A chocolate-coated success story
DT & G Engineering designs, manufactures and supplies chocolate coating and polishing machines for use in confectionery factories throughout the world. The business was established over 50 years ago by Frank Finn in Merseyside and the Finn name has now become the quality brand standard in the industry. In 2005, the business was taken over by the current owners, Graham and Lyn Pitt.
Whilst the business had always enjoyed a certain level of success, the Management Team were sure greater opportunities were available. A contact from Jayne Hunt, a UKTI International Trade Advisor, was the catalyst for the change. “It felt as if we had a great product but no Marketing Plan,” explained Lyn Pitt, Director and Co-owner of DT & G Engineering, “our turnover in 2011 had gone down to £200,000 and we were genuinely concerned that our business would disappear”. Jayne helped the business to identify some key areas for development. “We knew there was much potential for DT & G Engineering overseas and that our website was an important shop-window for us, but we just didn’t know where to start; my IT skills are rather basic actually!” admitted Lyn.
Jayne introduced the business to Aleksandra Parker, a Consultant working for the UKTI Export Communications Review (ECR). The ECR provides practical, impartial and straightforward advice to help companies improve their communications to overseas markets. Each review is conducted by a communications expert and is tailored to the company’s individual requirements.
Aleksandra met with Lyn at their offices on the Wirral and spent a full morning with the team reviewing their current website and helping them to understand how it could be improved. “It was great for someone to see the site with a fresh pair of eyes: our old website was very long with lots of technical details, out-of-date quotes and links that simply didn’t work”, described Lyn. Aleksandra put in place a clear review with step-by-step recommendations to transform the DT & G Engineering website into a clear, interesting and living document. She also showed Lyn how to use Google Analytics so she could track the origins of web-enquiries.
It became apparent that DT & G Engineering’s incumbent web-designers had somewhat basic IT skills, so Aleksandra was also able to help Lyn to find a more suitable agency, and even came in to help Lyn to brief the new agency to make the improvements.
“Aleksandra helped us to understand that our customers wanted to find us and our new website now gives them confidence that we are a thriving, modern business with examples of what we do, videos showing our machines in action and vibrant pictures”, a delighted Lyn explained. Lyn’s newly acquired skills to interrogate Google Analytics also revealed that 46% of website enquires now came from the USA, enabling a focus on this important market. “Our USA agent’s phone doesn’t stop ringing; they love our new website!”
Over 18 months, DT & G Engineering was transformed: with a new agent in Poland, genuine interest from Russia, USA and South America and growth in the UK, 2012 sales increased threefold to £600k with 2013 forecasted to increase still further to £1 million. Reflecting these achievements, DT & G Engineering are nominated as the Wirral Business Partnership’s Business of the Year (category: sub 170 employees) and the Insider North West International Trader for 2013 (category: sub £20m turnover). As Lyn explained, “We’re now so busy that we’re recruiting more staff and are truly confident that our future is secured”.
Lyn is delighted with the support she received from Aleksandra and the ECR, “Aleksandra is worth her weight in Gold! She really went above and beyond the call of duty to help us. Not only did her comprehensive website review identify how we could improve our website, she also helped me to find and brief a good web-designer who has transformed our communication to the rest of the world. The support was just fantastic!”
If you are thinking about developing your website for an international audience then maybe an ECR could help you too?
If you are based in the North West region and are interested in developing your business overseas please contact:
UKTI North West International trade Team
Tel: + (0)845 603 7053
Find your nearest International Trade Advisor via our postcode search facility in “Contacts in your region”