1. Prolitec Inc. has found the sweet smell of international success through the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s ExporTech program.
    Milwaukee-based Prolitec applies and develops airborne technology for infection control, odor cancellation and makes use of scent for positive or emotional characteristics. Its core business is the application of scent to generate an emotional response.
    “We make an environment much more pleasing to both customers and associates,” said Roger Bensinger, Prolitec’s executive vice president of business development and marketing.
    Prolitec became aware of ExporTech more than two years ago. Initially, management of the young but expanding company balked at the program because it required a commitment of three full days over the course of a three-month period.
    “Our first reaction was to take a pass,” Bensinger said. “You’re a young, growing business and finding three full days to devote to anything is practically near impossible.”
    Bensinger and the rest of Prolitec’s management team changed their minds after learning about the availability of certain subsidies to firms taking part in the program.
    “The money got my attention,” Bensinger said.
    ExporTech helps Wisconsin manufacturers fast-track international sales and has received rave reviews from participants since its introduction in 2010. ExporTech brings together non-competing manufacturers and a range of experts that help each manufacturer develop a custom, action-ready export plan at the end of three months. The unique three-session format allows manufacturers to share ideas with each other, talk one-on-one with experts in a range of fields and have their export plans thoroughly reviewed and vetted by a panel of experts and their peers.
    “ExporTech is a place where you can go and meet a variety of resources who give you a holistic view of what exporting is all about,” Bensinger said.
    Prolitec is a leader in the development and deployment of innovative technologies and solutions for aerobiology and indoor air quality. Current applications include wide-area odor remediation, ambient scenting, restroom hygiene, product advertising, and aromatherapy and performance. Prolitec’s advanced air treatment systems combine state-of-the-art chemistry with proprietary computer-controlled delivery systems to provide clients flexibility in enhancing indoor air quality.
    The company serves a growing number of clients and certified service providers in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and The Middle East. Clients include retail stores, hotels & resorts, casinos, health care facilities, fitness centers, spas, corporate offices and other venues where indoor air quality is an important issue.
    Within six months after participating in ExporTech, Prolitec’s export sales were 60 percent ahead of the company’s sales plan.
    “And we already had a pretty aggressive sales plan going in,” Bensinger said.
    Within a year, sales traced to exports more than doubled. Within two years, the level had quadrupled.
    Involvement in ExporTech allowed Prolitec to take its business “to the next level,” Bensinger said.
    “It was definitely worth our time,” he said.

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  2. When the construction industry experienced an extended period of softness stemming from the overall downturn in the U.S. economy, The Wagner Companies began taking a serious look at boosting its exporting activity.

    The company faced “downward pressure in the domestic market,” prompting a closer look at exporting opportunities, said Roxanne Baumann, director of global engagement for the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

    The Wagner Companies operates a plant on Milwaukee’s northwest side, which primarily manufactures handrail components and systems.

    “My great great-grandfather was a metal worker, my grandfather was a metal worker and my father was a metal worker. I guess rust is in my blood,” said Robert Wagner, chief executive officer of The Wagner Companies.

    In an effort to develop a more defined exporting strategy, Wagner became part of the first class of ExporTech™, a program offered by the WMEP.

    Prior to its participation in ExporTech, Wagner’s exporting activity primarily focused on Canada and England. Now, the company is shipping products to countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

    “We never thought they’d be viable for us,” said Richard Kettler, Wagner president. “The big deal is to go and engage the global marketplace.”

    ExporTech™ consists of three intense sessions scheduled one month apart. Coaching and assistance are provided between the sessions.

    Wisconsin companies with exporting strategies in place have been taking advantage of the explosive growth seen in other parts of the world. Today, 95 percent of consumers are outside the United States and small to midsize Wisconsin manufacturers are profiting, or have the ability to profit, from this global phenomenon.

    Successful companies are tapping into new markets with a customized exporting strategy, a benefit derived from participation in the ExporTech program, in which the WMEP first became involved in 2009. Companies will target two or three countries that have the greatest revenue potential and least risk when it comes to implementing or expanding an exporting strategy.

    ExporTech brings together as many as eight non-competing firms to create an exporting strategy.

    “They become a set of resources to each other,” Baumann said.

    Graduates of ExporTech have achieved sales increases averaging $900,000 within six to nine months after completing the program and developing a customized, action-oriented expansion strategy.

    The Wagner Companies has been on an exporting journey over the past four years that has generated increased revenue for the business as a result of expanding its overseas markets, Baumann said.

    “We’re very proud of what they’ve done and very excited to see where they are going,” she said.

    The expanding global strategy involves more than the top-level executives at Wagner Cos., Baumann said.

    “Really driving the strategy down is part of the fabric of the company,” she said. “When you do that it’s not just the CEO’s pet project. It becomes something everyone in the company is trying to look forward to.”

    The growing middle class in countries around the world has created a viable business opportunity for The Wagner Companies and other manufacturers, Kettler said.

    “The middle class in the rest of the world has developed tremendously over the last 20 years,” he said. “There’s way more out there than there is here. The opportunity to serve new markets is phenomenal.”

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ExporTech™

WMEP

ExporTech™ from WMEP

ExporTech is a three-session training program that helps small to midsize manufacturers rapidly develop and execute a successful export strategy.

A growing number of small to midsize manufacturers have developed an export strategy…


+ More

ExporTech™ from WMEP

ExporTech is a three-session training program that helps small to midsize manufacturers rapidly develop and execute a successful export strategy.

A growing number of small to midsize manufacturers have developed an export strategy and are driving growth from its successful execution. ExporTech™ is a proven method to develop or expand an export program. It offers:

- Targeted training focused on your company’s specific needs
- Individual support provided by a team of export specialists
- Designed to increase speed-to-market

Contact Roxanne Baumann at WMEP for more information baumann@wmep.org

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