Distributor of the Year
US distributor Powell Electronics is one of the largest distributors of electronic components and value-added services with a particular focus on electronic connectors, switches, sensors and related electro-mechanical products. A specialist at high reliability, harsh environment connector design, manufacturing and supply chain, in the USA Powell has 70,000 square feet of connector manufacturing capabilities at its Swedesboro, NJ facility, which is certified to ISO9001 and AS9100. Powell offers automated engineering solutions and connector ODM services, is an authorized, QPL’d distributor for over 50 military specifications and is ISO9120 certified. Its key market sectors include mil/aero, telecommunications, transportation, medical imaging and instrumentation and the US Government.
In Europe until recently however, Powell Electronics had focused purely on the agricultural market, based out of a modest facility in The Netherlands. Around two years ago, the company decided to expand its markets in Europe, and in mid-2019, appointed experienced connector professional Gary Evans with a brief to redefine its European business.
In 2020, Powell Electronics relocated to new premises in Dublin, Ireland, enabling it to hold a large connector inventory and develop significant value-added assembly services, with a focussed service for its European customers. The eventual aim is for the base in Ireland to match the company’s USA capabilities. European franchise agreements were signed with major manufacturers, including Glenair, Harwin, Amphenol Aerospace, Quell, AB Connectors, Lemo, and Conesys, which have enabled Powell to address the broad range of demanding connector applications across a range of markets, with special emphasis on demanding and hi-rel applications.
Since September last year, in addition to the above major franchises, more have been added, including: Positronic, American Micro, Carlisle, P&P Technology, Positronic, Coax Connectors, Incon and SPI. At its base in Ireland, Powell Electronics now holds significant inventory stocks from this expanded list of leading manufacturers and products it can supply range from miniature PCB-mount devices to high voltage, high current, hi-rel solutions suitable for the most demanding projects. For Positronic, which builds high-reliability power and signal connectors for a wide variety of global industries from medical to deep space, Powell Electronics is Europe’s largest stocking distributor, holding $2.5M of inventory.
In addition to adding franchises and assembly services. Powell Electronics has hired skilled and experienced personnel, including a European Applications Manager, multi-lingual commercial staff and a team of technical staff to support customers during project design-in. In April 2021, a Country Manager, experienced connector veteran Nicola Della Malva, was appointed to set up and run Powell Electronics in Italy and Southern Europe. Having spent his career with such industry names at PEI Genesis, ITT and Yamaichi, Della Malva is well-known and has vast experience and knowledge of the industry, bringing design and commercial expertise to the role.
Powell Electronics in Europe has been very proactive with its marketing, undertaking multi-lingual online and print campaigns across major electronics titles in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Turkey and others, featuring its capabilities and leading franchises supported by dedicated European microsite pages. New local websites in local languages will roll out in Q3 and Q4 2021 as Powell uses its omni channel approach to satisfy customers by giving them complete autonomy on how they transact with Powell and which option suits them at any given moment or circumstance.
As a result of its revamped strategy and operations in Europe, Powell Electronics Europe now has a turnover of $20m, made up of $10m resulting from business with aerospace and defence customers, $5m in the agricultural sector with Powell own-brand products and $5m from online business. Outside of its agricultural own products Powell is also now achieving around 12% of defence revenue from Powell own connector solutions by working in partnership with key customers and vendors. The Powell European operation has increased revenue by more than 45% in 2019 and 2020 and is on track to exceed that in 2021.