Arrow Electronics knows its target market. The company is a leading global distributor of electronic components and computer products, alongside rival Avnet. It sells semiconductors, passive components, interconnect products, and computer peripherals to more than 100,000 equipment manufacturers and commercial customers. Arrow also provides value-added services, such as materials planning, design and engineering, inventory management, and contract manufacturing. It distributes products made by such manufacturers as IBM, Panasonic, Microsoft, and Intel. The company operates from some 460 locations across the globe (serving some 56 countries); half of its sales comes from the Americas.
Arrow operates in two segments -- global components and Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS). The larger division, global components, accounts for about two-thirds of sales. Its product offerings consist of semiconductors; passive, electro-mechanical, and interconnect products, such as capacitors, resistors, potentiometers, power supplies, relays, switches, and connectors; and computing and memory products. Most of its customers' orders are too large or too frequent to be available via a direct purchase from the manufacturer.
Its Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) business -- which sells hardware, software, storage, and security products to value-added resellers -- makes up about a third of sales. ECS has added professional consulting, cloud computing, managed services, and technical training as the business unit expands its support for resellers and systems integrators beyond hardware sales.
The company generates 50% of sales from the Americas (mostly the US), with Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and the Asia-Pacific region contributing 30% and 20%, respectively.
Altogether, Arrow has 300 sales offices and 40 distribution centers in 56 countries worldwide.
Sales and Marketing
Arrow serves more than 100,000 OEMs and contract manufacturers through its components business segment and value-added resellers through its ECS business segment. Most of its sales are made on an order-by-order basis, rather than through long-term sales contracts.
Industries served include aerospace and defense, computers, gaming, industrial equipment, instrumentation, medical and scientific devices, networking, optoelectronics, and telecommunications equipment.
Sales grew 7% in 2014 to $21 billion, as both segments posted similar rates of sales increases. Sales were up around the world, but the Asia-Pacific region and Europe grew at rates of 11% and 10% while the Americas grew at 3%. Profits jumped 25% to $498 million in 2014. The big change, besides higher revenue, was that Arrow spent about $41 million less on restructuring in 2014 than it did in 2013. The company has more than $92 million of expenses for restructuring in 2014 related to the elimination of almost 1,200 positions and vacating about 40 facilities in an effort to streamline operations and reduce real estate costs. Cash flow from operations was $673 million in 2014, compared to $450 million in 2013.
Along with rival Avnet, Arrow is highly acquisitive in order to consolidate competition, grow its footprint, and increase product offerings. The company maintains its competitive edge by offering more value-added services to diversify its revenue stream. It also keeps its supplier base large so that customers can procure from a one-stop shop, rather than purchase from several different vendors.
Arrow added to its ECS offerings through partnerships and alliances. Arrow added SoftLayer, an IBM company, to its partners through which it offers cloud services. It made similar arrangements with Splunk to resell its enterprise software and with Nutanix for its IT services.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Arrow continues to expand its service capabilities and global presence, primarily through acquisitions. In the first half of 2014 it bought five companies, the largest of which is Data Mogul AG for about $105 million. The acquisition further extends Arrow's reach in Europe. Another acquisition, United Technical Publishing, a division of Hearst Business Media, adds to Arrow's lineup a producer of directories, e-newsletters, engineering websites, inventory access tools, and databases.