Innovation prompts clean sweep in Scandinavia

8 July 2012

Locating a single Danish customer has enabled a Yorkshire manufacturer of clinical hygiene products to embark on an ambitious export drive throughout Western Europe.

The Proton Group, which manufactures cleaning and disinfection products for the hospitality industry and other sectors, has accelerated its export campaign and aims to sell 20 per cent of its products overseas within the next four years.

After identifying Scandinavia as a lucrative market, the company contacted Chamber International which put them in touch with Copenhagen-based Sørensen Consulting.  Working with Sørensen, Proton visited Denmark to identify possible distributors.

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.

Sørensen Consulting has been central to its Scandinavian breakthrough. The relationship began in 2010.

“I visited Denmark on a field trip and we went to see various people including Copenhagen Capacity, the British Embassy and lawyers,” says Mr Angus. “Julia Kowalke from Sørensen escorted us to all the meetings to introduce us and follow through with any action plans.

“It was a good service and from that we got the business going. 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.”

“We’re still involved with Sørensen and now we’ve commissioned them to look at the German market.”

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.