American Mine Research commenced international sales efforts in the early 1990s. After a successful partnership in Australia and several hundred thousand dollars in sales, the Australian government enacted new explosion requirements that American Mine Research’s system did not meet. The upfront costs to redesign did not justify the long payback period it would take to recoup, so American Mine Research pulled out.
In 2005, David Graf, Manager of Business Development, decided it was time to reinvigorate its international sales efforts and engaged VEDP–International Trade. The company became part of a program that was set up to help smaller, less experienced exporters in its efforts to grow internationally. Through the program, VEDP helped identify a well-qualified distributor in Brazil that American Mine Research still partners with today.
In 2006, US mine safety requirements increased with the passage of the Miner Act. American Mine Research took the opportunity to position its company as leaders in mine safety by revamping existing products to meet domestic and international specifications.
Armed with a new competitive product line and experience with international distributors, American Mine Research started to capture international market share. “Since 2005, American Mine Research has established distributorships in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. We have visited these markets several times to thoroughly train our distributors and make joint sales calls to their customers. With each market, VEDP has provided unmatched help such as in-country market research, identifying prospective distributors and logistical support for our visits,” explained Graf. “Currently, we are pursuing distributors in Colombia and South Africa and planning market visits later this year.” To continue success in foreign markets, VEDP recommended that American Mine Research work together with Troutman and Sanders, LLP to draft a distributor agreement that could easily be modified for each new market.
Thanks in part to a grant received from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, AMR is growing from every angle. “With the additions to our facility and technical staff, several new products in the pipeline, and VEDP’s help in establishing an international distributor network, we hope to make AMR a world leader in mine safety, monitoring and control equipment,” explained Graf.