Ross Higgs, Wire Belt Company, Export Champion Interview | CommonwealthFirst | World Champion in SME Support

Ross Higgs, Wire Belt Company, Export Champion Interview

Ross Higgs, Wire Belt Company

Sales and Marketing Manager

Why is Wire Belt successful in export?
Wire Belt is successful in export by concentrating on the key target markets (not a scattergun approach), recognising that entering and building a market takes effort, time (1-2 years) and use of the correct resources. Once we have identified a potential distributor working with them on a trial base (1 year) to see if they and Wire Belt are good fit.

The other important element of building a successful distributor is creating a jointly agreed business plan, product training, customer visits, clear understanding of the USP’s of the products and services, industry sector knowledge and commercial support with transnational and national groups and lastly understanding of the importance of customer service.

What markets have been recently successful and why?
Turkey has been seen by Wire Belt as a very strong market for our products, however the current distributor has not been performing in line with the known growth and market trends.

Wire Belt formally cancelled its distributor contract (we use the ICC contract) and have now appointed after further research of the market potential three distributors, these are focussed on three different channels.

How did the idea for your business come about?
Through the manufacture of chocolate enrobing equipment and supplying the conveyor belts that are used in that process, Wire Belt has grown and expended currently supply conveyor belting to a number of industries in addition to the Food and beverage sector, Automotive, engineering, environmental, energy, electronics, and pharmaceutical amongst others.

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
Understanding of opportunities available and hurdles to overcome in entering and developing targeted export markets. Not wasting a lot of time on activity what will not generate the objectives set.

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?
Identifying and concentrating on selected export markets, delivering jointly agreed business plans, supporting our distributors with marketing, technical, training and customer service support. Developing open markets into focussed distributor lead countries.

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
DIT and our expert adviser Richard Bond. We believe that there are a number of areas where the expertise of the CommonwealthFirst can be harnessed by us to assist, support, and guide our growth which will be built on our export business. With limited resource, help in targeting specific markets and sectors can bring big rewards.

What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
A better understanding of opportunities available and hurdles to overcome, through to practical in-country knowledge and connections to develop routes to market.

Where would you like your business to be in 5 years time?
Have a successful, profitable and business where staff feel part of the Wire Belt family and export sales and profit to account for over 90% of company sales (currently 60%).


View Wire Belt Company’s CWF Profile

This interview was conducted as part of the CommonwealthFirst Export Champion interview series. Apply now to become an Export Champion.


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