Growth through change: 50 years of Rutronik for the future of electronics

For this year's Rutronik Advent calendar, Rutronik employees and our manufacturers have told us their favorite anecdotes about Rutronik and provided us with their photos from 50 years of Rutronik. Hidden behind each of the 24 doors are interesting stories from the world of electronics and beyond. We start with Thomas Rudel, CEO and Managing Director of Rutronik: he looks back and into the future and reveals a few things about the company's strategy.

Rutronik is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Can you briefly outline how Rutronik has developed over the last five decades?

Thomas Rudel: In 1973, my father Helmut Rudel founded Rutronik, strategically choosing Ispringen, near Pforzheim, as its location. With the aim of being able to reach the most geographically distant customers in Germany within a maximum driving time of two hours, he took a map and a compass. He then proceeded to draw a circle around the region in Germany that at the time accounted for almost 70 percent of German component demand. In the center of that circle was the town of Ispringen, and thus the decision for the site of the headquarters was made. In the 1970s, my father started out by focusing on the sale of passive components, partly in response to the growing demand for color TV sets, which were becoming increasingly popular, especially due to the 1974 soccer World Cup in West Germany. Over the following decades, semiconductors, displays, and wireless technologies were added to the product ranges. In the 2010s, the Automotive Business Unit was established, and at the beginning of the 2020s, the Rutronik System Solutions initiative was added. And that is just a very brief outline of the key milestones in our corporate history. As a distributor with 50 years of experience, we are an important player and an indispensable partner, especially for many mediumsized companies. We have a global presence to ensure local support for our customers, tailored specifically to their production sites. After all, building and maintaining personal relationships with our customers, suppliers, and business partners is still extremely important to us.

And where does Rutronik stand after 50 years on the electronics market in terms of hard facts such as sales and employee figures?

In the 2022 business year, our workforce of around 1,900 people worldwide generated combined sales of €1.28 billion. Rutronik has maintained continuous, sustainable, and robust growth over the past five decades. In 2016, we had around 1,500 people working for us. Since then, our workforce has increased by over a quarter. We have over 80 offices at around 40 locations around the world, and we continue to focus on self-financed growth. Throughout this period, we have maintained a good balance between the tried and tested and important innovations and adjustments to market developments. Our structure as an owner-managed company has also enabled us to maintain our independence from external investors. In our anniversary year, we are all the more happy at what we have already achieved and look back on the past five decades with pride and gratitude.

And what makes Rutronik special? Where do you see its strengths?

Although Rutronik has long been a global player, it is still a family-owned company with its roots firmly in the SME sector and is the only European distributor among the world’s top ten. This makes us the largest European distributor in a market dominated by US competitors. A stable distributor network is critical for success, especially for the medium-sized customer structure in Europe. Our DNA is therefore: We are an owner-managed, independent family business and also a medium-sized company that speaks the language of our customers. Our goal is to serve our customers in the best possible way and to exploit synergistic effects from which both users and suppliers benefit. We are also transforming into a system provider, but still rely on broadline distribution as an important foundation for all these efforts.

What is the situation on the distribution market in particular and where does Rutronik's Managing Director see his company in the future? All this and more can be found in the complete interview with Thomas Rudel, which was published in the anniversary edition of RUTRONIKER. We hope you enjoy reading it!

Participate in our "Celebration Competition" – 50 years Rutronik and 40 years Nordic Semiconductor

Nordic Semiconductor is the partner of this year's Rutronik Advent Calendar 2023 and is offering you the opportunity to win one of their development hardware. In addition we would like to congratulate our partner to 40 years being a global leader of ultra-low-power wireless technologies. Participate in our advent calendar and explore the world of Power Managment, Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi and Cellular IoT.

Participate and Win a Nordic nPM1300 EK!

Get to know the Nordic Evaluation Kit for the nPM1300 - a highly sophisticated Power Management IC (PMIC) with battery charging and unique system management features.

  • Seamless configuration through nPM PowerUP desktop software
  • Male pin headers for all pins on the nPM1300 PMIC, and battery connectors
  • Three LEDs and four pushbuttons

Sounds interesting? Then don't miss the unique chance to win a Nordic nPM1300 EK.
Register your company now until December 6th, 2023 to jump into the lottery pot!
Here you can find our participation conditions and declaration of consent.

We look forward to your participation!

Unfortunately, the Competition has now ended.
If you are still interested in the Nordic nPM1300 EK, please visit Nordics Page and take a look in our Shop.

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