Digi-Key opens first sales offices in Europe
Digi-Key is setting up its first European sales offices in the UK and Germany.
This is an important step for the online component distributor which has steadily built its European sales over the last decade through a “virtual” business model.
This meant selling through a catalogue and website, without having the expense of a local sales force.
“We have decided to get feet on the ground in Europe, we will build an organisation in the UK and Germany,” Mark Larson, president of Digi-Key, told Electronics Weekly.
“We are now less virtual,” said Larson.
Larson has appointed Ian Wallace as the distributor’s first Europe-based sales representative.
Based in Reading, the sales director’s role will be to grow Digi-Key’s small order production business in the UK and Ireland.
Digi-Key has seen its short-order production sales to small and medium-sized manufacturers grow significantly in the US and now it is bringing this business to Europe.
“The time is right to do this in the UK, we feel there is potential to grow the small order, high mix production business,” said Larson.
“We believe to capitalise on the production business requires a personal level of engagement,” said Larson.
This will see the online distributor competing more than ever with volume order specialists Arrow and Avnet.
“We have decided to take advantage of our breadth of product offering and move into the low volume high product mix production area,” said Larson.
“I believe we can sell short-order off-the-shelf. With our business model demand looks predictable enough to do this,” said Larson.
“We are not in the one million piece order business, but 5,000 and 20,000 piece orders for a range of say 100 different products, we are right there,” said Larson.
“We could even be supplying 50,000 to 80,000 piece orders depending on the product mix and the size of the customer,” said Larson.
He says the strategy will not only be there for smaller companies. “Even large companies have short production runs,” said Larson.
Small order production business now accounts for 30% of the distributor’s global business, with most of this in North America.
After a “flat” 2012, Larson expects little or no growth from the components market next year.
He believes growing the production business in Europe and also in China, through a proposed Shanghai office, will be important for Digi-Key and help drive growth in sales next year.