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History of RS: Video

The history of RS Components


Let’s grow together


Born in a small garage in 1937, the Radiospares company first burst onto the UK scene by supplying spare parts for repair shops to keep the country’s radios on. The business added many electronic components in 1954 and by 1971 it was known as RS Components. Fast forward to 2014 and today RS celebrates 77 years of innovation. Ensuring its own growth by helping customers to grow is how the company likes to roll.




For RS, growth was vital from its earliest days. Actually, part of its DNA is knowing that to grow means to innovate. To start new ways of working. New ways of doing and new ways of thinking.

This never-ending desire for improvement led RS to the Internet and its promise of low transaction costs.

In 1998 RS launched the industry’s first online ordering website. The company remains a leader in online ordering and eCommerce. It assists customers with lowering transaction cost by increasing productivity, because online ordering is faster than ordering by phone, email or fax.

RS in SA

In South Africa RS Components has been active for about 20 years. When the RS mothership bought the South African agency from Spectra Tech in 1997, it was the beginning of the local RS growth story.

At first RS brought in managers from the UK to establish its own way of doing things. Here they quickly implemented technological advances in cost efficient and effective distribution learnt overseas. This was a big success. The business started growing quickly.

Total cost of ownership

The idea of total cost of ownership means buyers must know exactly how much the cost of a transaction really is, not just each unit price. People should add both transaction and processing cost. This is the time it takes to search for the right products and the transaction time of placing and confirming orders.

The time it takes to receive a delivery also adds to total cost of ownership.

Getting ordered products to customers on time is an important service offered by RS. In addition to a quick online ordering process, this helps customers to drive down total cost of ownership.

From printed catalogues to online ordering

Way back when, RS used a fat catalogue to help customers find products. About 6 000 heavy, printed  books were sent out to make sure customers had its full range at their fingertips.

The annual catalogue distribution campaign was a big marketing effort. But when technology allowed electronic distribution, the catalogue became a CD.

The advantages of using electronic distribution for product information is obvious. In the early days of the Internet, RS started its successful changeover to online ordering and eCommerce.

Due to its strong growth, the company bought into SAP. This useful software traditionally combines a company’s systems, allowing for quick and accurate access to information about stock levels and the like.

On its own, used internally only, such a system doesn’t help customers. But RS decided to share the love to help customers grow too. In this way, the company uses the Internet for its own growth, as well as yours.

Today, the Internet means no more heavy printed catalogues or long searches for the right products to order. Simple, quick online ordering happens in the blink of an eye, with only a few clicks of a mouse.

Because the system keeps record of orders, reordering is even faster!

Passionate experts

To stay at the top of its game, RS motivates its own people to be passionate about topnotch service.

Sales executives are trained to be consultants who can help customers properly. This means they not only sell, but assist customers make the best decisions. Many customers rely on the RS sales team to provide them with useful buying tips and tricks.

When you phone in, RS call centre experts also make sure your needs are taken care of quickly. They help you to get going with online ordering. This saves money by saving time.

Delivering promises

Ordering the best quality products is only the first step. To get your products to you quickly without hassle, RS has a large warehouse and distribution system. While you carry on with making your own business better, RS makes sure your ordered products arrive on your doorstep, on time.

Into the future

RS continues to expand. This means more products of better quality on the stock list, keeping you at the forefront of technology.

Just take 3D printing for example. You can quickly create reallife prototypes and parts yourself. RS  offers a large range of quality 3D printers at affordable prices. Simply do a search at to find out more.

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