Wisconsin small business takes first step to international opportunity

An MOC Success Story on ExporTech
ExporTech™ is the only national export assistance program that offers a structured, yet customizable, process that guides companies through every aspect of export growth.
June 22, 2017

Situation

Coating Tech Slot Dies (CTSD) designs and manufactures custom dies used by industry to apply liquid coatings. Extremely precise, these dies are integral to the production of lithium-ion batteries; optical films for televisions, computer screens, iPhones and iPads; water filtration systems; adhesive tapes; and many other products.

From the start, co-owners Mark Miller and Tim Marion were aware of the potential for CTSD to serve markets in China, Korea and Japan. "We knew that 80 percent of our sales would eventually be outside the U.S.," recalls Miller, "but we had so many questions. How to ship? How to get paid internationally? It was all new to us."

Solution

To find answers, Miller applied for the ExporTech program offered through University of Wisconsin-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) and its partners. ExporTech is a national initiative to help small to mid-size manufacturers step out of their comfort zone and grow through exporting at an accelerated pace.

During three full-day sessions over a three month period, international business experts provided critical information, resources and tools to support Coating Tech Slot Dies as the company established viable target markets and built a refined exporting plan. Topics included international banking, freight forwarding, government regulation, export strategy and best practices, among others.

John Konkel, an international business executive with 35 years of experience, served as the coach to support CTSD's development of a strategic export plan. "In the U.S., a lot of companies don't know how to take that first step," said Konkel. "They don't know the services that are available to them. It's an exciting part of U.S. commerce to have small companies from Wisconsin do well."

Coating Tech Slot Dies (CTSD) designs and manufactures custom dies used by industry to apply liquid coatings.
According to co-owner Mark Miller, far right, CTSD sets the standard for precision. CTSD slot dies are capable of reducing variation to one micron across 80 inches of substrate.

Results

Following its export plan, CTSD now ships products to China, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia. The company cites the following impacts:

  1. Added seven new jobs
  2. Exporting products to four new markets within three years
  3. Increased sales
  4. Increased international agents from zero to two

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