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RS Components returns to growth in the UK

Being market leader doesn’t guarantee growth, and becoming globally focused and internally focused, and losing sight of the customer has cost RS Components growth over the last few years in the UK. But the company’s latest results for the year ending 31 March highlight how that has been turned around. In the UK the company has seen four consecutive months of growth, contributing to double-digit underlying revenue growth in central and southern Europe with good market share gains.

Appointed in November 2015, and moving to RS Components from Brammer as UK country manager, Mike England has overseen the turnaround in the UK. “It was clear that we had lost sight of the customer, and we had lost some market share,” he says. “We had to get back to making the customer experience really personal, so that every experience is a great experience.”

Commenting on some of the specifics that have enabled RS to turn things around in the UK, England comments: “With our ‘voice of the people’ initiative, we’ve gained feedback from over 85,000 customers. That has enabled us to focus on things we know are important. We’ve also recognised the importance of being multi-channel, and understood the interdependency of these channels. At the same time, we’ve seen that the market has changed, and that we need to change with it. In particular, there is an important role for us as a distributor in bringing communities of customers and suppliers together.”

Although England argues that a strength of the company should be its ability to recognise regional differences, many of the changes in the UK are mirrored elsewhere in the world through RS Components’ ‘performance improvement plan’. This sets out to improve the customer experience and then drive innovation, to increase accountability and then embed this as a cultural change, and to simply operations to free up cash for reinvestment for faster growth. The company reports that it is on track to improve its customer experience, has achieved its goals to be a more accountable, responsive organisation, and is on track in its goals to operate for less.

Another development has been the reinvigoration of the RS Pro brand of products, which has seen revenue growth of 3.8% in 2016. The relaunch of the RS Pro brand has certainly contributed to the return to growth in the UK: “We relaunched the brand in the UK in February, and engaged our supply partners to be on the journey with us,” says England. “The RS Pro brand is supported by our own product tests and our own guarantees.”

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