Arrow Electronics Inc. sits today atop the distribution market. Victorious and, for the first time, alone. CEO Michael Long should savor the moment. Except, he has loftier goals. Arrow wants to be a solutions and technology platform offering data, design, engineering, product development, software, supply chain and other services to the global economy.
This is beyond electronics and high-tech. It is about enabling the efficient deployment of technology to achieve corporate goals, irrespective of an enterprise’s economic segment. The ambition is broad. In the last decade, Arrow doubled its revenue and is now a $26 billion company, closing in on $30 billion by the end of 2018. Another doubling of its sales in the next decade is believable considering the dramatic expansion of Arrow’s addressable market. But don’t put a number on the TAM (total addressable market).
Technology is barging through all doors and getting injected into all products, creating massive opportunities for companies like Arrow that want to make it easier for enterprises to transform their operations using the latest advancements in electronics. Long doesn’t think the company can fully tap the industry’s TAM during his lifetime, but he is determined to put a dent in it by transforming into a data, software, hardware and product company. “I don’t care how the customer wants to deal with us along as they deal with us,” Long added. “I will put systems in place to deal with them anyway they want to deal.”
Arrow is more than half-way there. With more than 5,000 engineers, Arrow is obviously more than a components distributor. It is one of the world’s biggest engineering companies. It leads in the distribution of software, computer, data and storage equipment and is a top provider of supply chain management services. The company’s customer base has ballooned in the last several years to more than 150,000 as it embraced opportunities outside the traditional electronics industry by servicing non-engineering companies in fields as diverse as agriculture, banking and finance, industrial equipment, insurance, manufacturing, and wood and paper mill.
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