Beyond Components

Beyond Components founder Lou Dinkel moved to Boston in 1987 with $2,300 in his wallet and a list of dreams written on the back of a napkin that included running his own, honest business and hiring staff with character and integrity. 

“I started selling entry level lines, I didn’t know any customers in the area and I wasn’t going to steal competitors’ salespeople,” Dinkel recalls. “They said I wouldn’t make it and that Boston would eat me alive. In our 27-year history, we have never hired from a competitor. We hire for integrity and character and promote from within. It took a long time to find my first five employees.”

Today, Beyond Components is a nationwide distributor of high-quality electronics and electromechanical products and boasts a staff of 165 employees. It carries more than 260 factory-authorized product lines from an array of brand name manufacturers, including IDEC, Entrelec, Harting, Aimtec, Baco, Conta Clip, Marathon, E-Switch and Sunon. 

The company distributes terminal blocks, relays, switches, fans, LEDs, LCDs, circuit breakers, connectors, filters and power supplies to about 40 industries. Its most frequent customers include those in the transportation, HVAC, process control, farm automation, energy and food product industries. “I still visit about 400 customers per year and a lot are new accounts,” Dinkel explains. “I’m showing that I believe in working for this company, and that we believe in something and stand for something.”

Company Credo

Beyond Components was built on the philosophy of putting other people first, being humble and having integrity and character. The culture of the company is also a positive one as it never says “no” to an employee, customer, courier, or town when it comes to things like making charitable donations in their honor, for example. The company donates to more than 100 charitable organizations annually.

“I flip the organization’s flow chart upside down,” Dinkel explains. “My dream was humility and service to others. What can I do for you to make you successful? What can I do to make you enjoy Mondays? I found if I took the first bullet, my employees would take two back for me. I was put on this planet to make other people happy and successful, not for them to make me happy and successful.” 

Because Beyond Components looks for certain qualities in each of its employees, the hiring process can be a bit of a challenge. More than 300 resumes are received to fill an open position, but the company usually only finds 70 from the entire pool to conduct a phone interview with and from there, meets with about 30 candidates. After all that, Beyond Components is lucky to find the right person, Dinkel admits.

“Finding people who fit our company’s credo is important, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” he explains. “I’m looking for people who are more concerned about the person next to them than themselves.” 

Beyond Components values each of its employees and prides itself on not having laid off anyone during any of the recessions. The company thinks to the future and is constantly working to prepare for the next economic downturn so it can offer job security to all its employees. “My job is to worry for them and let them know they are safe no matter what happens,” Dinkel adds. “We want to be prepared for the next hiccup.” 

Growing Smart

Beyond Components’ equipment, such as enclosures and transformers, have become larger in size over the years, making shipping across the country more difficult. To accommodate for this change, the company will open new locations in Denver and Seattle later this year to be within three hours or less from its customers. 

“When you have a six-foot enclosure, you can’t put it in a box and ship it,” Dinkel explains. “Our company’s ongoing focus has been to make sure we are covering every market and studying our industries heavily to know where they are located. We noticed there was a gap in Seattle and Denver.”

Although expanding the business is positive, Beyond Components also wants to be sure it’s growing smart. Opening a new warehouse needs to be a profitable move and not just an added cost to the company, Dinkel says. The goal is to find a balance and open a warehouse in a new location that will service at least 1,000 customers. 

To ensure the company is meeting demand while requiring no lead-time for its products, Beyond Components stocks enough inventory to supply its customers with equipment for two-and-a-half months. This requires a close partnership with its suppliers, which the company maintains by meeting with its vendors at least three times per year and its customers once per quarter to keep abreast of their needs. “We want to be so good that we are invisible,” Dinkel says. “There is no lead-time, so our customers get their products the next or same day.” 

In an industry where all companies begin to look exactly alike because of things like employee cross-pollination, Beyond Components strives to be something more. 

“I like to believe in something other than components, widgets or distribution and let that stand alongside who we are,” Dinkel says. “I would rather be a small company that stands for something than a large one that doesn’t.”

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