Online sales channels are posing a threat to many traditional offline businesses. Interestingly, while many of the traditional component distributors still give offline the edge, some of them are becoming a part of this digital world of sales. Is it like as the saying goes – ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’? Or is there something more to it than what meets the eye? On this note, Amit Kulshrestha, director of IIE Semiconductors Pvt Ltd, in an interaction with Baishakhi Dutta of the Electronicsforu.com Network, shares how the company plans to balance the traditional business model with the online world of component distribution.
Q) What’s unique about your team (or firm) that’s beneficial for customers to do business with you?
We have a dedicated team of sales, FAE and customer support who is working efficiently to book all the orders. The teams are working closely with all our customers and suggest them the cost-effective solutions that are best suited for them. We support our customers right from the initial ideation phase so that we can help them to turn their ideas into reality.
Q) What’s your strategy w.r.t. keeping ready stock of in-demand products for your customers?
It’s always beneficial to keep stock of the goods which are in demand as nowadays the delivery time of goods has increased and having goods in stock can easily help customers plan the production as per their needs. Not only for their regular production but for the new designs also they can think when they know the availability is instant. We mostly keep stock of the running items depending upon the projection and application of our customers.
Q) Do you cater to startups who may not have orders matching your MOQs? If yes, how do you handle them?
Yes, we do. We never force our customers or startups to buy the minimum order quantity. We have suppliers who help us in supporting even for small quantities. We always treat all our customers equally whether it’s a startup or a well-established company.
Q) In which cities do you have offices? What is the overall spread of your customers?
Currently, we have only one office in Faridabad. But in the near future, we have plans to open offices in each metropolitan city. At present, we serve all our pan India customers from our Faridabad location only.
Currently, we are serving around 200 customers in India who is in medical, defense, automation, telecommunication, LED lighting, etc. Our sales person keeps on visiting them regularly to know about their upcoming projects and requirements.
Q) What’s your strategy w.r.t. providing samples to customers who may want to try them out in their designs? How do you enable the same?
We support customers who are in the design or prototype phase. We provide paid as well as free samples as per our business dealings with the customers. Mostly we get the samples directly from the manufacturer, but we also support them by purchasing from a few online portals.
“We aim to get into online sales soon apart from doing traditional sales”
Q) Do you have a team to help customers in designing their products? If yes, what role does this team play in building relationships with customers?
We have field application engineer cum techno-commercial people who help the customers in the initial design stage by suggesting parts from our portfolio which is cost-effective.
Q) What are the top 3 qualities you would advise to customers while choosing the right sourcing partner?
The top three qualities will be:
- The sourcing partner should be reliable in terms of quality and delivery
- They should have a knowledge of understanding your needs and not just supplying the components
- They should be able to suggest cost-effective and better replacement option
Q) How do you see the role of online sales affecting components distribution business? Have you started tapping this segment too?
It is true that online sales have entered into this segment. But there is a risk of getting fake components from online sources. It’s quite difficult to know whether the parts are genuine or not. We also have a plan to get into online sales very soon apart from doing traditional sales. At present we are supplying components to a few online portals and they are happy with our services.
Q) On the topic of the risk of getting fake components online – how do you plan to ensure the authenticity of your products that you provide online? Any specific quality control measures?
Whatever material we supply are from our trusted sources who qualify our strict quality standards. Whatever material we supply comes in original manufacturing packing and they are 100 per cent traceable. We always provide our customer with COC because for us quality always comes first.
Q) How’s been the growth of your organization in the last 2 years? And, how do you see it for this financial year?
The results in the last two years have shown tremendous growth which is beyond our expectations and in the coming financial year, we aim to keep the same momentum.
Q) What’s your leadership style? What’re the best management practices that you’ve adopted?
I always believe in giving free hand to all my employees so that they can think out of the box. Since the day I started this business, I have always tried to keep the environment where one can really work freely without stress. The best practice which I have adopted is to have one-to-one interaction with all my employees and most importantly treat them as a family.
Q) Any major initiatives taken in the last financial year that you’d like to share with our audience?
Since last year, we have started adding more lines in our line card. Our line card has a lot of variety which will enable customers to find all possible requirements under one roof. We have also started suggesting customers the pin-to-pin replacements for their parts that are available with better features and competitive prices.
Q) What are your key focus areas for the next financial year?
For the next financial year, we aim to grab more and more customers in this domain. We also intend to work closely on alternative power sources along with new technologies.
Q) Any views on current government policies related to import-export, GST and electronics manufacturing?
The implementation of the GST has had a tremendous impact on doing business. It has simplified the entire tax structure. I personally would like to thank the government for implementing the same.
Q) Do you also sell in any country other than India? If yes, what’s your strategy?
No, we do not sell in any other country at present and going forward also we do not have any plan for this.