Today, more than 85% of the world’s manufacturing technology is consumed outside the United States. China and India are the world’s second and seventh largest economies and combined represent more than a third of its population. By taking advantage of these markets and countless others, American manufacturers who export have seen marked increase in revenue. But how does a company explore this literal world of opportunity? AMT has long recognized the initial challenges facing members exploring foreign markets and has set up Global Tech Centers and offices around the world to assist.
From direct sales support to employee proxy hiring to trade show logistics to warehousing, using the services of one of AMT’s Tech Centers is the least risky and most cost-effective way to enter a foreign market, quickly become operational, and generate new revenue streams. We asked some of our members to take away the mystery and share their experiences working with the Tech Centers to encourage others to seize the opportunity.
The economic powerhouse of the east
Shanghai Technology and Service Center (STC)
Michigan-based Acme Manufacturing began working with the STC more than 10 years ago. The global material removal solutions provider has an R&D development center in Singapore but still needs the support and services of the STC. “Having an AMT resource on the ground in China has been essential to our ongoing success,” said G.A. “Fritz” Carlson III, president & CEO, Acme. “The STC employees we hired as proxy back then are still representing Acme today.”
In fact, the proxy hire program is one of the most-utilized services of AMT’s Tech Centers because it allows AMT members to hire local employees – who speak the language and know the markets – without forming a foreign entity. This saves a substantial amount of money, and AMT handles all salary, benefits, taxes, and expenses via an escrow account.
“Tech Center services make us much more attractive to potential customers,” said Carlson. “They give us more bandwidth in terms of service and support and strengthen our overall customer-centric solutions.”
Leak-testing services find new markets in China
A best-in-class technology will find new markets in China. “Through the years, the demand for lnterTech’s expertise in leak and functional testing has become increasingly global,” said Jacques Hoffman, president, lnterTech Development Company. “When leading manufacturers moved to China and Asia, we needed to find ways to serve our customers in these countries. We have partnered with AMT’s STC for more than 20 years, and the relationship was seamless from the beginning.”
Hoffman further speculated that without the STC’s support, it is likely that many of the innovations in medical technology, automotive engineering, and others that rely on lnterTech testing solutions would have been seriously delayed, or perhaps never come to be.
DP Technology brings CAM to China
Leading CAM technology provider DP Technology, now part of Hexagon, has been working with the STC since 2011. Hexagon also partners with two other Tech Centers. Paul Ricard, former president of DP Technology commented, “AMT’s STC was a way for us to start doing business in China with very little risk. The staff’s in-depth knowledge of the region, its administrative and staffing services, and its established offices allowed us to save a significant amount of money and time. We were then able to focus on what was most important for us: building a superior technical team and productive sales channels in China. It was such a successful experience that I had no hesitation at being part of the Chennai Technology Center as soon as it opened. AMT has outstanding facilities and services in both these countries.”
Digital reality solutions expand to India
Chennai Tech Center (CTC)
Hexagon also works with the CTC. Targeting the medical, aerospace, and general manufacturing markets, the company currently has six employees in India that function as indirect sales managers and application support engineers, and the CTC manages all employee administrative and HR functions.
“The CTC provided the least expensive, most hassle-free way of expanding our sales globally in India,” said Mike Lauer, regional director, production software, Hexagon. “General Manager Arun Mahajan is extremely well connected throughout the manufacturing industry with 28 years of experience in the industry.”
Arun and his team also manage all the logistics for Hexagon’s participation in India’s largest manufacturing tradeshow, IMTEX, where AMT has a pavilion. “Lastly, they secure meetings on our behalf with executives at major companies throughout India as part of the trade mission service. I’ve had many valuable meetings through this service that I would not have had the connections to set up on my own,” said Lauer.
KYOCERA SGS Precision Tools
KYOCERA SGS Precision Tools (KSPT) has sold, serviced, and supported its round solid carbide cutting tools in the aerospace, automotive, and power generation markets in India through a network of distribution partners utilizing the services of the CTC since 2013. “The CTC gave us the opportunity to further develop business in this major foreign market by initiating a local presence that has led to increased revenue generation,” said Mark Stockinger, vice president – sales and marketing. “Employment regulations surrounding compensation, health benefits, and retirement are complex in India, and it would not be cost effective for us to put infrastructure in country to manage this ourselves.”
KSPT also uses the CTC for strategic information and guidance specific to business trends and issues in the market as well as trade show support for the International Machine Tool and Manufacturing Exposition (IMTEX), India’s largest tradeshow in manufacturing. “CTC organizes the pavilion and booth on our behalf and assists with logistics, promotion, and travel guidance, which is a huge benefit. All we need to do is show up, and everything has been taken care of,” said Stockinger.
Even though KYOCERA Corp. (which acquired the SGS Tool Company in 2015) maintains its own staff in India, the KYOCERA SGS Precision Tool Business Group has maintained its relationship with CTC independently because it has been so valuable.
Hastings Air Energy Control goes south of the border
Monterrey Technology Center (MTC)
Hastings Air Energy Control (Hastings), a distributor for IVEC Systems, FumeVac, Airflow Systems and Filter 1, develops, installs, and services air cleaning systems for manufacturing companies around the world. The company is currently working with John Deere in Mexico and with global manufacturer Komatsu in Chile and Peru.
“AMT has played a huge role in allowing us to establish ourselves in South America and Mexico, and we are in contact with the staff at the MTC almost daily,” said David Bohrer, president, Hastings. “Initially we went to Mexico to support our U.S. customers, but it has now opened up new business opportunities, and we plan to use MTC’s sales support and market research services.”
Both KSPT and Acme Manufacturing, mentioned earlier, also use the services of the MTC. KSPT has hired four sales professionals using the services of MTC, which now manages administrative support. “It was due to our very positive experience using the MTC that we expanded to include the Tech Center in India,” said Stockinger. For Acme, the MTC identified and hired several technicians to provide services to an aerospace client. After three weeks of training at corporate headquarters in Michigan, they were ready to go.
Haven Manufacturing Corp. pursues opportunities in Eastern Europe
Georgia-based Haven Manufacturing Corp., an industry leader in tube cutting and processing, did not have effective representation in Eastern Europe and recently worked with AMT’s European office to identify and qualify representative agents to market and represent its products primarily in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.
“There is a big advantage in having a local representative in Eastern European countries if you want to do business successfully,” said Steve Thiry, president, Haven Manufacturing. “The AMT office identified and vetted more than 60 potential companies, narrowing the number to eight before we interviewed those and chose a representative. We’ve been very happy with the company, which is located in Poland, and represents us there and in the Czech Republic. The AMT office is also doing research identifying the market potential of our equipment in various sectors and continues to look for an agent for the other two countries.”