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Export and Offshore
Where on earth?

Planet Earth:

7 billion people
over 195 countries
across 7 seven continents
It can look a bit daunting. It doesn’t need to be.  In fact, the trick is to manage the market targeting process so that it suits your organisation, your particular products or services, your resources, and the relative importance of international business development in your current thinking.  Take on what you can do properly, and build from there.
Is export for you?
The answer is, It depends.  One size definitely does not fit all.  Some companies are “born global”;  they are targeting international markets from Day 1.  Many ‘new technology’ companies fit that category.  For others, a staged approach makes more sense.  Having an established operating base, positive cash flow, a track record and some reference sites, certainly makes the next step easier.  And in some cases the product or service itself may not be readily exportable; but the technology or concept may be.

Much of business decision-making is about resource allocation, including prospectivity analysis, risk assessment and opportunity cost:  Where will I get the best return from the next dollar I spend, and is that return sufficient for the additional risk involved?  Export & Offshore is no different;  it belongs in the opportunity matrix, but it is not normally where you start.  The markets in many developed countries are mature, and that may be an appropriate driver for you to look further afield;  whereas if you are in a strongly growing market, and struggling to fund that growth, a premature move overseas make just take you under water.  First-mover advantages may argue for you to establish multiple international toe-holds rapidly if you have an innovative and disruptive technology;  but if you don’t have your act together, the whole world will soon know.  Australia’s export history is replete with stories of opportunist trading, dumping of production over-runs and written-down stock, and a lack of commitment to continuity of supply;  but thankfully those days are largely gone.  Global competition and the digital age have shifted bargaining power in favour of the demand side, and customers and channel partners are becoming rightfully insistent on security of supply and continuity of relationships.

Are you export-ready?
In our experience – and it is considerable – the single biggest determinant as to export readiness is commitment – from the top.  With that in place, you need to allocate some management time, and a budget.  If you can’t, it’s too early.
The secret to success?
Well actually it’s no secret.  We’ve mentioned commitment.  Add in Planning, and Market research.  And what the PAN AGRA report called ‘experiential data’ – in other words, going and having a look yourself.
Financial assistance?
Federal and State governments offer various forms of financial assistance to developing businesses, including exporters and those looking to commercialise new technology.  These can be used to access advice directly, to allay the cost of third party service providers, and/or to meet your own out-of-pocket costs.  Most of these programs involve up-front registration, and pro rata reimbursement or claw-back of relevant expenses.  We can alert you to relevant ones, and assist with the application process where appropriate.
Where do I start?
With a phone call.  If you are seriously considering the potential of international markets, and how to capture them in a planned, systematic and practical way, we’d like to toss it around with you.  We have done literally scores of export capability diagnostics, export marketing plans and international business development plans.  For all sorts of products and services.  In all sorts of markets.  An hour together over  a cup of coffee, and we’ll have a good feel for what might work best.  If you are comfortable with what we suggest, we will follow up with a brief formal proposal.  We are confident you will come out of that initial session with a clearer view of the options available, and the best approach to take.  And we will have made a start on another long term relationship.

Where on earth?

 

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Anywhere that makes sense.

 

Case history
tna is a global leader in the food packaging and processing industry, supplying turnkey solutions and single systems to customers around the world.

In 1982 Alf Taylor set up tna as consulting engineers to the food packaging industry.  In 1983, frustrated by the complex, slow and inefficient bag-making machines then used throughout the industry, he made the decision to go into equipment manufacture and set about developing a Vertical Form Fill and Seal (VFFS) system that would increase productivity and reduce waste for his clients. The first of these systems, the tna robag, redefined performance standards for VFFS systems, and quickly established tna as a global player in the packaging industry.

In 1990 our principal, Adrian Dignam, worked with Alf Taylor on the inaugural International Business Development (IBD) Plan for tna when it had two offices in Australia and employed 10 people.  tna now employs over 200 talented people in more than 24 locations around the world, and today robag is the best-selling VFFS system in the world.  Sales since inception have exceeded $800 million, of which $700 million has been in export.  We would like to believe we were influential in that success. Alf agrees:  “Adrian came in to help us prepare a business plan.  Along the way, he taught me how to do business planning, and he taught me and tna the value of doing it.  We are still doing so, and getting better all the time.”

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