Around the world, manufacturing enterprises are under enormous pressure to automate and organize production operations for maximum cost-efficiency. Many are actively investing in new machines and technologies. Savvy enterprises across the globe are building new factories and equipping them with the latest smart machines to improve production lines and enhance fuel and electric capacity. It is vitally important that the U.S. take advantage of this global trend.
Manufacturing enterprises around the globe are also focused on how to secure competitive differentiation. By strategically installing smart machines and innovative industrial automation solutions, manufacturers the world over realize they can stay ahead of the curve.
The need for smart machines continues to span all global industries as well. Within the range of industries — aerospace, automotive, medical, mechanical, food and beverage — manufacturers look to wisely invest in the latest equipment and systems to improve production, enhance their competitive standing and attract new business.
I expect global demand for new machines will continue to grow throughout 2013. However, because of modest growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector, Hannover Fairs USA is making it a goal to educate U.S. machine builders about marketing and sales opportunities outside of the U.S. The BRICs and other emerging countries should be on the top of your watch list. Many manufacturing enterprises in these regions are looking to streamline production, and reduce and control costs, and they are upgrading and retrofitting their existing production operations.
What counts now more than ever to the global manufacturing community is innovation in the machine, the components, the production process and the services involved. Aspects like communication between and networking of machines and lines, new materials, flexibility, quality, innovative production concepts, and much, much more play an important role. U.S. builders of smart machines that can capture operational data and unite information across all machine tools and systems will redefine the future of the manufacturing enterprise.
Every year during Hannover Messe, we talk to countries that look to U.S. machine builders for the latest in innovation. They recognize that the U.S. is developing machines that are on the cutting edge of the integrated industry trend, and that U.S innovations are addressing critical manufacturing issues and requirements proactively. By targeting these global manufacturing enterprises, you will enhance your exports around the world.
If you are new to exporting or want to broaden your client base to more industries in locations around the world, there are a number of organizations in the U.S. that can help you target potential customers and distribution channels. The first place to start is to contact your state economic development organization. Many states, along with the U.S. Department of Commerce, offer export consulting programs. These programs will help you uncover new markets to explore — and give you a first-hand look at the strategies of your international competitors.
State economic development agencies can help you take advantage of the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program, designed to help small companies increase export of their products by providing funds to defray the cost. These funds are available for a number of different services, including website translation services, development of marketing material, and international tradeshows. The program is administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and it is available for any company that qualifies as a small business. A complete list of criteria can be found on the SBA website, but in general if your firm is privately held with less than 500 employees, then you most likely will qualify for the STEP program.
If your products are compelling and priced effectively, it is easier to export now than ever before. So it is definitely time to get to know your international sales targets.