“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
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.”