SCAN­NING THE WORLD WITH SUC­CESS

LOADSCAN’S CAREY WEST SHARES HIS EX­PORT STORY WITH CATHER­INE BEARD. TAR­GETED TRADE SHOWS HAVE BEEN ONE MA­JOR KEY TO SUC­CESS.

NZ Business - - THE EXPORTER PAGES -

De­vel­oped by his fa­ther in 1998 to solve the prob­lem of ac­cu­rately count­ing truck­loads of ma­te­ri­als, Carey West is now tak­ing Loadscan all over the world.

Carey used to work in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try in Hamil­ton while his Dad was de­vel­op­ing the orig­i­nal scan­ning ma­chine. He was per­fectly po­si­tioned to see what im­prove­ments could be made to the prod­uct.

In 2006 his fa­ther em­ployed the en­gi­neer who helped de­velop the orig­i­nal prod­uct and they con­tin­ued re­fin­ing it and work­ing to­wards trade ap­proval in Aus­tralia, which was gained in 2010.

Carey took over the busi­ness in 2011 after his fa­ther passed away. He in­vested his own money to re­launch and re­brand it in De­cem­ber 2012, em­ploy­ing ex­tra staff, in­clud­ing a sales­per­son.

“It’s quite hard to sell the prod­uct as it looks just like a yel­low lamp post!” says Carey, as he de­scribes how Loadscan works. “It uses laser tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate 3D pro­files of the truck bin as the ve­hi­cle drives un­der it. It scans the load and ac­cu­rately mea­sures the vol­ume of ma­te­rial in the bin, and pro­duces ad­di­tional data for the cus­tomer.

“Sales were slow to start with and I had my back against the wall on a few oc­ca­sions. But we got there.

“We’ve con­tin­ued to de­velop the prod­uct and used NZTE for men­tor­ing and some R&D. But a lot of it’s been driven by us go­ing into the mar­ket and putting our­selves out there.”

When Carey took over the busi­ness there were Loadscan units in New Zealand, Aus­tralia, two in Tahiti and just a few in the US.

To­day Loadscan has ex­ports to Canada, Mex­ico, Mon­go­lia, the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, Rus­sia, Sene­gal, Zam­bia, Switzer­land, Ger­many, the Philip­pines and In­done­sia. Carey credits their web­site with get­ting into most of those mar­kets. “Also, every Jan­uary we at­tend the US Com­post Coun­cil an­nual con­fer­ence and trade show where there’s a live demo day. We get a lot of sales through that show in the US com­post and mulch mar­ket. Last year we bit the bul­let and went to Mine Expo in Las Ve­gas too – that re­ally ce­mented us in the global min­ing mar­ket.”

Carey used a clever tac­tic to break into the Aus­tralian min­ing mar­ket and prove the value of his prod­uct.

“I got a unit into an Aus­tralian mine by giv­ing them a cheap deal; in re­turn I had ac­cess to their data, and I could take pho­tos and get a case study to use for mar­ket­ing.

“They were un­der­load­ing their trucks by nine per­cent, but be­cause they could ed­u­cate their op­er­a­tors to load cor­rectly us­ing a 3D vis­ual of the load, they were able to gain that nine per­cent back, which gave them an ex­tra US$430,000 per month.

“This gave me a com­pelling case for why mines should use our prod­uct. We were able to use it for mar­ket­ing around the world – in­clud­ing Mine Expo, where we in­vested in a full page ad and emailed the del­e­gates be­fore­hand, which got a great suc­cess rate.”

CAREY’S TOP TIPS

Carey’s ad­vice for fledg­ling ex­porters is to iden­tify the mar­ket you want to be in and go and chase it.

“You’re prob­a­bly not go­ing to like it, but you’re go­ing to have to go to a trade show. They’re ex­pen­sive, so re­search the right one where you’ll find the right peo­ple for your busi­ness.

“Un­der­stand what ben­e­fits you can pro­vide to each cus­tomer in each in­dus­try. Ask your­self what is the ben­e­fit you’re pro­vid­ing; what’s the value your prod­uct is go­ing to give them? “Get­ting that message to them in your mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial is im­por­tant be­cause they are all fo­cused on ROI.

“Get across a lot of plat­forms, and have a re­ally sharp web­site with good SEO (search en­gine optimisation) and linked to so­cial me­dia. You’ve got to cre­ate that on­line pres­ence.

“I em­ployed a spe­cial­ist com­pany to do this for us and we’re now in the top of Google searches.

“As well as that on­line pres­ence, you need a per­son on the ground to cre­ate re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers. The sales process can be quite long – some­times up to two years.

“One thing I found out early on is that by get­ting on a plane and vis­it­ing these guys, and show­ing that you’re real and you’re se­ri­ous, goes a long way.”

CATHER­INE BEARD IS EX­EC­U­TIVE DI­REC­TOR OF EXPORTNZ, WHICH AS­SISTS EX­PORTERS THROUGH­OUT NEW ZEALAND. WWW.EXPORTNZ.ORG.NZ.

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