Representor Summer 2022 - Someone You Should Know

Someone You Should Know: Caroline Wells

Caroline Wells

With so many ERA members, it is not easy to get to know every rep, manufacturer and distributor in the business.“Someone You Should Know” is The Representor department that gives readers the chance to learn about fellow ERA members, including how their time is spent both in and out of the office.

Meet Caroline Wells, senior distribution sales manager at Omron Electrical Components-Americas. The Representor asked Wells a few questions about her time in the electronics components manufacturing industry and her experiences with ERA. Here is what she had to say. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for the opportunity to share a bit about myself for The Representor! I am the senior distribution sales manager for Omron Electronic Components–Americas. The distribution sales team is responsible for our overall channel program, corporate activities and initiatives with our 12 authorized channel partners, along with one master distributor. I have managed the channel for the past seven years, and in total have been at Omron for nearly 20 years. Prior to managing the distribution sales channel, I managed our E-Catalog distributor partners. I love the exposure that this position offers to interact with many departments throughout Omron, with our valued distribution partners and with industry peers.

How long have you been in the manufacturing business?

I have been on the manufacturing side of the business for nearly 20 years. Before that, I spent the first year of my career in the industry as a supplier program manager for Arrow Electronics in Denver.

How did you become interested in the electronics industry?

I found this industry by chance, actually. After finishing my Master’s degree and moving to Denver, I attended a job fair. I was drawn to the technology and the people at the Arrow booth, and enjoyed talking with the team. The company and industry as a whole were in a high growth mode, and there were so many opportunities available. Things happened quickly after that. I did not know much about the electronic components industry before I found myself deeply immersed in it!

What have you found to be most rewarding about the business?

Within the electronic components industry, I have met and worked with people from our distributor partners, manufacturers’ representatives and peer manufacturer companies with whom I have developed close working partnerships, and in many cases, personal friendships. I appreciate that I have found a company that aligns closely with my personal values, and is focused on creating a better society through our business. In addition, since Omron is a global company, I get to interact quite frequently with colleagues from around the world.

Please briefly describe your organization.

Omron Electronic Components is the Americas subsidiary of the Device & Module Solutions Co., one of the four major business companies that comprise Omron Corp., based in Kyoto, Japan. We manufacture components including relays, switches, connectors and sensors, and offer advanced devices and module solutions to our customers using leading technology and production capabilities.

What recent innovations, best practices and/or changes has your organization made?

Since we just finished EDS, I will share a best practice of which I’m particularly proud – the Omron Distributor of the Year program. We have a detailed program that includes various objective growth metrics, as well as a marketing component and a sales engagement score based on input from the Omron rep companies and territory managers. The criteria and the points awarded for each are clearly shared at the outset of each fiscal year, so our distributors know how they are being measured for this program. The two top performing partners – one each from among our electronic and e-catalog distributors – are recognized at EDS, and Omron then makes a financial donation to their non-profit organization of choice. This meaningful acknowledgment of the distributors’ performance embodies the Omron corporate mission statement of improving lives and contributing to a better society.

What have you learned and/or what contacts have you made through ERA that have had the greatest positive impacts on you and/or your business?

Omron goes to market with a hybrid sales force (both direct territory managers and manufacturers’ representatives); we now have nine rep companies throughout the Americas. By attending my first ERA conference this past February, I learned more about the rep model and key topics relevant to the rep side of the business. This helps me better understand how to fine tune the Omron Electronic Components’ distribution channel, policies and programs to support our reps and our mutual distribution business.

Are you active on social media? Do you follow ERA? Have ERA updates via social media been helpful to you?

I keep abreast of industry happenings via LinkedIn, and I subscribe to ERA publications and email updates. I’ve really enjoyed some of the Water Cooler sessions. They are interesting and many relevant topics within our industry are discussed.

What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?

Outside of work, I am busy with my family that includes my husband and my two kids, a 13-year old son and a 12-year old daughter. Additionally, I like to stay active in my community. I have served for the past couple of years as a parent rep on the local middle school decision-making council and for the past six years on the Board of Trustees for my family’s religious congregation. In addition, I try to squeeze in time for my two workout passions: CrossFit and yoga.

What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?

My parents both were career U.S. Army physicians, so we moved around a lot during my childhood. I spent over ten years living in Germany; actually, for my first four years of formal schooling (K–3rd grade), I attended a local public school in Frankfurt, Germany. I specifically remember on my first day of Kindergarten not speaking a word of German! My experiences living and traveling overseas throughout my childhood and in college helped me learn how to be comfortable in all sorts of new situations, including in our ever-changing electronic components industry.