The $16 Billon dollar Electronics Distribution Company that many have not heard of: WPG Holdings

By WPG AmericasMay 14, 2016

This piece for the WPGA Blog was written by Jason Lovell, Director of Global Strategic Business Development at WPG Americas, Inc. Check out Jason's LinkedIn profile to learn more about his professional experience.

I started out my career in electronics working for Arrow Electronics where I spent 21+ years.  For 8 of these years, I traveled to Asia on nearly a quarterly basis where I got to know WPG, who was by far the largest distributor in Asia.  I had never heard of them before going to Asia however as I became familiar with them, I was extremely impressed with WPG as a company.  They were by far Arrow’s toughest competition in Asia.  WPG had excellent supply chain capabilities and very good people.   Both the customers and suppliers spoke highly of them and they were very intriguing with a pretty low cost model for managing the business.

Earlier this year, I decided to look at returning to Electronics Distribution since some management changes at my previous employer were not working out to many people’s expectations.  The easy choice was to look at Arrow since I spent 21 years there and I had a very successful career at Arrow where I earned 7 Pacesetter Sales & Management excellence awards.   I also looked at, and applied for a position at Avnet for a National Account Manager Role.   The third company I looked into within Distribution was WPG.   How could I not look at them?  They were a great competitor from my past and in 2007, they established themselves here in the US as WPG Americas.  They had one of the lowest cost structures in the industry and for Semiconductor Sales, they were growing.   Arrow and Avnet, while well established, had stagnated sales in Semi’s and their corporate focus appeared to be more about managing costs.  Layoffs occurred on a regular basis and moral was not that good with many of the people I talked to at Arrow and Avnet. WPG Americas has a positive and dynamic leader named Rich Davis who is focused upon growth.  In the Americas, Rich has built a very good management team both at the corporate level as well as in many of the local markets.  As a company worldwide, they are growing by over 10% a year.  Here in America, they are growing by 20% a year.  Both growth factors are far outpacing Arrow and Avnet.   And better yet, something I did not expect, in 2014 they had become the largest Electronics Components Distributor in the World (Arrow and Avnet have larger overall sales however a good portion of this is in Enterprise Computing).  According to Gartner, the rankings for the past two years are as follows for Electronic Component sales:

Rank Company 2014 Sales 2015 Sales Y on Y Growth 2015 Share
1 WPG Holdings 14,691 16,236 10.50% 14.70%
2 Avnet 13,715 13,814 0.70% 12.50%
3 Arrow Electronics 11,279 11,583 2.70% 10.50%

 

I then started talking to many of my confidant friends in the industry and several said: “who is WPG”?  I was somewhat surprised that many people in the industry had still not heard of them.  When I mentioned how big WPG was worldwide, they were shocked.  I responded with; “how could I not go to work for this company?  They have a very good management team and every person that I talked to at WPG was extremely positive about the past success as well as the optimism for future success”.   This reminded me of when I first started with Arrow back in 1987 through around year 2000.  Exciting, Fun and Growing!  With this, WPG was an easy choice and I am looking forward to the next several years with this exciting and dynamic company.