their needs or if they require a customized solution.”
An additional aspect of NAE’s focus on the customer is thinking outside the box — or in this case, thinking differently inside the box — about what customers need. In 2018, NAE introduced its NEMA 3R control panel enclosure with the Vortex™ cooling tunnel, a proprietary and patent pending design that uses air flow to mitigate heat build-up and contamination inside enclosures containing variable frequency drives. An enhanced, second-generation the Vortex 2.0 design launched earlier this year.
“Not having to use fans or air conditioning units in their control panel can save the customer significant expense and maintenance time,” said Stone. “Like everything else we do, the Vortex tunnel innovation originated with our focus on the customer.”
About NAE: Founded in 1993, North American Electric, Inc. (NAE) is a motor and motor control company based in Hernando, Mississippi. NAE sources and supplies high quality, high performance electric motors and gearing along with manufacturing a wide range of high-quality motor control panels and engineered custom application solutions. NAE provides complete automation solutions with products and services that meet or exceed customer expectations for quality, performance, and reliability at the lowest possible cost, and delivered on time through our authorized distribution network.