"We are a hypermarket for engineers," Ian Mason, group chief executive of RS Components, described his company in an interview with EE Times Asia .
Starting in 1937 from a lock-up garage in North-West London, the company today claims to be the top catalogue distributor—a category where it sees Digikey, Premier Farnell and Mouser as the other major players.
The company carries a range of over 45,000 products from about 2,500 suppliers and ships over 40,000 parcels every day from 16 worldwide centers.
The current recession has affected the business, Mason said. However, "there's no change in the strategy," the RS Components executive said. "We will always keep stock at hand. The short-term market does not worry us at all."
In fact, the company announced late June that it now has the largest stock of Texas Instruments devices with 11,000 parts available.
While Mason agreed that the manufacturers' lack of appetite for stocking inventory plays into the distributor's favor, the company's focus on to production to maintenance requires a different view.
The company focuses on a smaller volume, "high-service" model, which Mason defines thus: "All catalogued components are in stock, which allows us to fulfill over 90 percent of the orders the same day. If you order today, we will ship it the same day and you could receive it tomorrow."