Smith & Associates is an independent distributor of electronic components and semiconductors headquartered in Houston, Texas. In addition to distribution, the company provides a number of other supply chain services, from inventory management and IT support to solar products and services.
The company established its European headquarters in Amsterdam in 1999 and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in the Netherlands. In addition, Smith & Associates announced and began undertaking plans to establish a European distribution hub in Haarlem in June 2018.
As part of the establishment of the Haarlem distribution hub, Smith & Associates purchased a building, which has since been fully renovated and outfitted to include 30,000 square feet of operational space, complete with an HVAC system that provides heating and cooling and an in-house testing lab.
Two Hours in Amsterdam
According to Mark Bollinger, Chief Globalization Officer, Smith & Associates selected the Netherlands for its European headquarters after its co-founder spent two weeks in London touring a variety of facilities. He then flew to Amsterdam and, within two hours, decided that this was where the headquarters should be.
“A lot of it has to do with the energy and the fit with our business culture,” said Bollinger of why Holland is an ideal location for Smith & Associates. “We are a relatively small company of about 500 employees and did $1.66 billion in revenue last year. That kind of success requires people with a can-do attitude who are focused and energetic, and that’s what we’ve found in the Netherlands.”
“The international flavor of the Netherlands is also an asset,” continued Bollinger. “The workforce spans multiple languages and backgrounds and has familiarity with different business cultures.”
International Distribution Hub
When it came time to expand its European distribution capabilities, the company considered the Czech Republic and Poland in addition to the Netherlands.
At this stage in the process, the company engaged with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). “NFIA supported us with a lot of good economic data,” Bollinger said. “Their team was highly responsive and helped us pull together what we needed very quickly.”
“From a logistics perspective, Haarlem is a great location because of its proximity to Schiphol airport,” Bollinger continued. “It is truly an international distribution hub for us. The majority of product is for the European market, but there is a significant percentage that goes all over the world.”
In addition, Bollinger notes that Haarlem is well supported by third-party logistics providers, including UPS, which has had a presence in the Netherlands for nearly 30 years.
In closing, Bollinger says: “The resources and business climate we’ve experienced in the Netherlands over the years have really enabled us to grow in Europe. They have also given us the background and confidence we need to continue to expand our capabilities in the Netherlands.”
Smith & Associates has 40 employees in the Netherlands and growing.