Having built a reputation in the local marketplace for exceptional services levels, South African component distributor Spectrum Concepts is expanding its offering beyond connectors for which it is best known.
It is now 15 years since Bradley Richards started the company, and he believes the right team and systems are now in place to begin supporting a range of antennas, inductors, transformers and protection devices. “We have had many clients over the years ask us to add products to our portfolio but for me it was more important we remain focused, as I did not want to let down any of our clients,” he explains. “We are now in an ideal position to extend our renowned service to cover a more extensive product range.”
Connecting with the market
During his six years with one of SA’s largest component distributors, Richards identified service as an area where customers were being short changed. “It boggled my mind to see how customers had to ask suppliers for confirmation of their orders, delivery and order updates,” he says. “I knew there and then that customers not only needed, but deserved, better service.”
With this principle in mind, he formed Spectrum Concepts around the turn of the century and set about securing a distribution agreement with US connector specialist Samtec. According to Richards, Samtec was doing very little business in South Africa at that time and was only too happy to form a partnership with his fledgling business, proudly becoming its first product line. This was followed by Spectrum’s introduction of the Cambion brand a couple of years later, joined more recently by Mill-Max and Samtec Microelectronics.
Making new connections
Spectrum Concepts’ current staff complement of eight, and its established position in permanent premises on Johannesburg’s East Rand, are a far cry from the early years when Richards had to sacrifice the entertainment room in his home in favour of office space. As with any new business, clientele was often hard to come by and much of his time was spent calling and visiting potential customers. “You cannot imagine how many times I picked up the phone to make sure it was working,” he jokes in hindsight. “I never got too many calls in the beginning.”
That gradually changed, though, as word of mouth earned the company a growing base of loyal clients. Its success goes back to its original cornerstone of service, as Richards explains: “I know it might sound cheesy but service is what distinguishes us from other distributors. We acknowledge requests immediately, quote on average within an hour, acknowledge orders immediately and regularly update our clients on the status of their orders.”