Staying relevant is critical to success in today’s quickly evolving electronics market. At the same time, history and long-time relationships with customers have a place in the recipe for success.
Frank Flynn, Sager
The big question is how to balance these two: maintaining corporate identity and adapting to meet the needs of a changing market. We sat down with Frank Flynn, president at Sager Electronics, to talk about how his company has maintained its long track record as a distributor of interconnect, power, and electromechanical components. The company recently celebrated 130 years in business, having started as an electrical products company.
Flynn joined Sager in 1983 and took the helm of the company in 1999. Prior to assuming the position of president, Frank served as chief financial officer, chief operating officer, vice president of finance, and director of corporate development. During Flynn’s tenure, the distributor made a handful of acquisitions aimed at cementing the companies direction and leadership. In addition, the company was acquired by distributor TTI five years ago.
We asked Flynn about how he sees the electronics distribution market changing, as well as about how Sager has evolved over the years.
EBN: Your company has managed to stay relevant for more than a century. What would you say is the cornerstone of your strategy, the foundation? And what are the newest ways that your customers want to work with you?
Flynn: Adaptability and customer service. Our ability to evolve as the business evolved and to maintain a high level of customer service through the years have been the keys to our relevancy. The company started by selling speaking tubes out of a storefront in Boston in 1887 with an in-house, knowledgeable service staff and on-hand inventory. Over time, Sager expanded its product offering to the electrical equipment, radios, and time-saving devices customers were seeking.
As electronics were introduced, it became a much more important part of the Sager line and the company transitioned from a retailer to a wholesaler. In addition, the company began marketing itself as Sager Electronics, putting its corporate name, Sager Electrical Supply Company, in the background.
Today, Sager Electronics has ten service centers strategically located across North America, a team of field sales and technical sales engineers, a line card of interconnect, power and electromechanical electronic components, a state-of-the-art warehouse, and a Power Solutions Center dedicated to value-add services. In addition to the traditional sales models it offers, Sager has taken a unique approach to direct field sales, using a dual coverage model for highly technical products like power supplies and thermal solutions through the company’s specialized group, Sager Power Systems. In this model, a technical sales person called a Power Systems Sales Engineer works directly with our customer's engineering team while our field sales representatives work with engineering and purchasing providing greater customer value.
EBN: Consolidation in electronics distribution landscape has continued as the norm. Your company was bought by TTI. Tell us a little about how being part of TTI has furthered your company’s strategy?
Flynn: Being part of TTI but remaining a separate company has both required and afforded us the ability to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. While both companies enjoy a strong interconnect and electromechanical line card, Sager has taken the lead in power supply and thermal product solutions through its specialized group, Sager Power Systems. This group features a dedicated and technical outside sales force selling power supply and thermal only.
Sager’s specialization in power is unique and would not have been achieved as quickly without the resources of TTI and Berkshire Hathaway. Growing our power supply line card and capabilities has proven valuable to both suppliers and customers, as Sager works to redefine the traditional idea of IP&E. Our specialization in power complements the strength of our interconnect and electromechanical offering, allowing Sager to provide more value and a full breadth of solutions to better meet the needs of our customers.