There's no mystery behind how Black Box does business. The company distributes and supports voice and data networking infrastructure. Products include modems, routers, switches, and testing equipment, as well as cabinets, cables, and training materials. Black Box primarily distributes and services third-party equipment, some of which carries its brand, but it also manufactures some products. Most of the company's sales come from its on-site services such as design, installation, technical support, and maintenance. Black Box sells to corporations, schools, and government agencies primarily in North America and Europe. Key industries served include business services, manufacturing, banking, retail, and health care.
About 60% of the company's sales are made to large organizations with sales over $1 billion, which includes companies and federal government entities, but Black Box also markets to small and mid-sized businesses. Its product partners include such providers as Cisco Systems, NEC, Polycom, and ShoreTel.
Black Box crested the $1 billion mark with its sales in 2007. Since that time, the company's revenues have hovered in that vicinity; its sales in 2012 were nearly $1.1 billion. Historicallly a profitable enterprise, Black Box recorded a fiscal loss in 2012 due in part to an uptick in operating costs, particularly a goodwill impairment loss for the year.
Revenue rose 7% for the company's data infrastructure services unit on strong demand from the business services, financial services, retail, and manufacturing markets in North America. Meanwhile, sales from voice communications services fell slightly due to delayed funding for some of Black Box's government clients; and sales of technology products rose 5% on healthy demand in North America and Europe.
The company's strategy for growth includes the pursuit of cross-selling marketing opportunities, the expansion of its product line, and the extension of its customer base and global technical support organization mainly through acquisitions.
Black Box took its first plunge into the in-building wireless market with the 2012 purchase of Texas-based, privately held InnerWireless, a provider of a distributed antenna system called Horizon4G. In 2011 the company bought PS Technologies, an Ohio-based distributor of videoconferencing systems by TANDBERG and Polycom.
In 2010 it bought another Ohio company, Logos Communications Systems, to boost its presence in the region and strengthen its partnership with Cisco. Logos specialized in implementing and servicing unified communications, wireless networking, routing and switching, and security systems from Cisco for clients in the commercial, education, and local government sectors.
Black Box has nearly 200 offices in about 150 countries.