Electrocomponents PLC has launched a new branding efforts to expand the range of products available under the company’s private label business as the distributor continues efforts to strengthen sales and extend existing services to current and new customers globally. The company unveiled its newly-minted RS Pro brand today and said it will use the division to market industrial and electronic components bearing the corporate quality seal, certification and endorsement.
The launch of RS Pro harks back to Electrocomponents’ roots. At its establishment more than 75 years ago the company initially marketed components under its own name and only began offering franchise distribution services decades later. The private label unit has grown steadily and now offers more 40,000 components either produced by suppliers for Electrocomponents or manufactured directly by the company.
The company explained in a statement that the launch of RS Pro would make components bearing the seal “more visible and accessible to customers.” By throwing Electrocomponents’ corporate weight behind the RS Pro brand, the company expects to make both suppliers and buyers comfortable with the quality and pricing competitiveness of the components, according to Kurt Colehower, president of Electrocomponents’ RS Private Label division.
“We want to build a global product brand that is synonymous with quality, performance and value. RS Pro provides the platform to offer customers a clear value option and allows us to work closely with our key suppliers to fill out specific product categories,” Colehower said in the statement. “RS Pro represents our legacy of more than 75 years of offering our customers proven products at competitive prices.”
Colehower explained that customers would be offered a broader range of products than previously available as more suppliers produce components for the division and as new parts are added to the existing lines.
“The RS Pro label is a seal of approval guaranteeing compliance with standards, high quality and inspection certification which gives customers the confidence they need to have in the products,” Colehower said in an interview. “We currently have 3 private label brands but we are collapsing them into one under RS Pro to give customers choice and added value.”
The creation of the RS Pro label is part of an ongoing efforts to revitalize sales and expand the market position of Electrocomponents at a time the components distribution market and the entire electronics industry is grappling with numerous changes in an intensely competitive environment. In the last year alone, the company has added many senior executives, including Colehower, an industry veteran with a wide range of experience in the distribution and contract manufacturing market brought onboard in September.
Colehower has been charged with broadening the current band of products available through RS Private Label. In an interview, he explained that the company has been working with suppliers to identify additional components that could be produced and marketed under the RS Pro brand. The RS Private Label division generates about two-thirds of its sales from products manufactured for the division by component suppliers while the remainder comes from the company’s own manufacturing operation, he said.
The decision to broaden the activities of Electrocomponents’ private label business is a carefully calibrated one with the company stressing the fact that it does not intend to compete with its regular suppliers. Rather, the goal is to help suppliers identify products that could be marketed to an even wider market base by repackaging them under the RS Pro label brand.
“The private label components cover all of our current product segments but we are identifying more in partnership with key suppliers,” Colehower said. “We are complementing rather than competing against the customers. RS Pro allows them to breathe new life into existing products across all sectors.”
The company appears to have tried hard to assure suppliers that there won’t be any competitive pressures on their franchise agreement with Electrocomponents even as it broadens the services and scope of RS Pro and the private label operation. It has spent the last six months seeking comments from suppliers and collaborating with them to show how manufacturing products with the RS Pro label is in their interest.
“The surveys we did over the last six months indicate suppliers and customers are eager to work with us on RS Pro,” Colehower said. “We asked them to give us the opportunity to work with them and they see that this is about giving customers extra value service.”