emita is pleased to announce Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies as November's Member of the Month. You can find out more about this local company below from their Managering Director, Malcom Hall, including the company’s overseas challenges, international achievements and aspirations for the future.
1. Please provide a company background including when it was established, where it is located, how many staff you employ etc.
Hall-Fast was founded in August 2006, Initially supplying specialist fasteners into the UK automotive industry, by achieving ISO9001 quality accreditation we were able to supply into all sectors of the automotive industry, this resulted in us achieving significant growth within our early years, with parts being specified on Bentley, Aston Martin, Lotus, Jaguar, Caterpillar and JCB vehicles.
We currently employ seven people and also have students via the Chamber of Commerce International Student Placement Office (ISPO) to target specific export regions for us.
2. Please provide an overview of the products and services offered and areas of specialisation.
Prior to September 2007, Hall-Fast was 95% reliant on the UK automotive industry, since then we viewed the downturn within this sector as an opportunity to diversify our product range and now over 60,000 standard items are supplied, including workwear, tools, PPE and handling equipment into many other general industrial sectors.
We have now supplied into over 70 countries and export sales are expected to be circa 35% of our turnover next year.
3. How did you find out about emita and what benefits do you find the most valuable?
I found out about emita from our UKTI adviser (Bob O’Meara), the benefits that are the most useful to me are the country or sector specific seminars
4. How long has your company been active in the export / import market and which countries do you currently trade with?
When three of our four biggest customers went into administration at the height of the recession we viewed a downturn in our core sector as an opportunity to diversify our range and enter new UK and overseas markets. We have been exporting for approximately three years and have supplied into over 70 countries to date, including:
Honduras, Belgium, China, Denmark, Haiti, Jordan, Australia, Israel, Thailand, Estonia, Malaysia, Poland, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Netherlands, Vietnam, France, USA, Malta, Turkey, Chile, Canada, UAE, Norway, Kuwait, India, Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Italy.
5. What made you decide to expand your business overseas?
We were in the middle of a recession and our core
6. What has been your biggest exporting / importing challenge?
A lack of knowledge!
When we received a large order from China we were heavily reliant on the support of EMCBB, as part of EMDA for guidance, we were unsure if this service was going to still be there to support us going forward, so we invested in training for two of our employees, this was undertaken over two full days broadly on the following:
• Commercial and Official Documentation
• Goods into Port
• Transport / Freight Documentation
• Payment Methods and Documentation
• Proof of Export documentation
We now have employees who have a clear understanding, this will give us the confidence when dealing with future enquiries and we will now be able to service our customers in
DDP terms for deliveries into
We contacted over fifteen freight forwarders who supply into China, not one of them were able to offer DDP terms that were commercially viable, this was not a barrier for us however as we were able to negotiate with our customer for them to collect their orders from us.
7. What’s the most helpful piece of international trade advice you have received?
The on-going support and advice that I receive from UKTI and the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce is invaluable, I guess the most piece of advice that I have received was to go on the Passport to Export course, this really did open my eyes not only to the opportunities for UK companies abroad but also to the vast network of support that is available to UK exporters.
8. What does the future hold? Any particular markets you are looking to target next?
I think our export sales will continue to grow and grow, we are currently translating key pages on our website and literature, and we are currently targeting the French, Dutch, Russian, Latvia and German markets with the key aim of setting up a network of distributors or agents, and in February 2011 onwards we will be targeting the Italian, Spanish and Scandinavian regions.