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> electronica 2018 delivers a truly unique industry event

Source: Electronics Representatives Association – Representor Winter 2019, Executive Commentary

Walter E. Tobin, ERA CEO
T: 617-901-4088

by Walter E. Tobin

As you know, electronica runs every two years in Munich, Germany. It was recently held on Nov. 11-14, and YOUR ERA was once again present at the show. ERA has been a proud participant at electronica for the past 20+ years with a small stand showcasing ERA and the many deliverables that it provides to our members.

This year’s electronica was exceptional! The show has opened up an additional six exhibition halls supplementing the already 12 halls for an impressive total of 18 halls, each the size of a couple of airline hangars! Needless to say, you need your comfortable shoes to walk through the many exhibits and to dodge the thousands of attendees.

So, why does ERA attend electronica? Simple! There is a great deal of interest in ERA in Europe.

First, almost all of our distribution members are global companies who have large one or two-story stands at the show. Most of them stopped by the ERA stand to say hello and to offer their support. They attend electronica to meet with their reps, customers and manufacturers and to enlist their support for 2019.

Second, most of our manufacturer members are also global in scope. They attend and exhibit at electronica to announce new products and new technology to the thousands of customers who attend the show. The presence of customers makes electronica truly unique. There is perhaps nothing like it in North America other than CES which is more of an electronics consumer show versus electronic components. These manufacturers are looking for reps in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and in North America as they expand their global footprint, and how ERA can help them in their search!

Above: Dennis Young, EVP, Sanmina-SCI; Mark Motsinger, President, Wallace Electronic Sales; and Walter Tobin, CEO, ERA. Top right: Dave Doherty, President/COO Digi-Key. Bottom left: Mr. Tobin getting ready for a busy day at the ERA stand before the start of electronica 2018. (Photo courtesy of John Hutson.) Bottom right: Chris Beeson, EVP, Digi-Key; Denise Lingenfelter, Corporate Account Manager, Digi-Key; and Mr. Tobin.

Lastly, there is a great deal of interest in the rep model in North America, which is based on paying the reps on a percentage of point of sale (POS) shipments through the channel partners and on direct orders. In the past, the EMEA rep model was primarily based on commissions paid on point of acquisition (POA) and/or on the rep being a stocking rep (a distributor!) for the manufacturer. Because the channel has become so strong over the past 20 years, the stocking reps find themselves in competition with the manufacturers’ distributors and therefore, unable to match the service offering of the major global distributors.

Thus, we had MANY reps from EMEA stop by our stand to learn how ERA could help them manage this transition from a stocking rep to a non-stocking rep.

Our stand was active and lively. We had more than 50 companies stop by over the duration of the show. Their questions centered around: “How can ERA help me in my global sales and marketing plans for 2019?”

We had members of several ERA rep companies, a few of our distribution members and several of our manufacturer members help staff the stand. It was “all hands on deck” for sure during the show!

All of us left Munich with a better understanding of the European market and what ERA needs to do to help our members in EMEA and in North America. We also were able to sign up new members and to help facilitate introductions to existing members in North America to help manufacturers in their North American expansion.

Bottom line: It was both exhausting and gratifying! More than ever, your ERA is demonstrating to its membership the strong global value proposition it is bringing TODAY, and we will continue to work hard in 2019 to continue these efforts!


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