Isabellenhütte diversifies channels, clientele

November 20, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
To seize the opportunities of new markets and perhaps also to moderate the risks resulting from a very focused product portfolio, Isabellenhütte Heusler GmbH (Dillenberg, Germany) has announced a new sales concept. In the future, distributors will play a far greater role for the company's business.

Isabellenhütte is mostly known for its high-precision low-ohmic resistors (shunts). Certified according to AEC-Q200 specs, their primary clientele is the automotive industry. So far, the company achieved the lion's share of its sales through direct channels; distributors accounted for less than 5% of the business. To broaden the customer base and to open up new markets, the company plans to take more distributors under contract. This strategy includes ending the former system of exclusive distributors, said Anton Roth, Sales Director Components for Isabellenhütte. "Starting 2015 there won't be any exclusive distributors", Roth said.

The company has signed a contract with the Power & Signal group, a subsidiary of Arrow Electronics. Power and Signal will serve customers in EMEA and Asia; in the next step, the medium-term goal is to address US markets as well. Other distributors already under contract are Codico which primarily serves customers in the automotive and automation industry, Nijkerk with regional focus on the Benelux countries, and Rhopoint Components. The UK-based distributor also covers the DACH region as well as Scandinavia through local offices.

A crucial element in Isabellenhütte's new strategy is Asia, with focus on China. In that country the company currently has contracted six distributors, by 2015 there will be 13 channel partners. "Our goal is to have 20 distributors in China", Roth said.

Since Isabellenhütte gets access to customer orders mainly through design-in activities, future distributors must have according qualifications and capabilities. "They need to be able to handle large projects on their own," Roth explained. "Selling solely through low prices is not the right strategy".

One of the reasons - and perhaps the main reason - for the company's strategic move is the endeavour to better serve customers beyond the automotive industry. "We have many customers scattered across various industries," Roth said. "In order to serve them right we need disseminators."

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