Tuesday, 22 May 2012
British made lamp crushing machine.
Lighting the Way for Export
Inventor and former engineer, John Rinfret, founded Balcan Engineering in 1971. He created and produced an innovative lifeline called the B.E.L.L. (Balcan Emergency Life Line) which is designed to be thrown more easily and across further distances than traditional lifesaving equipment. Following successful demonstrations at international boating events, John had soon developed a thriving export business securing agents across the world.
The Lincolnshire based company soon created a whole new arm for their business as they developed another of John’s inventions into the world’s first British made lamp crushing machine. This was followed by the development of a whole lamp recycling plant. Today the company has evolved into one of the UK’s largest lamp recyclers and is exporting recycling plant across the world.
The company soon built a strong overseas presence. With business growing rapidly and publicity generated by the Queen’s Award, enquiries started to arrive from new markets around the world. Balcan needed to assess the scale of the opportunity before investing significant resources in new markets; they got in touch with UKTI for help.
International Trade Adviser Martin Fahy explains, “Even experienced exporters like Balcan can benefit from using the UKTI international network. Our overseas staff, with their local knowledge, language skills and extensive political and commercial contacts can add enormous value to a market visit.”
Taking advantage of a timely market visit to Mexico, Balcan used UKTI’s Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) to commission the trade team at the embassy in Mexico City to conduct valuable research before the company arrived in the country. A list of contacts was produced, categorized in terms of the level of interest in Balcan’s products, which were then followed up on the visit.
“The team in Mexico worked really hard on our behalf,” says John, “We found them extremely professional. In the end the whole process helped us decide that Mexico was not necessarily for us in terms of potential. It has meant that we can focus on more profitable opportunities elsewhere” Understanding your market International Trade adviser Martin Fahy explains, “Understanding your market and its culture is the key to successful exporting. A market visit can help you pursue business opportunities using our global network and can be an ideal way to gauge the scale of the opportunity first hand.
In Balcan’s case it meant that they could make an informed decision not to pursue business in Mexico at that time” Balcan were also keen to develop their profile in the United States and recently used the UKTI Press release service in New York.
The trade team in the consulate in New York investigated the sector and identified a list of potential media titles in relevant specialist press. A shortlist of 20 titles was then agreed. The team then circulated the press release and over the following weeks, articles appeared in 6 key trade publications with press coverage to the value of $80,000.
“Although we are still awaiting tangible results from the coverage, one positive result is our closer working relationship with the trade team in the States.”
Says John. “The commercial officer came over from New York to the UK and spent some time here at Balcan. She was very helpful and I know that if I have an issue in the future I can contact her direct.”
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