Forty years ago Helmut Rudel opened the doors of a newly-fledged component distributor. And what began as a five-man operation is now known as Rutronik. It has grown to be a major playerin the business and the third-largest distributor in Europe with offices worldwide.

Rudel founded the company in 1973 as Rutronik Passive Bauelemente and Silec Aktive Bauelemente. Since then, the distributor has grown organically in all areas: geographically, from a local supplier to a global distributor with 69 offices in 27 countries.

In terms of product portfolio, it has grown from a representative for active and passive components into a broadline distributor with a comprehensive suite of products ranging from electro-mechanical components to storage, displays & boards and wireless components. The subsidiary Rusol supplies high-quality photovoltaic and LED lighting solutions.

It’s conventional sales channels have been supplemented with the on-line platforms webg@te and In the early days, the company’s service offering was confined to commercial support. Today, it includes comprehensive consulting services for products, applications, vertical markets and logistics. These are backed up by continuously expanding support in the form of data sheets, application notes and other information sources, numerous seminars, workshops and TechDays as well as on-line services.

Rutronik has also developed in-depth expertise in the area of logistics. When it started out, the company operated a relatively straightforward, step-by-step delivery system. Today, Rutronik offers numerous logistics modules that can be combined to create bespoke and flexible solutions for optimised supply chain management.

What was a sales company for electronic components has been transformed into a solution provider and partner that provides its customers worldwide with comprehensive technical, commercial and logistical support throughout the development and production cycle.

Over the past 40 years, Rutronik has outperformed the market and sales exceeded $1bn in 2012. The team has grown too, from five at inception to around 1300 today.

Founder Helmut Rudel remained at the helm of the company until 2008, when he handed the reins to his son Thomas Rudel, who took over as CEO and Sales Director. Helmut Rudel has continued to be involved in the executive management in his role of President of the company. The two are supported by four directors in the areas of marketing, commercial, logistics and IT/organisation. Although Rutronik remains a privately-owned company, it operates on the basis of managements instruments used in listed companies, such as quarterly accounts and comprehensive risk management policies.

The company headquarters are located in Ispringen near Pforzheim, Baden-Württemberg. The motto “Committed to Excellence” coined by company founder Helmut Rudel remains the guiding principle for the employees. And despite many changes and consolidation in the distribution industry Rutronik remains as one of the few, independent, owner operated businesses.

“In a sector characterised by such a high degree of consolidation, it is not easy to successfully remain in business for 40 years,” explains Thomas Rudel. “We are therefore extremely proud to have established ourselves in the long term as the clear number three player in Europe. To ensure our continued growth into the future, we will open up additional markets and expand our presence worldwide.”


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