A COMPANY supplying containment systems for the pharmaceutical, healthcare, biotech and chemical sectors is driving up revenues from export sales.

Extract Technology, which employs 65 people at Bradley Junction Industrial Estate, embarked on a major initiative to boost its overseas sales still further in the face of tough global markets and those in the UK and Ireland.

The company recognised the need to diversity its product portfolio and strengthen its sales focus in key geographical areas. It would also need to review how it would overcome competition and particularly product cost as it expanded its export business.

The starting point for developing the strategy was discussions with the sales and marketing teams to identify the opportunities for growth. The research led to the development of new products and targeting sales to Europe and South East Asia.

As a result of the initiative, Extract set itself a goal of 50% growth in sales of isolator products to the European market. Not only was the target achieved by the end of 2011, the company had achieved a four-fold increase – equivalent to 34% of the company’s overall turnover.

Overall, the initiative delivered a three-fold increase in export sales throughout 2011 – with isolator sales of £3m, an increase of £2.6m from 2009.

Extract’s initiative to boost sales to South East Asia set a target of 10% growth and achieved a 22% return throughout 2011.

To support its increased product offering, Extract undertook a review of its sales support activities – specifically looking at its dedicated sales engineers and existing agents with a view to developing new sales relationships.

This resulted in Extract releasing some existing agents and investing in others. The company also appointed a Singapore-based employee to oversee sales in South East Asia and opened a sales office in Singapore.

The firm backed up its export drive with promotional newsletters, e-mailshots and commitments to exhibitions and seminars. The company attended key exhibitions, including ones in Sweden, the Netherlands and Singapore.

With a view to costs to the end-user, Extract invested in lean manufacturing techniques, improved work process flow, a change in shop layouts and investment in staff training.

General manager Alan Wainwright said: "Throughout the process, local competition within the European market has been strong. Our approach has been to have good people on the ground who can discuss face-to-face the benefits of buying a product from Extract Technology.

"Aligned to this are the improvements in our business and manufacturing processes to make our products more competitive whilst still offering the best quality product and maintaining our strong brand name."

He added: "There has been great success to date in both developing new products and expanding into new geographical territories, resulting in a stronger business throughout."