Linesight Maximises Data Centre Opportunity in the Netherlands

“We had started doing a lot of data centre projects for US multinationals in Ireland so we decided to look at the Netherlands as Amsterdam is a hub of activity for data centres.” – Paul Butler, director, Linesight

 

 

 

Key Takeouts:

  • Enterprise Ireland trade missions and market introductions a key success factor.
  • Excellence in service and personnel a key differentiator and competitive advantage.
  • Dutch data centre business a bridgehead for growing other sectors and European markets.

Case Study: Linesight

Five years ago Dublin-headquartered firm Linesight decided to go on fact-finding missions to the Netherlands with the help of Enterprise Ireland. It was a move which has led to around 70% growth in its fee base in that market since then and an increase in its team based there from four to 30 people.

Linesight provides professional services and strategic support to the global construction industry. Projects span a range of industry sectors including commercial, data centres, life sciences, healthcare, transportation and infrastructure and retail.

Originally established in 1974 as Bruce Shaw, Linesight rebranded in 2016 with a view to having a name that could be owned in all markets. The name Linesight was inspired by the company having its clients’ goals in their direct line of sight from initial concept through to successful project completion.

With staff located across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and North America, Linesight increased its global headcount by 135 and recorded turnover of about €60m for the group in 2016. It now has 17 offices around the world and has delivered projects in 40 countries.

Linesight’s growth in the first 30 years or so was mainly focused on Ireland and the UK where it established a number of offices. When the recession hit in 2008, it had built up a 25% market share in the domestic market for professional services to the construction industry. It had also generated a limited amount of international business.

The downturn in construction at home prompted the company to look at international markets more keenly and the Benelux region – and the Netherlands in particular – seemed a promising area to focus on. It had worked on five or six small projects there, but further to building up expertise and skills in data centre projects it saw an opportunity.

“We had started doing a lot of data centre projects for US multinationals in Ireland so we decided to look at the Netherlands as Amsterdam is a hub of activity for data centres,” says Linesight director Paul Butler.

“In addition, a lot of pharmaceutical multinationals were starting to set up subsidiary plants in the Benelux region. We recognised that we had the relevant in-house expertise and key staff delivering professional services in these areas. We wanted to retain that staff and the Netherlands was of particular interest to us.”

 

Linesights’s Partnership with Enterprise Ireland:

  • Attended a series of Enterprise Ireland workshops on data centres.
  • Benefitted from introductions to the market/local contractors organised by Enterprise Ireland.
  • Participated in Taoiseach’s trade mission to the Netherlands and Germany.

To see how Enterprise Ireland has enabled Linesight’s success, click here.

Competitive advantage through people

Over the years Linesight had established a partnership approach with clients based on consistency and clarity, and it has a proven track record in terms of quality and timely delivery of projects. This stood to the company when it came to building business in the Netherlands.

“For some of our clients developing projects in the Dutch market we were preferred bidders and travelled there with them as part of their team, offering the same service as we had in the Irish market,” Butler explains.

“Other projects involved competitive bidding as companies may have had their own in-house auditing functions – but we were also very competitive in winning that work.”

Some multinational clients even requested that certain individuals from Linesight work on projects with them in the Netherlands, Butler adds, “Our people are key in terms of generating repeat business. Senior project managers see projects through from cradle to grave and directors oversee projects on a 24/7 basis. The personal relationships built up over time have been very important.”

The Netherlands has been a relatively easy market for Linesight to enter as English is widely spoken and its framework in terms of contracting is similar to Ireland’s. “Being fluent contractually is a different thing than being able to speak a language. In other European countries language can be a barrier in this respect. We demand that contractors deal with us in English in the Netherlands,” says Butler.

That being said, once Linesight started to focus on the Dutch market, it invested a lot of time in ensuring it had the right contractors and partners to deliver projects to the standard required. It also had to get to grips with different regulations in relation to construction, planning codes and timeframes.

“Even within the Netherlands different regions are more regulated in terms of construction. For example, near the German border there is still a lot of heavy industry, which contrasts with the Amsterdam area,” says Butler.

“We had to stretch our web of contractors beyond the Amsterdam area. Now we have a high level of tried and trusted partners in the Netherlands that we know will deliver for us.”

Now that Linesight is established in the Dutch market it is looking at new opportunities within its existing client base, such as in the retail and pharmaceutical sectors. It also wants to take advantage of some new areas, in particular in relation to the local supply chain and newly built logistics centres.

“There are some very good companies competing with us for business. What differentiates us, in addition to our people, is the fact that we are an all-in company that can provide cost management, project management and risk assessment. This is vital for a lot of big multinationals,” notes Butler.

“A significant proportion of our people have backgrounds in civil, electrical or mechanical engineering – so our service is not just about number crunching, they can understand the design. They can go through drawings with clients in great detail and are fluent in engineering language.”

Gaining a foothold in the Netherlands has led to Linesight building business in Germany and Belgium. Once clients’ projects are completed in the Netherlands, it has extended its network to continue working with them in other locations.

“They want the consistent, clean approach of dealing with us, rather than having to educate a new local provider in their needs and ways. The flexibility of our people and operation has been key to our success.”

Top Tips for Exporting to Europe:

  • Be flexible and adapt to the needs of major multinational customers.
  • Build a strong local presence to really be successful in a market.
  • Harness the Irish mentality of ‘getting the job done’.

For more details, click here.

How PerfectCard Found the Perfect Incentive for Market Discovery

 “You can’t just go into a market the size of the UK believing you will do the same things you do in Ireland. We decided to target the reseller market for our incentive product in the UK. Going the reseller rather than the direct route will increase our reach greatly.”
Natasha Brasier, PerfectCard

Key Takeouts:

  • PerfectCard is a gifts and incentives tool for both customers and employees.
  • An Enterprise Ireland market research grant helped PerfectCard pick the right strategy for entering the UK, targeting resellers instead of a more direct approach.
  • They won a place on the Enterprise Ireland Innovation for Growth Programme, which grew their UK presence and led to two new partners.

Case Study: PerfectCard

Founded in 2006, PerfectCard has established itself as a leading gift and incentives brand, with its distinctive cards widely used by shopping centres and retailers around Ireland as a gifting solution. Over the past decade the company has expanded and developed its offering to include employee and customer incentive products and has just launched Pecan, a new employee expenses service aimed primarily at Small and Medium Enterprises.

The company has also been preparing the ground for significant growth in the UK market, principally in the incentives area. “We already have customers in the UK and are about to dedicate more resources to growing sales there”, explain PerfectCard business development manager, Natasha Brasier.

The acquisition of a Galway-based IT company some years ago played a critical role in this strategy. “The acquisition allowed us to introduce additional features and benefits”, says Brasier. “For example, customers using the cards to reward employees were able to load them onsite. The solution allowed us to start selling into the UK market. Our customers include a number of Irish- based companies with overseas offices that started using our solution in other markets.”

PerfectCard was the first company in its space to receive e-money authorisation from the Central Bank of Ireland, which is also facilitating its international growth.

Enterprise Ireland support has also been crucial, with the company participating in the Innovation for Growth Programme, while Brasier will shortly complete the Enterprise Ireland-sponsored international sales programme at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)

“A few years ago, we also received a market research grant to research the UK market and some great advice through Enterprise Ireland”, she adds. The grant helped the company to assess the best route to market to reach their target customers. The company subsequently developed a much more structured sales process and approach for the UK market.

“You can’t just go into a market the size of the UK believing you will do the same things you do in Ireland”, says Brasier. “We decided to target the reseller market for our incentive product in the UK. We have a few companies using the product there, but going the reseller rather than the direct route will increase our reach greatly.

“The response has been very good, and we have identified two potential partners to work with. They recognise the value of having a separate staff rewards card to pay bonuses or other incentives. It shows that a bit of thought went into it. If it gets paid through payroll it disappears, but if the cash is on a separate card, employees can spend it straightaway or use it to save up for holidays or other treats.”

The intention after that is to grow the business out. “Once customers start using our incentive card solution it will be relatively easy to cross-sell our other products, such as Pecan.”

The launch of the Pecan product in the Irish and UK markets is a particular area of focus currently.

“Pecan will give SMEs and their employees much greater control over expenses. The card can be used to pay for employee expenses and the company gets to view expenditure in real time. The software also allows employees to take pictures of receipts and upload them, thus making reporting much easier.”

Click here to learn more about Enterprise Ireland’s Diversification supports.

Innovation and Tradition Combine in Oakpark Foods Winning Formula

“We are now a key player in the UK market and have contracts with Morrisons, Aldi UK and others. We had to make a substantial investment in our factory, technology and management team to do it and it wouldn’t have been possible without Enterprise Ireland support.”
David Brett, Oakpark Foods

Key Takeouts:

  • Oakpark Foods availed of Enterprise Ireland’s food innovation supports to improve their packaging and develop new products.
  • It has enjoyed significant growth in recent years, largely driven by exports, but sees Brexit as a major issue.
  • The company now employs almost 100 people, with annual sales of just under €31 million.

Case Study: Oakpark Foods

Oakpark Foods has established itself as a leading bacon products supplier in the hugely competitive British retail market. “40% of our business is now in the UK,” says general manager David Brett. “We have been able to differentiate ourselves from our competitors there by using innovative packaging, clever new product development, and bespoke unique cures.”

The Cahir, County Tipperary-based company is part of the family-owned Brett Group, which has been supplying farm inputs in the region for almost 80 years. “We are now in the fourth generation,” he says. “The business dates back to the 1940s. Our core business is animal feed manufacturing. We sell dairy, pig and ruminant feed to famers around Leinster and Munster.”

The company acquired Oakpark Foods in the early 1990s. “Back then it was a small operation supplying local supermarkets and shops with bacon products. When we came on board we looked at how we could add value. After that, the opportunity came up to buy the nearby Sunglen Pig Farm which produces 800 pigs a week. Our mill in Callan in County Kilkenny manufactures the pig feed using a bespoke diet; this is then fed to our own pigs on our farm; and we produce top-quality consumer packs of bacon joints and rashers at Oakpark. This gives us unique seed to fork provenance.”

Oakpark has enjoyed significant growth in recent years, largely driven by exports, according to Brett.

“We are now a key player in the UK market and have contracts with Morrisons, Aldi UK and others,” he adds. “We had to make a substantial investment in our factory, technology and management team to do it and it wouldn’t have been possible without Enterprise Ireland support.”

The breakthrough into the UK was also facilitated by the growth of the discount chains in Ireland. “We supply both Aldi and Lidl here and they introduced us to the right people in the UK. That was a great help. But we also had to invest in a very significant R&D programme and we introduced a number of first-to-market products there. We used packaging technology to extend the shelf life of our products, we developed a new-style American streaky bacon product, and we also introduced 50 per cent fat-reduced lardons which appeal to increasingly health-conscious consumers.”

All of the R&D was carried out inhouse with Enterprise Ireland support. “It was a lot of hard work, but it had to be done. If we didn’t have a different story to tell we would have just been another bacon supplier.”

The company now employs almost 100 people, with annual sales of just under €31 million and is implementing a strategy to grow turnover by 33 per cent over the coming years. That strategy also takes Brexit into account.

“Brexit is a major issue for everyone involved in the food industry and we have to make our business as lean and efficient as possible in response,” he points out.

The bacon business will not suffer to the same extent as others, however, as Brett explains. “80% of the bacon sold in the UK is of EU origin and British people aren’t going to stop eating bacon overnight. The traditional bacon butty will remain a staple part of the diet. But Brexit is a serious issue nevertheless and we have done a lot of scenario planning. Selling into the UK will not be as simple as it is today. That’s a given.”

The company is not going to rely on a continuing taste for bacon in its key export market and is investing €5 million in a new facility in Clonmel with Enterprise Ireland support. The new manufacturing facility will produce a new range aimed at mainland Europe and further afield.

“It’s a completely new venture and will be up and running very shortly,” says Brett. “We are diversifying away from the UK market. The UK will remain important to us though and we are in there for the long haul. We have one of the most efficient slicing lines in these islands. That’s vitally important. In the end, it’s all about the price of a packet of rashers.”

Click here to learn more about Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation supports.

Broderick’s Bars: From One Kitchen to 30 countries

“We wanted to create something different in terms of its taste, its packaging, the branding and the format. We were aiming at export markets from the very beginning and we knew that we needed a great product if we were going to succeed.”
Barry Broderick, Co-Owner Broderick’s Bars

Key Takeouts:

  • R&D funding and Growth programmes allowed Brodericks to commit the time, people and finances to research projects.
  • Growth programmes offered by Enterprise Ireland taught them about best practice, scaling and growing exports.
  • Broderick’s range of cakes are now exported to 30 countries and available on many international airlines.

Case Study: Broderick’s Bars

The Broderick’s range of cake bars and mini-bars are now exported to 30 countries around the world and can be found on the menus of a number of leading international airlines, including American Atlantic and Delta Airlines. The company, which recently moved to a purpose-built manufacturing facility in Tallaght, employs 110 people.

This is just the start, according to co-owner Barry Broderick, who adds that innovation has been at the very heart of the business since it began life as Ina’s Handmade Foods in 1994.

“The business started out in my Mum’s kitchen when my brother Bernard and I were kids”, he says. “We got involved as unpaid labour back then and have been working in it ever since. Back then, we produced a range of cakes for coffee shops and the food service sector generally. We always used Belgian chocolate and butter, and saw the opportunity for a premium grab and go offer using those base ingredients. That’s where the idea came from initially.”

Barry and Bernard then set about developing Broderick’s Bars. “We wanted to create something different in terms of its taste, its packaging, the branding and the format. We were aiming at export markets from the very beginning and we knew that we needed a great product if we were going to succeed. You have to have a product that people are interested in and that they want to buy again. You need to have a USP, and innovation is so important to that. You can’t stand out from the crowd without it.”

He appreciates the support Enterprise Ireland has provided over the years. “Enterprise Ireland has been a very good partner”, he says. “They really try to help you to achieve your ambitions and are very good at helping you scale a business. They mentor you through the growing phase of the company. They help you put the structures in place to build the business. Their Management for Growth and Leadership 4 Growth programmes have also been really helpful. It’s really about bringing best practice to your business, so that you can scale your business and grow jobs, and grow exports.

“On the R&D side, it’s very good because it enables you to realise the importance of R&D and innovation”, he adds. “Exporting success requires a lot of innovation and we really wouldn’t have been able to do that without Enterprise Ireland assistance. It allowed us to commit the time, people and finances to research projects, which enabled us to do something different and stay relevant in the eyes of our customers.”

Innovation remains central to the company’s growth ambitions. The latest additions to the Broderick’s range are BC bars, a range of natural, healthy, protein bars. “A lot of research went into developing these bars, and that knowledge is now available to the food service side of the business as well.”

The Tallaght facility also has a dedicated gluten-free unit. This will play an important part in the company’s future growth plans. “We want to be more than just a brand, we want to be bring people an authentic experience through great-tasting innovative products.”

Learn more on how Enterprise Ireland focuses on innovation with its wide range of supports.

BFree Foods Pioneers Gluten Free Innovation to Drive Export Growth

“We started with two products and we now have 15. We are constantly working on our products to improve them. We are also working on ways to extend the shelf life of our products without sacrificing flavour – this is very important in markets such as Scandinavia.”
Alex Murphy, BFree Foods

Key Takeouts:

  • Enterprise Ireland’s food innovation supports helped BFree research an alternative to gluten in bread.
  • Research revealed a growing lifestyle market for gluten- and wheat-free bread products.
  • Their gluten-free wraps won several awards, and have a 10% share of the Australian wrap market.

Case Study: BFree Foods

Established in 2011 by Cuisine de France founder Ronan McNamee, BFree Foods has grown to take a significant slice of the domestic market in the “free-from” bread category, and has increased export sales rapidly in the US, the UK, Scandinavia and Australia.

The business has been built around research and innovation from the very start with the aim to be the best. “UCC has an incubator for the brewing and baking industries. We worked with PhD students there on our first product, a loaf of bread. The problem is that gluten does so much for bread – it is the scaffolding that gives it structure, taste and the crisp golden crust. Without it, the bread just falls apart and doesn’t taste very good. We had to solve that, and deliver something that gave us the edge versus the competition. We did a lot of market research at the same time.”

That research revealed a growing lifestyle market for gluten- and wheat-free bread products. “When we launched our first products it was very much with a healthy lifestyle message”, Murphy adds. “We assured consumers that we’ve done the research for them and have created a product that tastes great and is nutritionally good for you.”

Solving the gluten problem proved interesting. “We use various ingredients such as apples, potatoes, peas, sweet potato, even bamboo, to add flavour and replicate the gluten”, she says.

The company launched its first two products on the market in 2012 to a very positive response. “We were producing fresh, tasty and nutritious bread, not long-life products, which can often be full of preservatives.”

Listings in all the major multiples followed and then it was time to look further afield. “We always intended it to be an export product and our next move was into the UK”, Murphy explains. “Innovation is a big selling point there. There are so many people playing in the gluten-free market you have to be able to offer something different. We did some very, very basic consumer research among people with coeliac disease and wheat intolerance, and what they told us was they missed out on family meals; family members ate one thing and they had to eat something else.”

That led the company to develop gluten-free wraps, which tasted just as good and folded as well as the standard product. “Our wraps won several awards for quality and there was no other offer like this in that category and that got recognised among the UK multiples.”

So successful have the company’s wraps been that BFree now commands a 10% share of the total Australian wrap market – both standard and free-from.

Success in the US quickly followed, with Walmart, Costco and KROGER among BFree’s key customers. “We supply 5,500 outlets in the US and it is now our largest market.”

Innovation has been key to the company’s growth and success. “We started with two products and we now have 15”, Murphy points out. “We are constantly working on our products to improve them. We no longer use eggs as an ingredient and this has made our products suitable for vegans. We are also working on ways to extend the shelf life of our products without sacrificing flavour – this is very important in markets such as Scandinavia.”

This activity has been supported by Enterprise Ireland over the years.

“As a start-up, we worked with the universities and then we engaged with the fabulous team in Enterprise Ireland, who helped us with research, development and innovation as well as with expanding internationally. BFree now employs 40 people in Dublin and Enterprise Ireland also helped us establish an innovation hub here in Dublin, where we have four researchers working on new product development and innovation. We are now looking at extending into different categories as well and that will be very exciting.”

 

 

Learn how Enterprise Ireland invest in R&I with its innovation supports.

Movidius

“These connections are worth far more than any amount of money they can give you.”

David Maloney – CTO & Founder

Who

Movidius are a leading developer of high performance computer vision platforms with applications in drones, VR headsets and robotics.

How

Enterprise Ireland’s connections with universities enabled Movidius to access technologies that they needed, enabling their ability to expand to international markets.

Result

Movidius’s success in international markets led to the company being acquired by Intel in September 2016.

See How We Helped Movidius

How DEM Machines manufactured success in new markets.

“Our export sales have trebled over the past three years. We are now looking at opportunities in Canada, the US and Australia.”

– John McCann, Operations Manager

Key Takeouts:

  • DEM Machines provide software for real-time factory floor data, in addition to bespoke industrial weighing equipment.
  • After their domestic success, they now look to international markets for growth.
  • Their export sales have trebled with Enterprise Ireland support, and are now looking at entering North America and Australia.

Case Study: DEM Machines

DEM Machines has seen export sales triple and employment grow by 50% over the past three years, since accessing Enterprise Ireland market research supports. The company, which counts leading food companies such as Kerry Group, Kepak, AIBP and Glanbia among its domestic customers, initially focused on the UK for overseas expansion.

DEM Machines is a Kildare-based company that manufactures bespoke industrial weighing equipment and develops industrial software solutions for a range of customers, mainly in the food and meat processing sectors.

“There are two interlinked strands to the business”, explains operations manager John McCann.

“We are a software company. We provide industry-specific software solutions, based on the award-winning SAP Business One platform. We also manufacture and supply the hardware that the software runs on.”

“There is a lot going on in a food processing plant”, McCann notes.

“We offer a fully integrated factory solution that connects back-office financial processes with factory floor processes, such as barcode scanning, label printing, handheld devices, weighing scales and data capture devices. That gives managers access to real-time factory floor data, enabling them to make quicker, better decisions. The idea is to provide food processors with a one-stop shop for all production and financial processing needs.”

A decision to re-energise the business was made three years ago. “We saw an opportunity to develop new products and services for the markets we serve”, McCann says. “We got rid of a lot of older stuff and built new software on the SAP platform. That was when we re-engaged with Enterprise Ireland.”

The company’s domestic success meant that the Irish market now offered limited prospects for growth. “The domestic market will always be a certain size”, McCann continues. “While we count all the major players among our customers here, we know the Irish market inside out. It is growing but at a relatively low rate. We had to look beyond the domestic market if we wanted to grow the business. We had to find additional markets and that’s where the engagement with Enterprise Ireland came in. We had worked with them previously on other developments and wanted to talk to them about overseas growth.”

The company initially looked at the UK and, with Enterprise Ireland assistance, has enjoyed considerable success in the market. “Our export sales have trebled over the past three years. That’s still a small part of the business but all growth is being driven by international markets. We are now looking at opportunities in Canada, the US and Australia. They use the English language and are mature markets with similar food and meat processing sectors and standards to our own. It’s at an early stage for now but that’s where we see future growth coming from.”

Enterprise Ireland market research supports have proven very helpful in assessing the UK market. “Enterprise Ireland were of great assistance”, McCann says. “It’s not just a grant. We used the Market Research Centre in East Point extensively. The team are very skilled at market research and assisted us in identifying excellent quality market intelligence.”

“Getting the grant is straightforward”, he adds. “You submit your plans and do projections. The turnaround time is very quick. We understood what they wanted from us, and they understood what we wanted to do. It was a very good meeting of minds. I would absolutely recommend other companies with export growth ambitions to talk to Enterprise Ireland.”

Tricel

Commitment to France Pays Off for Tricel

“In France, we are a French company with French people on the ground and a nationwide French distribution network. We have a very responsive business set-up providing next day delivery once a product is assembled.”

— Mike Stack, Managing Director.

Key Takeouts:

  • Developing a range of environmental products was timely.
  • Local factories and French-speaking staff are important.
  • Enterprise Ireland toured France with Tricel in early days.
  • More emphasis on marketing within the business in recent years.

Case Study: Tricel

While attending a trade show in Evreux in France in 2009, Killarney-based manufacturing firm Tricel heard an announcement which would prove to be a watershed moment in terms of its growth in that market.

A representative from the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea told participants at the trade show that from that point on a government

licence would be required for waste-water treatment systems for one-off houses in France.

Called KMG (Killarney Manufacturing Group) at the time, Tricel went about getting such a licence for its sewage treatment products – which it managed to do in 2011 – and the company’s growth in France took off from there. It secured a significant volume of sales in its first year, and sales have doubled year-on-year over the past four years in France, according to managing director Mike Stack.

Mike’s parents Con and Anne Stack founded Killarney Plastics in 1973 to manufacture high quality composite and fibreglass (GRP) products. At that time GRP was a new and innovative material to the Irish market.

The company went on to develop its own range of products – water storage tanks and meter enclosures – and built up a strong business supplying housing and commercial buildings in Ireland and the UK.

“Things were going nicely until the crash in 2008. Sterling devalued by close to 40% and almost went to parity with the euro in December of that year. This made UK companies more competitive and the market for houses and commercial buildings started to collapse rapidly from then on,” says Stack.

“We had to think about how we could reposition ourselves so as not to be so dependent on the UK. So, we looked to continental Europe and developed a range of environmental products, including the sewage treatment solution which has done so well in France.”

Top Tips for Exporting to France:

  • France requires commitment, particularly in relation to the language.
  • Having a base in France allows for expansion.
  • Building a strong brand in France led to global re-branding.

For more detail, click here

A Strong Brand

Tricel was one of the first companies from a country outside France to get the government licence mentioned above, which has allowed the company to build up a strong brand in the market since 2011.

“What has worked well for us has been the fact that our product is simple, robust and reliable. It is made with composite materials and high quality parts – people like the fact that they don’t need to adjust it or spend money maintaining it. This is also important for distributors who don’t want to have to make call-backs once a product is installed,” notes Stack.

Recognising that the French business was going to be substantial, Tricel established a factory in Poitiers in 2011. The group’s first factory on mainland Europe, the site acts as a commercial hub for France as well as a base from which to expand to other mainland European markets and French-speaking countries. Similar to the approach it took in the UK since the mid 1990s, Tricel manufactures all the parts in Ireland and uses the French factory for assembly.

Now with 25 people based in France, Tricel is in the process of kitting out a second plant in France, in Avignon. It has started recruiting for this new operation in the south-east of the country, which will play a pivotal role as a key assembly, logistics and distribution centre.

“In France, we are a French company with French people on the ground and a nationwide French distribution network. We have a very responsive business set-up providing next day delivery once a product is assembled,” says Stack. “This is important for distributors, which are mainly small businesses in local areas. It means we can get the tanks to them very quickly.”

 

Scope for Growth

“Last year we launched our new Seta waste-water treatment tank in France to meet the demand in the holiday home market. It is suitable for both constant and intermittent effluent use.”

Further to establishing the Tricel brand for sewage systems in France and Germany the decision was made to rebrand the entire group to Tricel in 2014. It is now an established global provider of high performance solutions for the water, environmental, construction and materials industries with 12 operating locations across Europe.

Tricel currently employs 350 people, 134 of which are based at its headquarters in Killarney. “Since 2010 we have doubled our headcount and plan to employ 600 people across the group by 2020,” says Stack.

“Innovation will be the key driver of this growth. Over the past year we have switched from a cross-company approach to innovation to having someone with dedicated responsibility for this in each of the four divisions. A big thing for us has been to get better at measuring innovation and setting targets.”

The key to Tricel’s success in France has been being absolutely committed to the market since it first went there. “We have a managing director in France and the back-up of a lot of French-speaking staff both locally and in Killarney,” says Stack.

“We have taken a committed approach to all new export markets as we believe things don’t go so well generally if you just dip your toe in. In order for both customers and sales people to feel confident about our products, it is important for them to know that we have factories on the ground and people locally they can speak to.”

Tricel’s Partnership with Enterprise Ireland:

  • Enterprise Ireland outlined four pillars to focus on for market diversification
  • Members of the Tricel team took part in training courses to boost international sales
  • Paris office hugely supportive during market research and entry phase in France
  • Strategic marketing review supported by Enterprise Ireland particularly useful

CurrencyFair

“The foresight and belief that Enterprise Ireland has given us, and the practical advice and mentoring, we wouldn’t have gotten that anywhere else. It was really key to our success.”

Caroline Nangle – Head of People & Culture

Who

CurrencyFair gives ordinary people access to foreign exchange rates normally reserved for banks and market professionals, making it cheaper to transfer money internationally.

How

CurrencyFair was able to scale rapidly and internationally through practical advice and mentoring that they received from the Enterprise Ireland team.

Result

CurrencyFair is now a global operation with over 90 staff and offices in Ireland, Australia and the UK.

See How We Helped CurrencyFair

Arralis

“The fact that Enterprise Ireland delivered the European Space agency was incredible. That was instrumental. That is where it all started.”

Barry Lunn – CEO & Founder

Who

Arralis is a rapidly scaling technology company providing world leading expertise in RF, micro and millimetre-wave technology.

How

Enterprise Ireland helped Arralis break into the American, Chinese and Russian markets and, most importantly, introduced them to the European Space Agency.

Result

Arralis are now a world leader in their field working with six of the top ten aerospace companies. In 2016 they opened new offices in China and the USA.

See How We Helped Arralis

How eXpd8 followed the Thread to win new markets

“We built the solution in 12 months and then wanted to validate our chosen market. That’s where market research support from Enterprise Ireland came in”

– Liam Mullaney, CEO

Key Takeouts:

  • Software specialists breaking into new markets with a new R&D led cloud-based offering.
  • Faced with challenges to future growth prospects, their Enterprise Ireland adviser helped them secure an R&D grant.
  • Today, enquiries are coming in from South Africa, Singapore, Germany and further afield.

Case Study: eXpd8

Enterprise Ireland market research support enabled Irish legal software specialist eXpd8 Limited to break into the US market with its new cloud-based offering – Thread. Since its launch in September 2017, the Thread legal case management solution has successfully been trialled by a number of law firms in California and North and South Carolina, with sales now following in the US and a number of other markets.

eXpd8 traces its origins to a first start as an office supplies company, founded in 1985 by Declan Branagan. In 2000, Declan recognised an opportunity to develop dedicated software for legal practices and the first eXpd8 software product was launched the following year. The solution has been hugely successful in the Irish market and has attracted interest from the US, Australia and South Africa.

Liam Mullaney, CEO, joined the company in 2015 and takes up the story from there, “As there are about 1,700 legal practices in Ireland, we had limited prospects for further growth. I spoke to Declan and we agreed that there was a huge opportunity to supply legal firms worldwide if we created a cloud-based product. That’s what led to the development of the Thread legal case management solution. That’s the product we are taking to the global market.”

It also led the company to its first contact with Enterprise Ireland. Mullaney continues, “We met with our Enterprise Ireland adviser, Eileen Bell, and she has been a great help. We received a feasibility study grant initially. After that, an R&D grant to help with the development of the product. Having the backing of Enterprise Ireland has been incredibly beneficial all the way along.

“We built the solution in 12 months and then wanted to validate our chosen market. That’s where market research support from Enterprise Ireland came in. We decided that the US was the place to be and we picked North and South Carolina as the two states to focus on initially. There are 7,000 legal firms in the two states, so that represented a good market for us.”

Under the market research grant, Head of Product Development Anne Marie Callaghan visited Charlotte, North Carolina in June 2017 to gather initial market intelligence. “It came through very clearly that using ‘the Irish card’ would work well for us”, she says. “People don’t realise how strong the support is for Ireland and Irish businesses internationally.”

The Thread solution was formally launched on September 18, 2017 in the Microsoft Campus in Charlotte. “The product is built on Microsoft Office 365”, explains Liam Mullaney. “This is very important, as it opens up a very big market for us and allows the product to be sold through the world-wide network of Microsoft resellers. Our close relationship with Microsoft has been invaluable throughout.”

Enterprise Ireland assistance has also been critically important, he adds.

“It is more than just financial support. Enterprise Ireland has a great network of contacts. They help you identify who you should talk to. Their encouragement and assistance also gives you confidence that you are doing the right thing. Enterprise Ireland has this web of connectivity and, when you get into it, doors open to all sorts of people who really want to help.”

Having enlisted their first customers in the US, the product is now going global. “Digital marketing begins to take over at this point. People hear about the product online and see the website. We now have interested law firms approaching us and already have users in South Africa and the UK. We’ve had enquiries from Singapore, Germany and further afield. I would definitely advise companies with export ambitions to talk to Enterprise Ireland about the supports they can offer.”

How Brexit drove Associated Rewinds to grow in new markets

“Our focus up to two years ago was on the UK and Scandinavian markets, so when the Brexit vote came we recognised quickly that we were very exposed”

– Eamonn Griffith, International Sales Manager

Key Takeouts:

  • A strategic decision to target EU markets in response to Brexit.
  • Niche specialists with clients that invest millions of euro in locomotives who want to maximise the lifespan of that investment.
  • The Enterprise Ireland market research support was the ideal mechanism to help realise market diversification ambitions.

Case Study: Associated Rewinds

The outcome of the UK Brexit referendum in June 2016 prompted a strategic rethink on the part of Associated Rewinds, the Tallaght-based company that is the largest independent specialist in Europe for re-engineering, repairing and maintaining traction motors for trains, trams and metro systems. While the company boasts customers stretching from Scandinavia to Spain and Saudi Arabia, it had concerns in relation to its level of exposure to the UK market.

“Our focus up to two years ago was on the UK and Scandinavian markets, so when the Brexit vote came we recognised quickly that we were very exposed”, says international sales manager Eamonn Griffith. “We couldn’t predict the long-term impact but fluctuations in sterling became a problem again very quickly. It was like going back to the pre-euro days.”

In 2015, Associated Rewinds completed a large investment of approximately €5 million in a third factory in Tallaght, increasing capacity by 30%. “Due to Brexit and our increased capacity, we took a strategic decision that we needed to reduce our exposure to the UK as quickly as possible. We targeted EU markets – France, Germany, Austria and other countries where there is a sizeable volume of train assets and currency stability.”

The company enjoys considerable advantages when it comes to exploring new markets. “We are a niche specialist in traction motors for the rail sector”, Eamonn explains. “We remanufacture and maintain the motors. Our clients invest millions of euro in locomotives and they want to maximise the lifespan of that investment. They want to get 40–50 years’ life out of their assets and maintenance is crucial. It’s like owning a car, if you maintain it well, you will get a much longer life and better value from it.”

Associated Rewinds services all the main motor brands – GM, Bombardier, Siemens, Alstom and so on – and it has earned a reputation for solving difficult problems for customers. “Our clients have different environmental challenges. Scandinavia is subject to big weather extremes, with hot summers and very cold winters. We have the experience and capabilities to redesign and rebuild the motors to suit the environment. This sets us apart from our competitors.”

One example of such a customer is the Royal Mail in the UK which, 12 years ago, was experiencing severe difficulties with motors failing and trains breaking down on the tracks. “It was causing such chaos that it got to the stage where they were told to take the trains off the line until they resolved the problem. They asked us to investigate and establish what was causing their problems which resulted in us redesigning the motors. They haven’t had a single failure since. Royal Mail has since been happy to recommend us to other rail companies.”

Associated Rewinds discussed its ambitions for market diversification with Enterprise Ireland. “We wanted to reduce our UK exposure and fill our increased capacity as quickly as possible”, says Eamonn Griffith.

The Enterprise Ireland market research support was “the ideal mechanism to help us. It enabled us to do what we intended to do much more quickly than our resources allowed us to do and helped us carry out detailed market research in each of the target countries. We put in our application to Enterprise Ireland in late 2016 and received approval in January 2017. We have made some really good progress in the past 12 months.”

The French national rail company SNCF audited the Associated Rewinds facilities recently. “We have just received our first order from them. In addition to our original target markets we have received our first orders from Spain and Belgium. Our increased access to the European rail market is a direct result of the expansion of our sales team, combined with the results of the Enterprise Ireland market research undertaken into each of our target markets.

This research helped find where there was most demand for the company’s services. “We wanted to identify companies with problematic motors. That is the sweet spot and gives us something concrete to bring to the table with potential customers.”

“I would recommend the Enterprise Ireland programme very highly to other companies. Their office network in Europe is very helpful and the Enterprise Ireland people have been around the block many times. They are knowledgeable about both the positive and challenging aspects of researching and entering new markets. Enterprise Ireland has experienced the successes and failures of many other companies before us and can help companies like Associated Rewinds avoid the pitfalls and capitalise on previous success.

Researching and validating new markets can be an expensive and a time-consuming process. The Enterprise Ireland market research support assists with that. But you need to have a very clear focus on what you want to achieve and know your value proposition for that market.”

 Learn how Enterprise Ireland’s Diversification supports can help you to develop market knowledge and prepare for the challenges of entering new markets.