RS Components is celebrating its 80th year of operations. Founded as Radiospares in the UK 1937, the company started as a supplier of parts to the radio market, and has evolved to become a global distribution enterprise.

Today, RS Components has operations in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, offering a diverse portfolio of more than 500 000 industrial and electronic components across 2500 global brands. RS South Africa opened its doors in 1996 as the company’s flagship operation in Africa.

RS components celebrates 80th anniversaryAccording to Mike England, UK Managing Director and Head of Northern Europe region at RS, the company’s founding principle of service excellence, with ease of doing business at its core, has been a major factor in its success and longevity. This continues to underpin the strategy now being implemented by the new leadership team at RS as it prepares to transform the business to serve the changing landscape of the high-tech industry, and leverage opportunities in areas such as mechatronics and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

“How things have changed. In 2009 we took the decision to print our last paper catalogue. It was a big risk to take in a market where e-commerce was just taking off and where the industry was still quite traditional with engineers requesting our 3000 page catalogue to physically search for their favourite parts. We started off with just 5% of sales coming through the website in 2009 and this has steadily grown to 65% of all sales coming through the website. That 3000 page catalogue is now available on our website with over 500 000 products for our customers to choose from, and a further 5000 new products being added on a monthly basis. The shift has been phenomenal with unbelievable efficiencies gained through the use of technology,” adds Brian Andrew, General Manager of RS South Africa.

England says that innovation is vital for supporting customers and suppliers through the product life cycle, and RS is continuing to develop its DesignSpark engineering community, offering technical support, free tools and inspiration to engineers in the design phase. The company is also focused on inspiring the next generation of engineers, he says.

RS South Africa is involved in various university programmes aimed at increasing the interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education and creating an ecosystem where innovation and engineering talent can thrive. Some of the initiatives include the Robot Race Day with the University of Pretoria, kitting out the engineering project labs at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and recently providing the tools and components for the solar car created by North West University for the 2017 Solar Car Challenge in Australia.

“RS has a unique offering and an unparalleled 80-year heritage, which we are proud to celebrate. Customers are at the heart of everything we do, and our focus remains on service excellence, which we will achieve by keeping abreast of technology and market dynamics. This approach, along with our passion to innovate and to inspire the next generation of engineers, is vital in ensuring that RS continues to prosper for the next 80 years and more,” England concludes.

Image credit: https://twitter.com/rscomponents/status/778236612526346240

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