Avnet Memec attempts vertical strategy

Electronic components distributor Avnet Memec has decided to change the way it sells to customers, moving from the ‘line card’ model favoured by many large distributors for the past 40 years to one based around vertical markets.

Avnet, which has acquired several UK-based technical distributors since 2005, including Memec, Azzurri and Spectre, has increased its share of UK distribution business from just over 2 per cent to 7 per cent last year, billing around €35m. About a third of its business is for product that is shipped to the Far East for assembly but which is designed by specialists in the UK.

As a result, a significant proportion of the company’s design-ins come from the consumer sector, as well as in military and aerospace, which are more usually assembled in the UK and Europe.

“Demand creation is alive and well in the UK,” said Chris Shipway, UK and Ireland country director, adding that on top of traditional sectors a series of new markets are emerging in the area that focus on areas such as medicine and energy efficiency. “We think it’s as good a time as any to make changes how we face the market.

“There are a number of market segments that we have not necessarily been talking to in the past, such as medical devices, such as the glucose meters you find in pharmacies. There are green initiatives in areas such as intelligent power management and renewable energy. They have all got good electronics content in them and they are where we want to focus effort.”

Avnet Memec has identified a total of 15 vertical markets it wants to concentrate on and has appointed a number of business development managers (BDM) to look after them, with one BDM typically looking after two or three markets. Field application engineers, however, will remain tied to the component suppliers on the distributor’s line card.

Shipway said if the plan is successful, “there is no reason why it can’t be adopted across the rest of Avnet in Europe”.

Stuart Edwards, UK and Ireland technical manager, said: “We think this will benefit the customer. The BDMs can now take a solutions-based approach to the customer. And we can listen to the BDMs if they think there are any holes or gaps that we might have on the line card.”

One recent addition to the line card came from work on energy-efficient designs. “We have been asked for ultra low-power micros for some time and so we have gone out and engaged Energy Micro,” said Edwards.

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