From a lock-up garage in North-West London in 1937, J H Waring and P M Sebestyen established a company called Radiospares Limited, supplying radio repair shops with spare parts. The business began selling electronics components in 1954 and rebranded as RS Components in 1971. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012, RS continues to be a market-leading business with a global presence.
In that time, RS has become the number one high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products across Europe and Asia Pacific. Sourced from 2,500 suppliers, the broad product range includes electronics, automation and control, test and measurement, electrical and mechanical components.
As times have changed so has RS, embracing new technologies as they emerge. Today, IT and communications products are pre-eminent and RS keeps ahead with new product introductions and innovations that enter the market, such as the Raspberry Pi computer.
RS now has operating companies in 30 countries, including France, Italy and Germany, with operations as far afield as Chile, New Zealand and China. Offering more than 500,000 products through the internet, catalogues and at trade counters to over one million customers, the company ships more than 46,000 parcels on the same day the orders are received.
RS has celebrated a number of significant milestones over the last 75 years:
• First electronics and maintenance company to have an own label range (1937)
• First distributor to offer free next day delivery (1937)
• Corby distribution centre opened in 1984
• First catalogue distributor to introduce a CD Rom version (1995)
• Nuneaton distribution centre opened in 1997, adding half a million square feet of warehouse space in the UK
• First transactional website in the industry, launched in 1998
• First free-to-access PCB schematic tool, DesignSpark PCB, in the industry (2010)
• iPad version of customer magazine, eTech, launched in 2011
• First to launch a specialist app, MyLocalRS, for its branch network (2012)