In a matter of a few months, an unmarked, 113,000-square-foot warehouse in northeast Wichita will be serving Cox Communications customers in five states, including Kansas, and employ as many as 80 people.
By the end of the year, the warehouse operated by Pennsylvania-based Communications Test Design Inc., or CTDI, also will be supplying more than 100 Cox Solutions retail stores across the country with HDMI cables, remote controls, routers and other equipment.
Last week, CTDI and Cox officials opened the facility internally called a PDC, for primary distribution center at 3434 Comotara.
The center will supply parts and equipment that Cox technicians carry on their trucks. That equipment includes the set-top boxes that allow Cox cable TV customers to access hundreds of TV channels as well as digitally record programs.
Everything a tech touches down the line will come through the PDC, said Sean Parsons, a manager at CTDI.
Those set-top boxes figure into a big part of the centers operations. They be distributed from the center not only to Cox markets in and outside its central region Kansas, northwest Arkansas, Omaha, and Sun Valley, Idaho but also to the cable companys Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets. Moreover, before a used set-top box goes out to a customers home, it will be tested, repaired if necessary, and refurbished at the center.
Cox employees previously tested the boxes before they went to customers, said Kimberley Bailey, Midwest PDC director for Cox, but the testing was not as sophisticated as what CTDI does.
We would test the basic inputs and outputs, but it was all based on the human eye and the human ear, she said. Those Wichita Cox employees have joined CTDI, Bailey said. Its just a more thorough testing that CTDI offers, she added.
The last part of the center to come on line will be the repair operation. There, workers will be able to repair set-top boxes, made by Motorola and Cisco, that Cox puts in customers homes. CTDI is a certified repair facility for the two manufacturers.
Parsons estimates that when the center is fully up and running, it will average testing 2,500 set-top boxes a day. And between those coming in for inspection and those going out to customers, he estimates between 3,000 and 4,000 will cycle through the center daily. The center also is equipped to receive live feeds from the markets where the set-top boxes are destined. In other words, part of the testing for a box destined for Oklahoma City will be to hook it up to that citys live feed to make sure its configured to that markets channel lineup.
We want to make sure the box works when it comes to the customer, Bailey said.
Bailey is one of six Cox employees who will permanently work at the facility with CTDI staff. CTDI has about 16 workers at the center now. That number will increase as the center adds Cox markets. Wichita is the first market CTDI is fully servicing from the center, which Parsons said is the largest of three distribution and testing centers his company operates for Cox.
Bailey and Tony Setchel, senior director of PDCs for Cox, said the company chose Wichita for a PDC because of its central location and the ease of working with local government in the permitting process for the facility.
Parsons said his company put a large investment in remodeling the 30-year-old warehouse, but declined to disclose the cost. CTDI is a privately held company based in West Chester, Pa., that provides engineering, repair and logistics to cable providers and telecommunications companies. According to its website, it has 5,000 employees in 47 facilities in the U.S., Canada, China and Europe.