Kathy Gibson reports – The RS Group started life in 1937 as Radiospares and has grown to a leading provider of industrial components with 7 500 employees, 1,2-million customers and more than 2 500 suppliers.

The company has been on a transformation journey over the last couple of years, speaking to the shift in customer buying behaviour to online channels. It has also been on a consolidation and rebranding exercise to create a truly global brand.

“We believe we are in the unique situation where we can operate across the entire lifecycle t help designers, builder and maintainers of industrial equipment and operation to work safely and sustainability,” says Mike England, chief operating officer of RS Group.

“Our vision is to become the first choice for all our stakeholders,” he adds.

Despite the tough trading conditions over the last two years, RS Group has managed to grow consistently across all global regions.

But there is a huge opportunity for growth, English says. Currently, the company holds less then 1% share in all the markets it operates in. “So there is considerable headroom.”

The benefit it offers to customers is the breadth and depth of its product range, he adds, targeting a broad range of industries.

“We are actively working or organic growth opportunities,” he adds.

In the next three to five years, RD is focussing on five pillars:

  • Galvanising a high-performance, purpose, led culture;
  • Realising a world-class customer experience;
  • Extending our wisdom, insight and data;
  • Accelerating to a solutions-led innovative business; and
  • Transforming our executional capabilities.

“Our scorecard sets out our action plan and drives accountability,” English explains.

Sustainability is a big focus area for RS, and it aims to become the go-to sustainability partner for its customers, offering services and solutions across the whole supply chain from design to deployment.

As a global provider of industrial products, RS recognises that reliable supply performance has never been as important as now and over the last two years.

“Our ability to maintain good service availability is something we are proud of. We have used our 14 distribution centres around the world, our strong suppler relationship, data-driven customer insights and good supplier relationships have contributed to this.”

In light of this, RS will continue to expand its differentiated product offering, and creating solutions that add value.

In light of this, RS Integrated Supply provide significant group-wide opportunities, English adds.

“And we are making sure that everything we do is truly omni-channel. We have more than 15-illion web site visits per month, but customers tell us they still value personal contact.

“We aim to create a B2C experience for B2B customers.”

South Africa is part of the fast-growing companies within the group.

About 80% of the sales come through online, says Mellisa Govender, marketing director of RS South Africa. “This is amazing considering we are a B2B company.”

The company operates two web sites, one for South Africa and one for the rest of Africa, which facilitates currency and logistics operations.

Part of the value-added services offered by the company involves education, so RS supports universities with DesignSpark and encouraging youngsters to take STEM subjects.