Mouser Electronics looks to the future as it celebrates 60th anniversary

Mouser Electronics
Friday, 17 May, 2024

Mouser Electronics looks to the future as it celebrates 60th anniversary

Mouser Electronics, Inc., a global distributor of electronic components and industrial automation parts, has marked its 60th year in business. The company began with a couple of employees working out of a garage in El Cajon, California and is now a global corporation with 4000 employees and 28 locations worldwide, including a new service centre in Melbourne, Australia. Much has changed in the electronics industry since 1964, but Mouser has remained dedicated to providing innovative technology to customers as quickly as possible. Along with its 28 locations, Mouser’s central hub is the company’s global headquarters and distribution centre on its 100-acre campus in Mansfield, Texas.

Below, Mark Burr-Lonnon, Mouser Electronics’ Senior Vice President of Global Service & EMEA and APAC Business, shares his insights into the current trends affecting the electronics industry.

2024 marks Mouser Electronics’ 60th year in business. What would you attribute to the company’s enduring success?

A lot of it is built around technology leadership. Certainly from our standpoint, we focus a lot on being a technology leader and taking new products to market for our key suppliers. That’s a big thing for us, we have a huge portfolio of parts and franchised parts, that’s probably 1300 franchises now — it’s almost hard to find one that we don’t have! That really drives what we do and at the back end of that is the inventory that we put into place.

We’ve got over $2 billion of inventory and that means if people need the inventory today or tomorrow or in three days’ time, depending on where they are in the world, then we typically have it for them. That’s the key thing that drives what we do. We’re very focused on not getting involved with the volume side of the business and the supply chain; it’s almost impossible to be a supply chain distributor and do what we do. I think we’ve got ourselves into a nice niche.

When you look at that type of niche, it’s easy to say that we’re never going to be huge by doing that, but with the way the electronics market is going to continue to grow in the foreseeable future — I mean, you can’t see anything having less electronics in it — so I think we’re in the right place and doing the right things.

What is your assessment of the worldwide market conditions for semiconductors and electronic components, and how do you think they will impact Mouser’s business development plans?

The worldwide market affects us hugely; it is the reason we went from $2 billion to $4 billion in two years. The market has a real bearing on how successful you can be. But you have to do the right things and be in the right place at the right time. If you look at it, 2021 and 2022 were phenomenal from our standpoint in the industry, they were good times. This year and last year it was okay, we see Q3 and Q4 beginning to be on the rise again. Next year I think we’ll be back to having a banner year, so I think the global market will see big changes in 2025 and we’ll be back on track for some serious growth.

What will be the biggest growth opportunities for Mouser Electronics in 2024?

It’s hard to say, because we’ve got over 850,000 customers and there is no sector that we’re not in, so it almost doesn’t matter what grows. If people ask us who we are and what we do, sometimes we say that we’re a marketing company; we view that the key to our success is adding a new warehouse, adding more inventory and the marketing team doing more to bring people to the inventory — whether it’s through Google or in-house marketing.

Some people ask us a question, we say we’re a marketing company who happens to sell components — which is sort of true, because a lot of suppliers are not good at marketing. When you have 1300 suppliers, you’ve got the Texas Instruments and ADIs, etc are very good at marketing. But then you’ve got some suppliers who are very weak in this area. So we become their marketing arm, to get them new customers and take their new technology to market and that’s really a big thing that we do and will continue to do, as one of the key pillars of Mouser’s success.

The market for semiconductors and electronic components has transformed dramatically in the past few years. What are Mouser’s future plans for Australia and New Zealand’s markets?

We’ll continue doing what we do well. We’re not looking to change what we do, we’ve got a business already. By having a local presence now, we think that automatically grow what we do.

Are there any sectors in Australia and New Zealand that you think are primed for disruption or enhancement with the products you provide?

Well, not disruption — we aim to enhance, really. We have the widest inventory so when we’re talking about the design engineers designing, we ensure they’ve got the opportunity to buy everything they need for a new design in one place. There’s nothing worse than having to go on 80 different websites to buy all your parts — so as much as maybe a couple of manufacturers now think they can do it directly, our model fits very well. Certainly in Australia, which is very low-volume and high-mix, with a pretty good military market — we’re not a disruptor, we’re there to help. If our inventory can help electronics businesses in Australia and NZ, that’s what we aim to do. We’re not an aggressive company looking to do something different; we understand what we do, we just want to make sure that more people know what we do.

We have over 20,000 customers already in Australia — we think it’s a good start. I think we can help a lot more people. There are a lot of companies out there who, once they have a world-class website, which we do, they say “we don’t need people anymore”. We’ve found that’s the worst thing you can do — you actually need both. We focus very heavily on that, which is why we’re now in Australia. We think having local people here does help.

Can you describe some stand-out projects that Mouser Electronics has been involved in in recent years?

The website is an ongoing project for us. We continually look to improve what we do on that. Our warehouse projects — we have to put the inventory somewhere, and our belief is having one warehouse in Texas is the right thing to do. Especially for Australia, because it’s low-volume and high-mix, it’s perfect.

Going forward, what are some of the goals that Mouser Electronics aims to achieve in the future?

The main thing is to become the supplier of choice for engineers and customers. Engineers primarily, because we want to make sure they know what we do. If someone’s building a board, we want to become the first website they go to. The next thing we will put in place will be a technical resource as well — that’s not someone who is going to help design things, but will help with first-level technology support, because most customers just want to get to a part number. So we tend to put in first-level tech in most of the offices that we have, so that will be the next thing that we do in Australia. Our goal is to become part of the fabric of the electronics business in Australia. We know that we’re never going to be the biggest supplier in Australia, we just think that with everything that we have to offer our customers, we could become a company that is synonymous with electronics in Australia over a period of time.

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