Exporter cruising to success

SAILING a catamaran along America’s east coast is a dream job for most people. For Brent Vaughan, sales and marketing manager with Seawind Catamarans, it is all part of a working day, putting the company’s boats on show for the US market.

SAILING a catamaran along America’s east coast is a dream job for most people. For Brent Vaughan, sales and marketing manager with Seawind Catamarans, it is all part of a working day, putting the company’s boats on show for the US market.

“As part of our major USA promotion for 2007, we exhibited both our Seawind 1160 and Seawind 1000XL catamarans at the Newport International Boat Show and at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, the largest sail boat show in America. Then we cruised our boats to the Multihull demo day, further down into Chesapeake Bay,” Vaughan told Manufacturers Monthly.

Ecstatic about the sales generated, Vaughan said, “We took four orders at the Annapolis Show and have received at least two more since returning home.” Considering that the 1000XL sells for $US 266,000 and the 1160 for $US 440,000, it is a great start to the 2007 promotion and the company’s best ever export promotional trip.

Wollongong based Seawind Catamarans is Australia’s largest manufacturer of cruising catamarans and has been promoting its boats to the US for the past five years. This year, Seawind’s exports sales will be around $5m of the total $18m annual turnover.

According to Seawind’s MD, Richard Ward much of the company’s success comes from its heavy investment in research and development. “This has resulted in really excellent design, innovative and exciting new products.”

This has certainly paid off, as Seawind won the prestigious USA Cruising World Most Innovative Sailboat Award this year.

“We make a huge effort to promote our catamarans to the international market. Seawind attends around 15 overseas boat shows per year and exhibit in America, Asia and NZ, plus at Australian shows. The company has received Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants several times to offset some of the overseas promotion costs.”

Before Seawind exhibited in China, Ward went there to investigate the market and had meetings with potential buyers. Austrade’s China staff assisted Seawind with initial negotiations, interpreters and exhibiting at the Chinese Boat shows.

“We work in conjunction with Austrade in new export markets, often exhibiting at trade shows, as a group with other Australian sail boat companies and our industry association. You need to be culturally sensitive and polite in the Asian market, but be yourself,” advised Ward.

Extra production

Expanding production facilities to cope with increased product demand from global importers is a sure sign of success for Australian exporter ANCA.

The company recently invested $5m in its Melbourne plant to expand production and help meet its rising export demand. The precision tool and cutter grinder manufacturer’s expansion includes a new automated flexible manufacturing system for lights out operation.

ANCA also set up a manufacturing plant in Thailand in 2005, and an explosion in orders has meant this facility will be further expanded this year at a cost of $2m.

According to ANCA’s international marketing manager, Duncan Thompson, the company has been experiencing double digit growth over the last four years and last year experienced a 30% surge in order intake.

“The Thailand operation is part of a strategic plan that has allowed ANCA to continue to increase production of finished machines in Australia, to satisfy a growing global need.”

“The facility in Thailand is manufacturing and exporting fully-wired electrical cabinets and canopies to Australia for the high tech grinding machines that ANCA builds in Melbourne,” Thompson told Manufacturers Monthly.

“Loader assemblies are now coming out of Thailand and from next year, whole machine assemblies will be produced there. The Thailand Board of Investment helped us set up and provided tax concessions for employing local Thai workers.”

Thompson said ANCA recorded $100m in sales last year, of which 98% of sales are generated from the export market. The company has branches in North America, Brazil, UK, Germany, China and Japan with dealer networks in at least 35 countries. ANCA’s global workforce has also expanded to meet export orders with 280 employees in Australia and 100 internationally, including 20 at the Thailand plant.

“Our top export destination is the US with China close behind. Emerging markets such as India, Russia, Brazil and Turkey, to name just a few, are providing many new opportunities,” said Thompson, who worked establishing ANCA’s Japanese branch for three years.

“The major advantage of exporting is market diversification. As a manufacturer, if your only market is Australia, then sales are limited, particularly if there is a market downturn.

“If you are exporting globally, then your risk is spread. So with low sales in one country, you have the other markets to win sales from,” Thompson said.

Ward advises manufacturers to be very specific of their market destination. “We concentrate on the US and are now putting a considerable effort into Asia.

“If you are successful in Australia, have the confidence that you will be successful overseas too,” Ward said.

For more exporting information go to:

www.austrade.gov.au/EventViewUpcoming.aspx?TYP=274&StyleFolder=1420 for export market development export grants coaching sessions;

www.austrade.gov.au/EventViewUpcoming.aspx?TYP=225&StyleFolder=1417 for trade exhibitions, seminars and missions;

www.austrade.gov.au/country/default.aspx for export markets and country profiles; and

www.efic.gov.au for exporting finance.

Access more articles about ANCA and Seawind Catamarans by clicking on the links below:

ANCA – click here