Interview with Syed Suroor Anwar, Vice-President (APAC), Strategy and Commercial at RS Components

The Impact of the Manufacturing Industry on the Environment


Syed Suroor Anwar Vice President - Strategy and Commercial (APAC)

Syed Suroor Anwar has vast international experiences in Asia, Europe, and North America, with key eCommerce and technology companies. At present, he is the Vice President for Strategy and Commercial for RS Components – the Asia Pacific. In his current capacity, he is responsible for formulating the go-to-market strategy for RS in the Asia Pacific and implementing that through managing the overall product and supplier offer on the website and sales enablement through digital, marketing, sales effectiveness, and customer experience.


Suroor has been with RS Components for more than 7 years in multiple leadership roles across the business. He has extensive work experience in P&L management, Transformation Sourcing, and Supply Chain with companies like SKF and Tata Motors in India where he was responsible for setting up greenfield projects and establishing their supply chain and vendor management functions. In 2011, Suroor moved to Singapore to work with Applied Materials Inc. to formulate and drive the contract manufacturing strategy and supplier quality improvement before joining RS.


He is a mechanical engineer by qualification from the Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi. Suroor also holds a Six Sigma Master Black belt and Lean Master certifications. Suroor is also a fond writer and contributor to some of the pioneering works in Continuous Improvement books and forums.


RS Components’ local warehouse stocked with over 500,000 industrial and electronic products

1. Could you share with us RS Components’ background and history?

RS Components is a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, a global omnichannel solutions partner for industrial customers and suppliers who are involved in designing, building, or maintaining industrial equipment and facilities. We stock more than 500,000 industrial and electronic products, sourced from over 2,500 leading suppliers. We provide a wide range of value-added solutions to over one million customers. With operations in 32 countries, we trade through multiple channels and ship over 50,000 parcels a day.


We are not only a distributor of industrial and electronic products. We also simplify the procurement process and help engineers and procurement managers save time and costs through innovative solutions and services. This includes providing a range of energy efficient solutions and helping customers reduce their environmental footprint

through responsible sourcing.


In APAC, we are present in 12 key markets with 5 local distribution centers. By holding local stock in these centers, we can provide fast and reliable delivery to our customers. We have local sales and account managers supporting key customers in different countries as well as dedicated teams providing end-to-end service from sourcing and technical support to customer service and aftersales support.


2. What are the ways that RS Components has taken to assist the companies to lessen the manufacturing’s impact on the

environment?

Our global environment, sustainability, and governance (ESG) plan helps keep us accountable and guides all aspects of the business, including ethical sourcing and engaging our suppliers and customers to reduce their carbon footprint and energy consumption. The transport of raw materials and parts used by manufacturers around the world contributes to emissions. Across the Asia Pacific, we’ve invested in distribution centers and local sourcing capabilities so that manufacturing customers can source locally and reduce their carbon footprint.


Holding local stock across a broad range of products also enables us to offer reliable product availability, fast delivery, and help customers to adhere to their maintenance and production schedule, which also impacts their overall efficiency. Our dedicated sales, technical, and sourcing staff play a key role in guiding clients to integrate sustainability in their supply chains. Our teams have the technical knowledge and access to an extended global product catalog to help customers choose compliant and energy efficient products such as LED bulbs and sensors.


RS Components’ robust supply chain technologies

This enables industrial customers to consume less energy and improve productivity levels in their plants and facilities. Lack of visibility in the supply chain leads to waste, delays, and higher costs. We provide procurement solutions to give customers more control and transparency in their supply chain through direct access to our product range and purchase information, managing spends and reducing errors with fast and secure invoicing. Customers can also save time and gain efficiencies by working with our sourcing team who will help source products not yet published on the website and consolidate purchase orders.


These solutions also help reduce waste in manufacturing by enabling procurement specialists to better plan their projects and maintenance engineers to stay on track with preventive maintenance schedules. Education and creating more awareness of energy-efficient technologies among our customers also play a big role. We host local conferences and webinars in partnership with suppliers to raise awareness about industry challenges and available solutions to help manufacturing customers stay on top of their productivity and sustainability goals. We also offer educational resources and insights on our Connected Thinking website.


3. Data by the World Bank suggests that CO2 emissions in Malaysia from manufacturing and construction are at around

13% a few years ago. How far have Malaysian manufacturers come since then?

The Malaysian manufacturing industry is a key contributor to economic development and adoption of innovative practices, which lead to more efficient and sustainable ways of operating. The challenge - and opportunity - for Malaysia is to shape their Industry 4.0 agenda to accelerate not only productivity and efficiency but sustainable development as well. Automation and IIOT technologies not only improve production methods but also reduce emissions and optimize energy use.


Manufacturing customers are looking for a strategic partner with the digital experience and distribution and logistics expertise to help unlock these business opportunities and environmental benefits for them. A strategic partner can help integrate sustainable approaches end to end, from the way manufacturers source their materials to how they can leverage sensing and automation solutions on the factory floor, and how they can recycle packaging materials.


RS Components employee keeping stock of products for industrial customers and suppliers at RS Components warehouses

4. What steps have manufacturers taken to reduce the amount of pollution they emit?

Globally, organizations also have their eye on leveraging emerging technologies like AI and IoT (Internet of Things) to accelerate progress in the Sustainable Development Goals, which include clean energy and strengthening infrastructure in countries. Through the scope of our work with industrial customers, we are supporting manufacturers in the drive to harness technology to optimize factory operations and we are also helping manufacturing firms to apply sustainable practices in their supply chain.


Previously, I mentioned the significant impact of local sourcing and stock availability in reducing the environmental footprint of manufacturers significantly. We also help clients meet sustainability and energy efficiency targets by sourcing from a wide range of sustainable products and solutions from ethical suppliers. This gives design and maintenance engineers reliable access to critical technologies, which they can then use to implement factory solutions that reduce their energy consumption and process waste, without compromising quality and productivity.


Examples include technologies for smart manufacturing such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and sensing solutions that can help practitioners reduce the energy they consume. Infrared sensors or thermal sensors, for example, enable plant managers and maintenance engineers to avoid equipment failure or downtime, by monitoring changes in temperature or vibration. This reduces downtime due to system failures or accidents and ensures parts and machines are replaced before they break down. These technologies give manufacturers the data needed to project maintenance schedules, plan resources to avoid overproduction, and save on costs and energy used.


RS Components employees sorting electronics, automation and control components, tools and consumables at local warehouse

5. When it comes to repair and operations (MRO), how can practitioners carry out their responsibilities with less harm

done to the environment?

Consumers continue to expect brands to live up to high ethical standards. MRO and procurement managers also need to consider how they can maintain a robust supply chain by having reliable sources and breadth of choices for their requirements, managing multiple relationships with trusted suppliers, on top of having technical knowledge and making sure things are running smoothly. To address this, practitioners must make sustainable and ethical procurement a key enabler of their business strategy.


The sourcing and buying process has a significant impact in reducing the manufacturing footprint and advancing the innovation or digital transformation in the organization. One way to carry this out is by having relationships with trusted suppliers who share the same values so that you don’t compromise the principles of your team. Transparency is also important, and this can be achieved by reporting on the company practices and helping customers understand how the business is progressing on its sustainability goals. For example, in RS, we include a sustainability update on our website and annual report.


Having a strategic MRO approach also ensures businesses source components from reliable suppliers who have similar green goals and meet international compliance and ethical standards. Responsible procurement will ensure that when innovations are adopted at the factory, employees are protected and plant equipment is maintained well.


RS Components employee preparing orders for delivery at the RS Components warehouse