Q&A: Lee Ackerley
Co-Founder & Director of Smith
1. Where will your company’s growth come from in 2017?
Diversification will drive Smith in 2017, with the launch of our new online store, SmithBuy.com; signing of our first franchised lines; addition of smartphones and other consumer products to our mix; and adoption of a global trading platform with AI predictive analytics to inform and support customers and vendors. We will also be opening an office in Beijing.
2. What was the top highlight for your company in 2016?
Smith achieved our highest-ever sales in 2016, with US $810 million in global revenue. A climate of overall momentum supported this success, as Smith grew our services like cost savings and VMI, expanded our European front with new offices in Romania and Germany, pushed growth
across geos and industries, and added solar panels to our diverse product mix after acquiring solar retailer ONTILITY.
3. What is the source of your company’s competitive advantage?
Since 1984, Smith has offered unmatched, customer-centric service, with business relationships that have lasted for decades and evolved with the global electronics industry. This flexible service is underpinned by a global trading platform that tracks all supply and demand around the clock, and quality control that is the best in the industry.
Founded in 1984, Smith sources, manages, and distributes the electronic components that go into everything from mobile phones and computers to appliances and directional drilling systems. In 16 cities around the world, from Silicon Valley to Seoul, Smith’s 475 employees communicate in 36 different languages and buy and sell components 24 hours per day. Smith is always moving: helping manufacturers navigate market shifts; customizing supply chain solutions; testing components using cutting-edge technology. With testing and logistics hubs in Houston, Hong Kong, and Amsterdam, Smith’s processes focus on critical issues, from quality management to counterfeit prevention and environmental safety. Smith’s operations, purchasing, and sales worldwide are seamlessly integrated with the company’s global IT infrastructure, Saleschain™, offering real-time inventory and logistics visibility anywhere in the world. Smith is the leading independent distributor of electronic components and ranks number 11 among all global distributors. Smith’s Intelligent Distribution™ model adapts to ever-changing demands by providing seamless global electronics sourcing and logistics, regardless of distribution channel or locale. SmithBuy, Smith’s recently launched online store, offers Smith’s classic quality assurance and customer service with online shopping convenience. Smith is continually exploring expanded support of different markets and sectors, from solar and mobile industries to aerospace and defense – in addition to the personnel, quality, and technological resources to underpin this support.
CTO: Marc Barnhill
Company Headquarters: Houston, Texas
2016 Sales: $810 million
Houston, TX 77040