From cable cleats to prams, no matter what your product or service, or the progress you have already made on your journey into Latin America, we can support you. Here are some examples of how we have worked with our clients, including their thoughts about the experience:
Case Study: Ellis Patents
Ellis Patents is a Yorkshire-based world leader in the design and manufacture of cable cleats with a proud 50 year history.
The company already has distributors in place to sell its products across much of the world and Tony Conroy, Export Sales Director, had identified Latin America as a key area in the company’s export strategy. He came to Sunny Sky Solutions because he needed help to find out more about the region and its potential for Ellis Patents.
Over a three month period, we were able to carry out market research and produce a report for eight countries.
Tony said: “We chose Sunny Sky Solutions because of Gabriela’s enthusiastic and proactive approach. Everything that was produced – from the initial proposal through to the final report – was excellent and we would recommend Sunny Sky Solutions without hesitation. We are extremely impressed with how they approached this project, their attention to detail and how clearly they understood our products and requirements.”
The next stage of the project was to shortlist potential distributors. Over five months, Gabriela identified and contacted nearly 50 distributors across five countries, undertaking over 200 phone calls. Apart from introducing the products and the new technology solution to them, Gabriela developed professional relationships with decision-makers and looked after other aspects of Ellis Patents’ international expansion including managing the translation of marketing materials, developing an information pack for potential distributors and supporting the Ellis Patents’ team in organising samples and catalogues to send out. She also acted as a facilitator of crucially important telephone conferences between the potential distributors and Ellis Patents management, providing not only language support, but also an additional useful and culturally-sensitive perspective.
The Export Sales Director from Ellis Patents travelled to the target countries with the support of Sunny Sky Solutions both at the preparation phase and during the actual visits. The detailed and thorough preliminary work in the form of market research and distributor recruitment meant that Ellis Patents was much better equipped for the crucial stage of selecting key distributors and starting to work with them, which maximised the time spent in market.
Tony Conroy sums up: “It has been a pleasure working with Gabriela, our MD was impressed by her ‘stunning’ work. We now look forward to working with Sunny Sky Solutions in the next phase of our expansion into Latin America. Watch this space!”
(Update June 2017: we have been working with Ellis Patents for nearly 5 years – check out Tony’s thoughts on the company’s Latin American export experience here)
Case Study: Farécla
Farécla, established in England in 1934, is a world leader in polishing compounds, providing world class surface finishing solutions in various sectors including automotive. Farécla manufactures all its products under its own formulae in the UK. Farécla products are sold in over 120 countries, and the export sales of this family-owned company represent 80% of overall turnover.
The company has been selling into Latin American countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay; after a management overhaul in 2012 it decided to restructure and refocus its international presence.
Mirjana Prokic, International Market Development Director at Farécla, approached Sunny Sky Solutions to support the company in recruiting distributors in Chile, Peru and Colombia. We undertook an extensive three month search and selection process under Farécla’s brief to identify the best distributors in each market and gauge their interest in working with this world-class manufacturer. During the process, we also gathered information about the market, such as information on paint companies for strategic alliances, retailers and prices.
As an experienced Director, Mirjana completely understood that visiting these markets herself was key to choosing the right partner and to accessing market information that no distant market research can ever achieve. So, given our involvement with the company and our understanding of their products, technology, focus and needs, Mirjana asked Gabriela Castro-Fontoura, Sunny Sky Solutions Director, to accompany her during a six day market visit to Chile, Peru and Colombia, where they had over ten meetings in three cities, overcoming distances, language, mind-blowing traffic, even a major strike and a brief passage through hospital…!
The visit went according to plan (100% of meetings achieved, which is rare in Latin America) and we took care of everything so that the client only had to focus on their business; we dealt with everything from how to get from A to B to recommending hotels, restaurants and helping overcome language barriers as needed.
“I cannot stress enough how impressed I am with Gabriela’s work,” says Mirjana. “The quality of her work was beyond outstanding and the support of her team second-to-none. Gabriela understood exactly what we wanted to achieve and how, what kind of distributor we were after, and how we do business. Our MD was impressed, too, right from the start. Initially, what impressed us was the thoroughness of the distributor recruitment work, but then during our trip I really understood what Gabriela really means to our business: a critical partner who adds valuable insights and opinions, asking pertinent questions and always staying a step ahead to ensure that my trip was worth it. She wasn’t deterred by any obstacles, kept the energy levels up and even managed to get me into a trade show after the doors closed! Gabriela really understands Latin America and her team were supportive all the way. I really look forward to working with her again, and would recommend her services to any company serious about succeeding in Latin America.”
Case Study: Foster and Freeman
Foster and Freeman is a UK designer and manufacturer of market-leading systems for the examination of questioned documents, latent fingerprints, trace evidence and shoe prints. Established in 1978, the Evesham-based company exports to over 155 countries worldwide, including most of Latin America.
When Richard Evans, International Sales Manager at Foster and Freeman, identified a need for a new distributor in Bolivia, he got in touch with Gabriela Castro-Fontoura, Director at Sunny Sky Solutions, introduced by local international trade advisor Gail Dendy de Santos from DiT (Department for International Trade)/Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.
We are used to working with niche manufacturers, and Richard was very clear about exactly what he wanted from a new long-term distributor in Bolivia. We discussed the ideal distributor profile, including geographical presence, industries covered, client portfolio, technical capability and language proficiency. Making use of our professional regional networks, research capacity and access to trade data, we identified an initial shortlist of distributors, which Richard helped narrow. We then approached each company to gauge their interest in working with Foster and Freeman and we also interviewed their decision makers, to ensure that our client was given as much information as possible to shortlist the handful of distributors they would interview face-to-face.
Richard, who is used to doing business across Latin America, set out a date to visit Bolivia and interview every distributor early on, which really helps with distributor recruitment because it signals real commitment and pushes distributors to make a decision.
Richard explains how we added value to his work: “Gabriela understood my brief perfectly, and her initial shortlist was impressive; it showed they were really paying attention to our needs. Her team took the time to interview each potential distributor to filter out the ones that weren’t right so that I could choose from the very best. I am a busy international sales manager working across the globe and I just wouldn’t have had the time to do this myself. I know this takes many, many calls and an enormous amount of skill and perseverance. Getting Sunny Sky Solutions involved saved me days of analysing data and information to find potential partners, and of trying to get through to the right people. Their involvement meant that I could hit the ground running and that I can now focus on developing the Bolivian market with our new partner. I was impressed with the quality and the thoroughness of the work, the constant communication and the real understanding of the region. I think Sunny Sky Solutions can be a very valuable consultancy for UK companies wanting to do business in Latin America”.
Case Study: Royston Ltd (enginei)
“Back in 2012/2013, we commissioned Sunny Sky Solutions to undertake research into key markets in Latin America for our maritime engineering company. We were pleased with the report and kept in touch with Gabriela when she moved back to Uruguay. When it was time to take all this intelligence one step further, we got in touch with Gabriela again, this time with the specific purpose of generating leads (for potential partners and distributors) across Latin America that our team in the UK could follow up on. Gabriela managed to research the right contacts, communicating our offering clearly and convincingly to the decision-makers. Gabriela was also a valuable resource in terms of guiding us on cultural business matters. As a result of her work, we now have advanced conversations with potential clients and have appointed distributors in some key markets such as Colombia. Having someone local who speaks the language, understands how business is done, has a strong network and the right tools to identify leads, and has the dedication to follow them up has been of great value to us, and we look forward to working with Gabriela on the next stage of this project.”
Sarah Wade, Commercial Director, Royston Ltd.
Case Study: Meech International
Founded in 1907, Meech International is today one of the world’s leading manufacturers of static control, air technology and web cleaning systems, both contact and non contact. The company’s headquarters is located in Oxfordshire, UK, with subsidiaries in the USA, Belgium, China, Hungary and India plus distributors in a further 45 countries. Meech products are used in a vast range of industries from aerospace, automotive and chemicals to pharmaceutical, food, textiles and graphic arts – the latter in every sector from digital to web offset.
The company has twice won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade and is an active exporter worldwide. Meech International takes its expansion very seriously and proactively, which is one of the reasons why they contacted Sunny Sky Solutions: to find out what we could do for them in Latin America. Meech already had distributors established in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, and could see the potential in other countries in the region. Meech CEO, Chris Francis, spotted us on LinkedIn and got the ball rolling.
Following a meeting with Stewart Gordon-Smith, Meech’s Export Sales Engineer in Chile in early 2013, we started working on two projects for the company. The first one, partially subsidised by UKTI’s EMRS Export Marketing Research Scheme consisted of thorough market research into Chile, Peru and Colombia. The second project was an in-depth distributor recruitment exercise for all three countries. We met again at FISPAL in Sao Paulo to refine the brief and gain a firmer understanding of our client’s needs.
Following a successful completion of the project, Stewart said: “The quality of Sunny Sky Solutions’ output was impressive and exceeded our expectations. Gabriela worked hard to understand our business and what we were looking for. She was always flexible and approachable, always willing to go the extra mile for us.
“If you are looking to expand your business into Latin America, I would highly recommend your investment in a report by Sunny Sky Solutions. It will save you time and money, providing you with the tools to expand your business efficiently.”
Stewart has now met all the distributors shortlisted in our report and was impressed with the quality of the contacts developed. He is in the process of appointing distributors for all three countries researched. We very much look forward to continuing to work with Meech International during future stages of their Latin American expansion.
Case Study: PBS International
PBS International, a Yorkshire-based manufacturer and world leader in pollination control, were introduced to Sunny Sky Solutions through a recommendation from Ellis Patents Ltd (see above), another long-term client.
PBS International has been trading with Latin America for a while, including Ecuador. They commissioned Sunny Sky Solutions to look into the Ecuadorean market in order to understand it better, strengthen links with current clients, and find a distributor/partner. They lacked the in-house expertise and language skills to carry out this research themselves, and were really impressed by what Ellis Patents Ltd. had to say about us.
The research we undertook focused on two areas. Firstly, identifying, approaching and gathering information about potential distributors. Secondly, we concentrated on working out the size of the market, how many potential buyers there were, and identifying the key players in the market. We began with existing clients; the mission was to find out more about them (why they had bought their products in the past, how they were making purchasing decisions now, where they saw their business going, how PBS international could serve them better, and so on). With potential clients, it was a question of introducing the brand and the products.
The main objective of this research was to prepare for a market visit by PBS International to both meet current and potential clients in Ecuador, and to assess potential distributors. PBS decided that, given our level of involvement with the project, and our business, language and cultural ability, there would be great value in Gabriela, our director, accompanying them during this visit. Using her extensive persuasion, communication and negotiation skills, Gabriela arranged a busy and thorough schedule, accompanying Sharon Ratcliffe, PBS Commercial Manager, to every meeting in what was a very productive market visit for the company; PBS International were able to attend 100% of planned visits. Gabriela’s role during the market visits went beyond translating; she provided cultural cues, information, and a second pair of eyes at this stage, thanks to the relationships she had formed with some key players during the research stages.
Sharon summarises our contribution to PBS: “Although we had been working with Ecuador for a number of years, we found the market information that Gabriela provided both very thorough and relevant. Gabriela quickly got to grips with what can be very technical aspects of the business, and proved to be very personable and professional. She was great at communicating with us during the whole project and very flexible to adapt to our needs. As an added bonus, her persuasive intervention resulted in a sale materialising that had come to a standstill – so we were delighted! We intend to undertake future market research work in Latin America, and we would not hesitate to work with Gabriela again.”.
(June 2017 update: we worked with PBS again on a research trip led by Hannah Senior, MD, pictured above, to Ecuador and Colombia and since then Gabriela has become PBS’s Non-Exec Advisor for Latin America)
Case Study: Dart Sensors
Exeter-based Dart Sensors Ltd is the world’s biggest supplier of alcohol fuel cell type sensors/sensor components such as those found in breathalysers. The company has been exporting throughout the world and supplying manufacturers from more than 25 countries worldwide. Most recently, Dr Walter King, Dart Sensors’ Managing Director, was keen to make the most out of the vast market in Latin America. And he didn’t start small: the company’s first two targets were Argentina and Brazil.
Argentina and Brazil are both internationally renowned for their protectionist measures, and Dr King saw that moving fast and thinking laterally, which SMEs are so capable of doing , were going to be key to success. Dart Sensors commissioned Sunny Sky Solutions to undertake some basic market research and to explore possibilities for partnership with manufacturers and distributors in Argentina, Brazil and the wider region.
Within five months of the start of this two-year project, Dr King arranged visits with two potential manufacturing partners in Brazil and is developing sales channels across South America as Dart Sensors is also receiving enquiries from neighbouring countries. He is also maximising the use of existing manufacturers in China to supply South America.
This project consisted of desk-based research to show our client the macroeconomic context of both Argentina and Brazil, the market for their products including regulations and the key players operating in terms of manufacturers (regional and foreign) and distributors. We undertook a large number of telephone interviews to thoroughly research key topics such as import duty barriers and market size. We gauged the interest of different partners in working with Dart Sensors and we provided an assessment of risks versus opportunities.
Dr King summarised the value of our work for Dart Sensors: “We were all impressed with the thoroughness of Sunny Sky Solutions’ report, which has given us a valuable survey of the market conditions in our target countries, and clear directions on how to proceed. The work provided represented excellent value-for-money and Gabriela’s regular communication was outstanding and reassuring, way beyond what was required.”
To find out what we can do for you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take it from there.
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