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Worldwide Supply glad its business is going south

Franklin company chasing new markets with new products

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Jay VanOrden, the CEO of Worldwide Supply, feels Central and South America are great for business.
Jay VanOrden, the CEO of Worldwide Supply, feels Central and South America are great for business. - (PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

Worldwide Supply made its mark — and a lot of profit — by refurbishing and reselling used networking hardware to telecom, cable and corporate clients in North America.

It was enough to produce $23 million in revenue in 2013, but not enough to satisfy company founder Jay VanOrden.

This year, he's introducing new products in new places as Worldwide ventures into the new telecom equipment market, designing and making its own tablet computers, cable modems and cell phones, and supplying them to the rapidly growing markets of South and Central America.

VanOrden is projecting sales will rise in 2014 to between $130 million and $150 million.

"So there's obviously a huge growth spurt taking place," he said.

This dramatic transformation of the company — from primarily an equipment reseller to one dominated by the sale of new equipment — didn't happen overnight. In fact, it's been in the works for three years.

"We made a significant investment of time and resources to build a new division of our company," VanOrden said. "We are selling new equipment that we have designed, and in essence we're the manufacturer."

Worldwide has had its eye on Central and South America for just as long.

"The entire region is really in a huge (telecom) growth spurt," VanOrden said.

And he says perceptions that the region is behind the times in technology are false.

"In some cases they are actually ahead of North America," VanOrden said. "They are investing billions of dollars in their infrastructure, both on the telecom side and the cable operator side of these networks."

Worldwide, which made its foray into the South American market in the second half of 2013, already is seeing results.

"We've got several large commitments already from the largest carriers and cable operators in that region," he said.

VanOrden said his customers include Mexico-based Televisa, an international multimedia and cable television company, and Telmex, a telecom company with operations throughout the region, including Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia.

Worldwide sells its own cable modem in the South American market. And it is selling its own tablet computer to cable companies in the region who provide them to customers to drive more paid services.

But for all of its new efforts, VanOrden was quick to say the company is not forgetting about its past success.

Worldwide may be expecting a huge revenue surge from the new equipment business, but VanOrden said the company has no intention of exiting the used equipment business — which he said is growing.

VanOrden said cable and telecom companies have to constantly upgrade their networks, and often refurbished used equipment is the best choice since they can save 50 percent or more off the price of newly manufactured hardware.

That's a good deal in any region.

E-mail to: beth@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @bethfitzgerald8

The biz in brief

COMPANY: Worldwide Supply

HEADQUARTERS: Franklin

FOUNDED: 2004

FOUNDER: Jay VanOrden

EMPLOYEES: 60

NICHE: Supplying used telecom equipment while venturing into the new hardware market.

ONE MORE THING: VanOrden started his first telecom equipment reselling business, MSI Communications, in Stanhope in 1988. He sold the company in 2000 to Somera Communications: "I stayed with them until 2002, and then retired, got bored and started Worldwide Supply."

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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