WPG, the world’s third largest component distribution company and biggest semiconductor distributor is starting operations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
The business will be headed by Nigel Watts (pictured) who will become President of WPG EMEA upon his departure from Ismosys.
Watts expects to start operations in the second quarter of 2021 and is hiring staff – “I expect to start with 12 to 14 and have 16 to 18 on board by the end of the year,” he said.
Inventory will be held in Europe, most likely at a distribution centre in the Netherlands – “we need to be in the EU region suppliers will demand that,” added Watts.
“It is a greenfield start-up in Europe, no acquisitions. Talks are taking place with Tier 1 semiconductor suppliers and these will be augmented by niche semiconductor players in growing markets.”
Watts instanced energy harvesting, power management, low power communications as typical targets. “We will start with a narrow line card and build it up.”
He has graded markets to target, and early emphasis will be on Germany.
Watts added: “We are talking to candidates for a regional sales manager post, sales and applications people with technical experience to start.”
He expects to follow this activity by hiring a sales manager for France, which he sees as ‘a parochial market’, followed by inserting a team into the Nordic region followed by the UK. There will be multi-lingual technical support to embrace engineers in Eastern Europe including Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
“In five years we will have a significant team in Europe,” Watts asserted. “It will be a mix of a strategic sales force with a technology bias, field Application Engineering all complemented and backed by a digital infrastructure.
“First task is to infiltrate the European distribution TAM. And next will be to create a channel that tracks European designs to Asia and China. Distributors and suppliers find it difficult to track this business.”
With its power base in the Asia/Pacific region, WPG is well-placed to facilitate this initiative. At the core of WPG’s European strategy will be a different approach to demand creation using technology.
“COVID-19 has taught us things can be done differently,” he observed. While WPG will employ field applications engineers, Watts sees much of the work being done online. “We can deliver it quicker, slicker and smoother. Engineers time is precious, using technology we can help facilitate designs without face to face meetings.”
“Using technology we can be an influencer of suppliers’ ideas to thousands of engineers,” Watts explained.