Posts Tagged ‘Manufacturing’

h1

Driving German FDI – the U.S. as a Manufacturing & Distribution Hub, and an Export Platform

April 24, 2014

Amy Zecha is an International Investment Specialist with SelectUSA. Her portfolio covers Central and Eastern Europe, including Germany.

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.Inward foreign direct investment (FDI) stock totaled $2.7 trillion in 2012, a 6 percent increase from the prior year, which equals the average annual growth rate between 2001-2011.

SelectUSA just finished another successful event at the Hannover Messe manufacturing trade fair – the largest in the world – and now we’re gearing up for another big event in Germany. In September, we’ll be participating in Automechanika, a global trade show for the automotive industry. We hope you’ll join us!

It’s been a great couple of months for German investment in the United States, and we’ve had some exciting news in the auto industry. In a post last month, ITA’s Tradeology blog highlighted some impressive figures – including the 115% growth in U.S. auto exports of passenger vehicles between 2009 and 2013.

It is therefore no surprise to see international automakers – such as Germany’s BMW – continue to grow their U.S. manufacturing operations. At the end of March, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker joined BMW officials and others in Spartanburg, SC in celebrating the start of production of the X4 – and the announcement of the brand new X7. The addition of this model line will make Spartanburg BMW’s largest manufacturing facility in the world.

BMW, as a business, knows the value of manufacturing in the United States, and also the advantages of using the U.S. as an export platform. Today, BMW is one of the top auto exporters in the United States. More than half of all the cars produced by BMW at their Spartanburg plant are shipped to other markets beyond our borders. BMW has clearly harnessed the power of U.S. manufacturing and successfully coupled it with the export opportunities offered by U.S. trade agreements to maximize the potential of their U.S. operations.

This is just one case study of German success in the U.S. market. Success comes in many sizes – sometimes it’s the small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) that makes the commitment to the United States, like PTF Pfuller, a manufacturer of precision parts and assemblies for the semiconductor, food, medical technology, laser and aerospace industries. The CEO, Mr. Oliver Zintl spent two years working with Jenny Trick of Racine County Economic Development Corporation, after an initial meeting at the USA Investment Center organized by SelectUSA and CS Germany at Hannover Messe 2011. PTF established its U.S. division in Sturtevant, Wisconsin in August 2013 with initial plans to start with a small sales staff – but then noted the potential to add manufacturing and a distribution center within five years, creating at least 50 jobs. PTF cited the tremendous work of Racine County and Milwaukee 7 (a regional economic development organization), as well as the central location, access to existing customers in the region, and the quality of theGateway Technical College – which offers the potential for a nearby source of talent for the company.

These are two great case studies of German-owned companies setting up shop or expanding existing ones in the United States – and further evidence of why SelectUSA has identified Germany as a key focus market for FDI attraction. German investment in the U.S. accounts for over 10 percent of all FDI in the country, a significant figure when taken into account that the U.S. is the largest recipient of FDI in the world. In an effort to support this continued economic relationship, SelectUSA is already planning events in Frankfurt in conjunction with Automechanika in September.

This is just part of a great line-up of events SelectUSA has planned for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for more details around Automechanika and other events – and make sure to sign up for our free online newsletter to stay up to date on all our latest events!

To learn more about SelectUSA and our global programs for both EDOs and international investors please visitwww.selectUSA.gov or follow us on Twitter at @SelectUSA.

h1

Helping Feed the World Through Exports

September 13, 2013

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center. 

Zeigler Bros, Inc. (Zeigler), founded by brothers Ty and Leroy Zeigler, started as a local producer of poultry and livestock feed for farmers in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, area in 1935. Leroy’s son, Tom, took over and changed the company’s direction to focus on research and development of specialty animal foods and aquatic diets. Today, the company continues to develop new and innovative technologies and manufactures more than 300 products, including at two facilities in Pennsylvania, and exports their goods to between 40 and 50 countries each year.

Zeigler has worked closely with the International Trade Administration (ITA) to support its export growth, and is a 2013 recipient of the Presidential E-Award for Export Excellence, the highest government honor for increasing exports. Doug Barry, a Senior International Trade Specialist in ITA’s Global Knowledge Center, spoke with Zeigler’s international sales manager Chris Stock about the business and its exporting success.

Barry: Tell us about the business and what you produce.

Stock: We’re a manufacturer of specialty animal feeds. Our focus is aquaculture feeds, specifically for fish shrimp farms. We also do feeds for pet exotic animals. And we’re also involved with the biomedical research industry, helping provide specialty diets for the animals that serve as health models in research.

Barry: You’re not a Zeigler Brother. What’s your position with the company?

Stock: I manage the sales of the company in Asia. But I strictly focus on the aquaculture area, which is where a lot of our attention and efforts are involved. I’m only involved with export; I don’t do any domestic business. My eyes are overseas.

Barry: How long have you been exporting?

Stock: Zeigler’s been exporting for quite a while. It’s very ingrained in the company culture, which is a great reason for our success. In the mid ’80s is probably about the time it started. And our involvement with the aquaculture industry really helped pull us and propel us into export, because aquaculture is a very international business, and it happens more outside the U.S. than inside the U.S.

Barry: Tell us about the extent of your exports and how they contribute to the company’s success?

Stock: Exports have expanded rapidly, especially in the last handful of years. They now encompass a majority of our business, slightly over 50 percent. We’re exporting to between 40 and 50 different countries every year. Last count was 43; some come and go. But it’s a huge part of our business and it’s where we see the most growth opportunity. If we want to grow our business, it’s going to be through overseas markets.

We certainly have business in the U.S. and that’s important to us, but the U.S. market won’t be growing at the rate that the international markets are.

Barry: What markets are you focusing on, going forward?

Stock: Areas of interest most specifically are Africa and Southeast Asia. There are a number of countries in these areas – West Africa is a hotspot for us, specifically Nigeria and Ghana. Then in Southeast Asia, we look at Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, China, Philippines, Thailand, some of these countries.

Barry: What is attractive to you about Africa?

Stock: Africa is on the cusp, I think. A lot of people see the opportunity, so it’s a great time to get in early, because it’s a huge emerging middle class that’s developing there with spending power. They need things more than any other part of the world. They have a lack of access to some of the higher-tech products and things that the U.S. can offer.

And there’s reason to take it slow when entering Africa and be cautious, but the opportunity outweighs the risk, there’s no doubt about that.

Barry: And do you think that Zeigler is a better company because of exporting, and if so, in what ways?

Stock: Absolutely. It diversifies the company, allows us to be insulated from issues in one market or another. Our business is subject to seasonality as well, and it has reduced the impact of seasonality on our manufacturing. And it just connects us throughout the world. The Zeigler brand is known in our industry throughout the world, and that’s a tremendous privilege.

And it challenges us. We are able to take opportunities and things we learn in one country and apply them elsewhere. So we’re always learning and one of the great parts about our job is we’re connecting people throughout the world and bringing ideas from one place to the other, whether or not they directly impact our product.

Barry: And what about the U.S. government? What has it done for you?

Stock: The Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce is kind of a go-to for us when we run into issues. There’s always something popping up. When you export to 40 to 50 countries a year, there’s going to be something at any given point on your plate. And so it’s a common go-to kind of hub for us.

In general, we come to them when we have export regulatory issues and we need somebody inside the government to guide us. That’s a big thing about exporting is knowing that you don’t know it all and you’re always going to need support. The government has helped bring us into new markets. We went on a trade mission to Ghana when we were getting our Africa business warmed up and met people there that are clients now and important partners.

Barry: Advice for other U.S. exporters or for companies considering it?

Stock: It’s a no-brainer. You should be exporting. If you’re not, start learning about it, talk to other exporters and just go for it. I think the key things to exporting are persistence and patience.

You have to realize that when you get in this, it may not be immediate sales, it may take years, but you have to have the long-term vision. If you’re willing to go through a couple of ups and downs, it can pay off in dividends. If you don’t enter the export market, you’re limiting your sales in a big way, no doubt about it.

h1

Partnership Helps U.S. Businesses Find Opportunities in Brazil

September 3, 2013

Kit Rudd is the Senior International Trade Specialist responsible for Construction Machinery in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Transportation and Machinery.

Achilles Arbex is the general manager of the Association for Manufacturing Technology's Sao Paulo Technology Center.

Achilles Arbex

Brazil is becoming an increasingly important partner for the United States. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez all visited Brazil in August to discuss growing U.S.-Brazil ties in trade and education.

For U.S. exporters, Brazil’s machinery manufacturing sector represents an attractive opportunity. Taking advantage of that opportunity, however, requires familiarity with the country’s often challenging customs and tariff systems, local content requirements, and legal procedures for establishing a business.

That’s where Achilles Arbex can help. Arbex is the General Manager of the Association for Manufacturing Technology’s (AMT) Sao Paulo Technology Center. The Technology Center is the focal point of a $290,000 Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) award the International Trade Administration (ITA) awarded to AMT.

The award is helping AMT represent and promote the interests of U.S.-based manufacturing technology businesses. AMT supports manufacturers that design, build, sell, and service the continuously evolving technology that lies at the heart of manufacturing.

Our team recently spent five days with Arbex and AMT executives at the FEIMAFE Machine Tools Trade Exposition in Sao Paulo, talking to U.S. exhibitors about how AMT’s Technology Center can help U.S. companies take advantage of opportunities in Brazil.

To help its member companies access emerging global markets more easily, AMT has opened technology centers in Shanghai; Chennai, India; Monterey, Mexico and now Sao Paulo.

AMT’s technology centers provide a variety of services to AMT members, including:

  • Researching and arranging meetings with potential customers
  • Providing comprehensive market and competitive analysis
  • Translation oversight on promotional pieces and technical documents
  • Trade show assistance
  • Negotiation practices

The MDCP award is a competitive program that provides funds to organizations aiming to increase U.S. exports. For every dollar given to an industry by ITA, the industry group must provide two of its own. As part of the award, ITA will work with awardees to help accomplish their mission.

The Department of Commerce recently announced seven recipients of the 2013 MDCP awards. For more information about the awards, including how to apply for future consideration, visit: www.trade.gov/mdcp.

h1

Attila’s Guide to Conquering Export Markets

August 29, 2013

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

Attila Szucs started Advanced Superabrasives in Nashville, North Carolina, with one employee in the early 1990’s. In the years that followed he grew the domestic market for his products, then expanded internationally during the U.S. economic downturn.

Szucs’s company has used International Trade Administration services like the Gold Key matching service to develop international markets around the world. His company was recognized by the Commerce Department with an “E” Award for exporting. He shared his story with Doug Barry, an international trade specialist with the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

Barry: Tell us about your company.

Szucs: The company was founded in 1993 in Nashville, North Carolina. And basically we started with myself and another person, and today we’re exporting to 16 countries.

We manufacture super-abrasive grinding wheels for other manufacturers. Super-abrasive grinding wheels are a product that actually grinds hard materials such as ceramic, glass, quartz, steel–all materials that need to be manufactured to very high tolerances. And the best way to do that is through grinding.

Barry: How did you get the entrepreneur bug?

Szucs: It was from my father. He had his own business. He started his own business in the United States not too long after we arrived here. And he is the entrepreneur in the family, and that’s where I got it from.

Barry: What was the biggest challenge that you faced in the development of your company?

Szucs: We started with absolutely no sales in 1993, and we did a lot of research and development and testing to improve our product. And slowly but surely we started penetrating the market within the United States.

We started exporting in 1995 to Canada. And after about 2002, when the economy took a hit in United States, we started to look how we could diversify so we can insulate ourselves from economic downturn. That’s when we decided that we really needed to look at exports, and we started exporting to China and to Brazil.

Barry: How did you manage?

Szucs: We were lucky. We actually started talking to the U.S. Department of Commerce, from Charlotte, NC, and it was just absolutely wonderful how we were treated and how much help they were. Through their Gold Key program, that’s how we got into Brazil. And that program is so helpful that they set everything up for you and basically all we had to do is show up. They even helped us with an interpreter and they set up all the appointments for us. It was a wonderful experience.

So from that point on we really tried to work very, very closely with the U.S. Department of Commerce. And in North Carolina we also had the North Carolina Department of Commerce, who was also very helpful in helping us navigate through the exporting issues that may have come up.

Barry: But how did you know to contact these people to begin with? You’ve mentioned just showing up. That’s something that a lot of U.S. companies fail to do.

Szucs: Most small U.S. companies don’t know about that tremendous asset that we have, whether it’s from the federal level or the state level. We actually heard from another company who used the U.S. Department of Commerce which helped them export. And that’s why we contacted them and wanted to see how we could pursue the same route.

Barry: Have you learned things in your dealings with other countries – China, Brazil, elsewhere – that have made you a better company?

Szucs: We just came back from Seoul, Korea. We participated in Trade Winds Asia, a U.S. Commerce organized trade mission. And again, I can’t say enough about it because it is a tremendous amount of help to any U.S. company, especially small companies like ours, because we get to meet companies from the region – potential customers, potential distributors. Plus, we learn about the culture of each country in the region and what they’re looking for so we can better prepare ourselves when we start dealing with these companies. It was invaluable for us.

Barry: Have you modified your product at all, or modified your approach to doing business as a result of what you’ve learned by selling to people in other cultures?

Szucs: We absolutely had to, because different cultures have different needs and we really have to cater to their needs. We can’t use the same approach in Europe that we’re using in Asia.

The United States does have a good following. People around the world, especially in Asia, they look up to United States and to United States products. So if you’re sincere and you have a good product, you have a very good chance of selling overseas, especially in Asia.

Barry: Are you confident that after you recent trip to Asia that you’ll add to your current collection of country markets?

Szucs: Yes, I’m looking forward to adding Korea and Japan. Japan is the crown jewel for me.

Barry: Will the free-trade trade agreement with Korea help?

Szucs: I think it will. Anytime we have a free trade agreement, it definitely helps. And it removes some of the obstacles.

Barry: What’s your advice to U.S. companies that aren’t exporting now?

Szucs: You don’t have to be a large company to export. That’s number one. And we’re a prime example. We’re not a large company. Second, take one country at a time. And most important, get help. And I would highly recommend using the U.S. Department of Commerce and your own local state department of commerce, because it will help navigate those troubled waters of export. Depending on which country you’re trying to get into, it could be a tremendous help to have people help you with the exports.

h1

No Stalling on the Ride to Export Markets

July 29, 2013

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

A dirt biker rides a bike up a mountain.

Two of the first autoclutches made by Rekluse were exported to Europe.

Rekluse makes clutches for off-road dirt bikes in a small factory in Boise, Idaho. The company’s founder, who begged his parents for a dirt bike and got one at age eight, got the idea for the business when searching, unsuccessfully, for a clutch to prevent engine stalls with his bike.

Now, Rekluse is selling clutches to dirt bike enthusiasts all over the world.

The company has worked with the International Trade Administration and other government agencies to develop an impressive international business presence, earning a presidential E-Award for Export Excellence in 2013.

On hand in Washington to accept the award was export manager Alison Kelsey, who talked with the Global Knowledge Center’s Doug Barry.

Barry: What does your company make?

Kelsey: Our company invented and manufactures auto clutches for dirt bikes. We’re in the off-road segment now and looking to go into the street market later this year. The product is called an auto-clutch. At a basic level, it prevents your motorcycle from stalling. And so it’s an aftermarket, bolt-on product that has advantages for beginners all the way up to professionals.

Barry: How did the company come into being?

Kelsey: The founder, Al Youngwerth, had tried a product that was kind of like ours, and it didn’t work well. It ended up damaging his motorcycle. He had a difficult time with their customer service. He’s an engineer, so his mind just started to work and he created the first auto-clutch 11 years ago. He just started from scratch and learned how to machine the product.

A dirk biker is executing a jump on a dirt course.

Exports are now about 30 percent of Rekluse’s business. The company exports to 41 countries.

Barry: How has the company grown?

Kelsey: Early on, two of the first clutches that were ever made went to customers in Europe. We started exporting very early on and took requests.

But three years ago, when I came into the company, we said: “We have a real opportunity here to grow this and to put best practices in place, bring in the infrastructure and really grow.”

We’ve seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years. Exports are now about 30 percent of our business. We have 18 distributors and through them, we export to 41 countries.

Overall, exports have enabled the company to grow more quickly. We have a very seasonal business and selling to markets all over the world helps us even out that seasonality and we can keep the balance up throughout the year.

Barry: What was the most important thing that helped the company grow systematically?

Kelsey: I think for us it as the commitment of the company to export, to know what it was going to take and all be on the same page and ready to invest in that, and then for all of us to have an understanding of the opportunity. When we have in-house R&D and production, everyone needs to be on the same page. So that was the most important first step: getting everyone on board from product design all the way up–we’re planning for exporting.

Barry: Was there a big challenge that you have encountered, or the founder encountered, in making the company successful?

Kelsey: I think the biggest challenge we’ve had is probably just limited resources. We’re a small company. We have specific challenges in each market that we work to overcome, but I’ve really found that since we’ve connected to the U.S. Commercial Service, we know where to get the answer to whatever situation has come up.

Barry: How specifically has the Commercial Service out there in Boise helped you?

Kelsey: Well, we’re really fortunate with our local Export Assistance Center office and Amy Benson specifically – I’d like to mention her. She has done everything from mentor the leadership team in our company, to prepare us for the commitment of exporting.

We’ve taken advantage of Gold Key Service, which finds buyers for us. I was in Brazil earlier this year, and to have everything set up – you just arrive and the Commercial Service people at the embassy have got it dialed up. We had fantastic meetings. Really great opportunities came out of that.

We also used the International Partner Search in Europe last year, which provided us a list of qualified buyers. So those are the services we’ve used, but Amy also just connected us to all the other export resources in our community. I think we know everyone now: the SBA, the Idaho District Export Council, many others. It’s our local network, and it’s great.

h1

The Sky is No Limit for U.S. Aerospace Manufacturing Exports

July 3, 2013

Chandra Brown is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing in the International Trade Administration.

Chandra Brown, center, joins members of the Commercial Alternative Aviation Fuels Initiative to cut the ribbon at the Alternative Aviation Fuels Pavilion at the Paris Air Show.

Chandra Brown, center, joins members of the global aviation industry to cut the ribbon at the Alternative Aviation Fuels Pavilion at the Paris Air Show.

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting many impressive US manufacturers, as well as former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, at the 50th International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Field. Buzz is a key figure in American aerospace and was part of one of the United States’ greatest accomplishments—landing men on the moon. Meeting him was a reminder of America’s long tradition of leadership in aerospace manufacturing.

I was thrilled to see that legacy on full display at the U.S. International Pavilion in Paris. There were 264 American companies representing 34 states exhibiting in the Pavilion this year, and 75 of those companies had never been to the show before. During the week of the air show, these firms had the opportunity to meet with representatives from more than 2,000 companies from around the world, learn about new aircraft programs directly from major manufacturers, and mix with potential government customers from key aviation markets.

The International Trade Administration worked closely with Pavilion organizer Kallman Worldwide to help our exhibitors get the most out of the show. Industry experts and commercial specialists from around the world were on hand to counsel U.S. companies about their specific exporting needs. We organized a series of tours for foreign delegations interested in meeting with our firms. We worked with our colleagues at the Bureau of Industry and Security to provide the latest information on the Obama administration’s export control reform effort. We also met with representatives from both industry and government to promote foreign direct investment in the U.S. aerospace industry and the alternative jet fuels industry, and to advocate for U.S. companies competing for foreign government sales.

At the International Trade Administration, we know companies engaged in international business are stronger than those that are purely domestic. This is particularly true for the aerospace industry, which has the highest positive trade balance of any U.S. manufacturing industry.  My mission as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing is to make sure U.S. aerospace firms and other U.S. manufacturers are able to compete fairly on the global stage. ITA’s efforts at the Paris Air Show will help make that mission a success!

I hope all manufacturers will take advantage of trade missions to expand their business. You can find a list of upcoming missions here.

h1

Developing Foreign Business is Easier than You Think

May 29, 2013
Cody Friesen is the founder of Fluidic Energy

Dr. Cody Friesen

Today on the Department of Commerce Blog, Dr. Cody Friesen discusses the recent infrastructure trade mission to Latin America. Missions like these are one way the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Administration (ITA) help U.S. businesses develop contacts and find export opportunities in expanding markets.

As Friesen points out, the barriers for a business looking to export are not as high as one might think. Services from ITA and the Department of Commerce can help your business find qualified buyers, conduct market research, and develop contacts in foreign markets.

One of our upcoming trade missions may be the next step for your company to find a new market overseas. You can read more of Dr. Friesen’s advice on the Department of Commerce Blog.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 402 other followers