Enterprise Minnesota Magazine - September 2012
HELPING MANUFACTURERS GROW PROFITABLY
4 Questions with Dale Andersen
Position: President and CEO of Delkor Systems, Inc., a packaging equipment and machinery manufacturer based in Circle Pines.
Activity: Delkor recently completed Global Market Strategy, a service created by Enterprise Minnesota, along with the Carlson Global Institute and The University of Minnesota Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER ). The service helps manufacturing enterprises make a strategic decision to export, and guides them through the steps of discovering which foreign markets hold the greatest potential for their products, and how to target each market most effectively.
What was the catalyst for your company’s participation in Global Market Strategy?
We were seeing a dramatic increase in international business. In the first quarter of 2012, 50 percent of our new machinery sales were to international customers, which was an all-time high for us. Because there are so many hurdles to exporting successfully, it’s really important to have a defined strategy that can help keep you focused on achieving step-by-step growth. We were reaching a point where we really needed to add more definition to our whole marketing strategy, so it came at a good time.
In what ways has Global Market Strategy benefited your business?
It helped us define several goals that we needed to achieve in the coming months in order to be more successful internationally. For example, we are creating a series of online training videos for operating our machinery. Because about 15 percent of our sales are to countries where the predominant language is Spanish, the videos will be offered in English and Spanish starting in the second half of 2013, making it easier for our customers to train their employees. We’ve also hired an additional bilingual service technician to provide more service support to our Spanish-speaking customers.
The service helped us pinpoint more specific target markets as well. We had a broad Latin America target market, and through the Global Market Strategy process, we eliminated Brazil. We know that for our business, we would have to manufacture in Brazil, and we have a lot of technology that we’ve either patented or that we consider trade secrets, so we are not interested in having another manufacturer manufacture those types of machines. In turn, we gave a higher priority to other countries in Latin America, particularly Columbia and Mexico.
Were there any unexpected benefits that Delkor experienced as a result of the service?
We are a sub-supplier to a large European company that supplies machinery all over the world. Soon after we completed Global Market Strategy, they officially established us as a sub-supplier to them for packaging machinery, and they audited us in April. Because we had a defined market strategy, that was a very positive part of our internal audit. The auditors were trying to decide what parts of the world
Delkor could supply machinery to in order to support their international efforts. They were considering having us support Latin America. Because we had a new international market strategy, it became clear to them that we were a good candidate to support their efforts not only in Latin America, but also in Australia and New Zealand.
What should other manufacturers consider before undertaking Global Market Strategy?
I don’t think this service is really for a company that has never exported. This service is for a company that has done some exporting, and wants to give more focus and direction to it, and enhance it. For us, we have a solid understanding of the importance of exporting for Delkor. Our machinery is designed to serve international customers, so it’s important as we expand our business to be able to serve our customers who are international effectively. Global Market Strategy is helping us do that.
To learn more about Delkor Systems, Inc., go to www.delkorsystems.com
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