EVOLVE Business and Professional Magazine May 2019 - Page 17

Jayne Fifer the pitfalls of international trading, she said. “For example, Greg McNair, President, Beach Mobility Manufacturing, maker of beach and street wheelchairs, recently met with Bret Schmitz, president, of neighboring Hudson Technologies, which is an active importer and exporter, to determine if it was a good idea to import parts he needs to expand his product line.” Ormond Beach & Worldwide One of the most unique area businesses is GermFree in Ormond Beach, which designs, engineers and manufacturers lab equipment, hospital pharmacy equipment and turnkey mobile and modular cleanroom buildings. Its systems have been purchased by more than 6,000 institutions and companies in the U.S. and in 60 other countries worldwide. Bio-pharmaceuticals are also playing a growing role in the company. Overseeing all this is Kevin Kyle, president. “GermFree has been an international company for the past 30 years,” he said. “International business has been a huge part of our success.” The company doesn’t rely on a single market, but instead performs work wherever it is needed. “We are on every continent except Antarctica, and we are looking for a way there.” Being international is complicated, he said. Kevin Kyle “Logistics and compliance matter. You have to have your registrations in place, as we do, to allow export of the facilities we build. There are a lot of things to consider.” Sales and service drive the business. “You cannot underestimate the value of a sales and service team. Our teams are traveling all the time, across the country and the world, making sure the equipment is functioning according to factory specs. An internal sales team is responsible for various markets and geographical areas, while resident reps who speak English and the local languages, serve in foreign countries. The GermFree factory is in Ormond Beach, where there is also an internal shipping and logistics department. Training is also there. “Last week we had five people GermFree in from Taiwan. Next week people will be in from the EU and then people from Ireland.” Markets are key. ”At Germfree we have an annual strategic review, which includes a deep dive into assessment of all markets. That guides us in where we should put our efforts. In marketing and other areas, you have to start from data. If not, you are just throwing darts at the board. “Right now we are working on expanding in Europe in the pharmaceutics segments, targeting all the EU, with an entry point through the Republic of Ireland. Enterprise Florida helped us a lot with advertising and grant work and getting our international footprint.” The Chambers and VMA helped create connections. “Operating in foreign lands is not easy, but a lot of the local connections have enabled that. At the end of the day, all business is about personal connections.” A Sunny Outlook Two iconic area sun care brands, Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat, are also known worldwide. They are part of the Edgewell Personal Care company based in Chesterfield, Missouri, which has numerous consumer products under its corporate umbrella. Michschelle Romesberg is Edgewell Personal Care’s Sr. Global Program Manager. “You cannot assume, that made in the U.S. means that you can export a product for sale in another country,” she said. Banana boat and Hawaiian Tropic are mostly made in Ormond Beach for the global market, but ingredients, language and labeling criteria vary by country and region. “There are many different requirements around the globe for what people put on their skin. Canada is different from the US. It is amazing.” Some ingredients may be considered safe in one country but not in another. “If you are in Spain, it is quite different than if you are in the UK. Even China and Hong Kong are different from each other.” Edgewell has a regulatory team that monitors requirements and changes around the world. “You need approval from the country to import it, so that is a process, too. You get into the conversation about what is allowed, what can be on the label, what claims you make.” The main thing, she said, is to know the rules of each individual country. They are not the same. If the documentation isn’t right, the product will get stuck in customs. And then what are you going to do? “When I work with project teams around the world, there are language barriers, vocabulary nuances that can trip you up. Do people understand what you are saying? Do you understand what they are saying?” You have to be very careful of contracts, payment terms, technical documents, not in your language, she cautioned. Because details matter, even knowing, for instance, that Golden Week in Japan lasts for 10 days, and nothing gets shipped out. But is it worth it? The consensus is – Yes. SHOULD YOUR COMPANY GO GLOBAL? Questions to Ask Yourself: Jill McLaughlin, Florida SBDC at UCF’s International Trade program manager, recommends that you evaluate your company to determine if it is export ready: Is management committed to this strategy? An international sales strategy is long- term, so management should be willing and able to dedicate time and resources to export activities. Has your product or service been proven to be successful? Proven success in the U.S. can be a good indicator of potential success in international markets. Do you have financial resources to support this expansion strategy? Funding will be required to support new marketing initiatives and business expansion. Do you have capacity to fulfill the demands of this new market? Production needs, if any, need to be identified to fulfill demand that will be created by this new market. For more information, contact Jill McLaughlin, FSBDC at UCF International Trade Program. Email: Jill.McLaughlin@ucf.edu or call 407-420-4856. Eleanore Osborne is a writer, editor, who lives in Daytona Beach. MAY 2019 | 17 |