A global one-stop online shop for engineers
Written by : KIM BERNARDO-LOKIN
Thanks to online shopping, nowadays one can look for or buy anything by clicking a mouse button.
Through the years, specialty online shopping networks that cater to anything from books, fashion, even home and the workplace have cropped up. Other networks specializing on certain industries or sectors were also put up.
RS Components is one such network. A popular online shopping network for engineering, construction, gadgets and the like, this specialty company has been described as a “one-stop shop for engineers.” But unlike other online networks, RS Components is a leading distributor that holds more than 550,000 products online from 2,500 global brands, which range from electronics, electro-mechanical, process control and automation components, down to a broad range of supporting products. These vast inventories are stocked in 17 warehouses around the world.
The company also publishes and sells its RS Catalogue, which contains over 75,000 products sourced from over 2,500 leading manufacturers. The catalogue serves as a perfect complement to its online network and to provide more convenience to its customers and distributors around the world. Their products cater to the needs of a wide range of industries, including power distribution and generation, food manufacturing, and oil and gas industries.
RS Components traces its roots all the way to 1937, from a lock-up garage in Northwest London. Originally called Radiospares, the firm used to supply radio spare parts to radio repair shops. Today, RS Components operates in 32 countries, covering much of Europe, North America, Australia and Asia, including China. The company also has partnerships worldwide via a distributor network, enabling them to service their huge customer base of around 1.6 million globally.
RS Components and Allied Electronics are the trading brands of Electrocomponents PLC, the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
RS Components formally opened its office in the Philippines in 1998. But its country manager for the Philippines, Glen Lanot, explains that the company has actually been servicing the country much earlier via distributorships.
“We found that there’s a huge potential of RS Components for doing business here because of a growing demand from our distributors, that is why we decided to formally set up a branch office here,” Lanot said.
He proudly admitted that RS Components Philippines is experiencing robust sales growth. In a recent media briefing, he said that RS Components Philippines has achieved over 17 percent year-on-year sales growth from April 2011 to February 2012, making it one of the fastest growing markets in Southeast Asia for the company. He attributed the growth to increased demand in manufacturing, electronics, semiconductor, and oil and gas sectors.
Lanot is doubly excited because about 60 percent of their business came from online transactions, which represent a significant jump from the previous years. Some of their customers include Nestle Philippines, Sun Power Corporation, Rohm Electronics, Coca Cola, and Team Energy.
David Hook, RS Components’ head of maintenance business for Southeast Asia, explained that “because we have very strong relationships with major brands of electronics manufacturers, automation and control and industrial supply manufacturers among others, they see us as an integral part of their distribution strategy, and we work with them to develop their small volume business. This helps us develop our business with our core business model of small volume, emergency purchase kind of demand.”
As for growth projections, Hook said that Asia-Pacific is definitely one of their strongest markets and they see the region delivering the strongest growth for their mother company, Electrocomponents. He also said that part of their strategy is to work a lot with their suppliers on a local market basis to support and develop their products’ presence where RS Components becomes their distributor within that market for all their product supplies.
The also aim to continue developing their websites to attract a wider market base which would include small enterprises, individuals who are looking for specific but personal needs, and design and hobby enthusiasts.
Right now, RS Components offers a free software tool designed to simplify the purchasing process of small and mid-range enterprises that do not have a procurement software program.
For an online shopping company that deals with highly specialized industries, this is a significant step in the right direction. After all, it needs to continually reach out to an even bigger market base in the online universe to maintain its market leadership. And those small start-up businesses now could be the next generation of huge multinational companies in the future.
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