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Immediately following the conclusion of the MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS) show in San Francisco this year, I sat down with John Farley, director of marketing for Pasternack Enterprises. John helped illuminate the multiple layers of Pasternack's RF products and services, the unique way they do business and their experience at this year's show.
Judy Warner: John, tell me about Pasternack and your involvement here at IMS 2016. Namely, what were your overall impressions, and what did you feature and display at the show?
John Farley: Well, IMS was a great time, obviously. It was great to get together with the industry and be with engineers and manufacturers and the media and just have some fun together. We didn't show any product here this year because we carry over 40,000 products. It's always, "Well, what would we bring from our huge selection?” It’s just not feasible; we add thousands of products every year and continue to do that.
Warner: Yeah, 40,000 parts is a little much to carry to a trade show! Then let me re-phrase, what did you discuss with the parade of RF engineers and designers who visited your booth, and what would our readers like to know about Pasternack?
Farley: Fundamentally, engineers and designers should know that Pasternack's mission is to provide urgently needed product and component solutions that solve the common problems they face on daily basis. We do that with a huge selection of products: passive components, active components, and interconnect products, as well as a huge custom cable assembly operation. We warehouse and make all of these products available for immediate shipment, which ultimately saves time and helps keeps thing on schedule. Typically, if you have a problem, maybe it's a machine that’s broken or a part or maybe you're trying to put together a prototype and you don't have time to wait for parts. We're here to save the day.
Warner: As far as the traditional distribution model goes, obviously, stocking is counter-intuitive. What is different about your philosophy that makes you actually keep some of the things on hand and available to engineers—particularly, the ones who are developing products and need to get it done, proved-out and to market quickly. This is not typically the segment of the market distributors cater to.
Farley: Yes, you’re right. Our model is very different from a distributor. For starters, Pasternack only sells Pasternack-branded product. That's what we carry. Our products are manufactured for us by leading suppliers all over the world to Pasternack's specifications and backed by a warranty from Pasternack. They're manufactured to our design. We warehouse them and make them available on our website with published pricing and inventory.
Warner: Licensing-wise, can you reveal who some of those companies are?
Farley: No, I can’t. Just know they are the biggest names you readily recognize in the RF industry.
Warner: So pretty much all the big RF parts manufacturers we spent the week with. So, do you play exclusively in the RF space?
Farley: RF, microwave and millimeter wave—all throughout that space. The one partnership we have that we do discuss with people is a partnership with Ducommun. Ducommun does make pretty much their entire line available under the Pasternack brand. You can visit Ducommun's site and find a translation between Ducommun's part numbers and Pasternack's part numbers.
Warner: That's helpful. To shift gears a bit—you made a comment to me earlier that Pasternack doesn’t do a lot of tradeshows. So tell us why IMS is one of those few and what value it might have brought to you this year?
Farley: IMS does a great job. It's the industry's biggest gathering and it’s important that we support it and participate in it and be involved in this community. The company has always attended IMS, but it’s only been the past few years that we've had a booth space at IMS. That transition really just happened because we're very involved in the industry, and we’ve been a part of the industry forever. We want to celebrate and support it by presenting here as well. We have a lot of fun at these shows and really enjoy getting to see our customers face-to-face, and hopefully get a few new ones.
A funny side-note; for the second year in a row, we've run a booth contest where we ask engineers to guess the number of parts we have in this beautiful glass display case. It's a bit of an engineering challenge so it's sort of fun. Engineers are who we work with, so we like to try to give them a fun challenge. Coincidentally, each year, an engineer has guessed within two parts.
Warner: That’s unbelievable! Leave it to an RF engineer to get the math spot-on, and guess within tolerance!
Farley: That's right. This year's count was well over 4,000 parts and the guess was within two.
Farley: It's fun to watch. I enjoy asking them what their methodology was for arriving at their conclusions. Some are guesses and some are very complex. It's pretty cool.
Warner: And what do you give away?
Farley: We've given away a drone each year.
Warner: That's fun and a fitting give away for this show.
Farley: Everything we do at this show, we want to connect back to engineering. Drones are fun. We all want a drone. They are neat little toys that maybe you don't want to buy for yourself, but it's cool when you get one. Of course, they're wireless. It's a nice time.
Warner: That's great. I know that Pasternack has an international footprint. What countries are you in?
Farley: We have 19 distributors around the world. Basically, all of Europe is covered. All of Asia is covered. We actually have a Pasternack office in Shanghai, as well as a distributor in China. We sell across the entire globe, literally, and I once investigated web visits from around the world and discovered that there was only one country in the entire world that had not visited our website within the 2015 calendar year.
Warner: That's impressive.
Farley: We do have these 19 distributors around the world, even though we have a website, you can call us and we ship direct anywhere. We have distributors to assist and support customers in their local language, in their currency, and in their time zone. That's really important.