Innovation prompts clean sweep in Scandinavia

Chamber International played a pivotal role in enabling a leading Yorkshire manufacturer of clinical hygiene products to embark on an ambitious export drive throughout Western Europe beginning in Denmark.

In a bid to assist firms to break into the lucrative Scandinavian countries, the organisation teamed up with a firm of market specialists in the region, Copenhagen-based Sørensen Consulting. It then spent months doing the ground-work identifying suitable companies.

In order to maximise Sørensen’s involvement, the Chamber screened more than 50 companies for their suitability using a detailed questionnaire and arranged two days of brokered meetings at three locations in Leeds and Bradford.

One company with clear potential for Scandinavian sales was The Proton Group, which manufactures cleaning and disinfection products for the hospitality industry and other sectors. The company has recently accelerated its export campaign and aims to sell 20 per cent of its products overseas within the next four years.

After attending the Chamber International session Proton visited Denmark to talk to potential distributors.

Danish glass products manufacturer Glass4Ever was particularly impressed with Proton’s cleaning products – especially for its high-grade plastic products.

“They had issues about the use of these in a hospitality industry environment,” explains Proton’s managing director Murray Angus. “They weren’t getting the quality of cleaning from conventional chemical products. What interested them about our product was that they were getting perfect results and that moved them to take things further.

“The relationship has now got to the stage where the Danes see our products as an integral part of their marketing proposition.”

And that was by no means the end of it. As a result of the co-operation Glass4Ever is enthusiastically promoting and distributing Proton’s products in Denmark and its neighbours including Norway and Sweden. Proton has also embarked on a trial with giant brewers Carlsberg as well as with large nightclub chains in Germany and Finland.

“It’s turned into a perfect model,” he adds. “What it comes down to is the quality of our products and the results they get. This is what they recognised and are keen to promote.”

All Proton’s products are developed in-house by its 26-strong team. The firm is now applying for a patent for its Krystal Klear Plastic Glass Wash. It is talking to distributors in the Netherlands and Belgium and is also planning to form a company based in Denmark within the next year.

 “It was a good service and from that we got the business going,” he adds..” And it was very good value for money, too. For producing a report on the market and for setting up all the meetings they charged just 5,000 Euros, which in business terms is very modest.”

“Stirred by its export success, the Proton Group is now eyeing up other potentially profitable markets in Eastern Europe, South America and South East Asia.