Christopher Kenmore, Vehnet
Shortlisted in the 2017 HSBC Scottish Export Awards in association with Scottish Enterprise, we caught up with logistics specialists Vehnet about the importance of cultural sensitivity and speaking several languages.
What does your company do?
Vehnet designs, creates and markets a complete Enterprise Resource Planning solution for Finished Vehicle Logistics, i.e. the logistics involved in moving a vehicle from the manufacturer’s gate to a dealer, anywhere in the world. This includes yard management, workshop management, transport management, personnel management, finance, fleet and further related functionality. Vehnet’s Lynx solution differs from the competition by providing true Business Intelligence, enabling individual workers to perform to the best of their ability, and ensure the KPIs and SLAs are met, as well as by offering the only truly integrated logistics platform.
When was your company launched, who by and why?
The company was reset upon purchase by Christopher Kenmore in March 2014, in order to meet the growing technical needs of the market.
How long has the company been exporting?
Since the outset.
What do you currently export, and where to?
We export our solution to Australia, Colombia, The Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, the USA. Our largest client is in Australia.
What motivated you to start selling overseas, and how long did it take?
The CEO has always worked in international markets, whether by importing or by exporting. Furthermore, we operate in a global industry (automotive), and limiting ourselves to growing a business solely in the UK market would be like trying to drive a car with an engine, but no wheels and only a litre of petrol.
What is the easiest part of exporting?
Getting on a plane!
And the most challenging part?
Cost of travel.
Have language barriers, currency changes, etiquette and culture ever caused you any difficulties? How did you overcome them?
Not really. The CEO speaks several languages, and the company likes to employ international workers. Cultural sensitivity is exceptionally important when encountering different cultures, and research must be made by everyone who deals with international clients (or suppliers).
Did you get any support when you wanted to trade abroad? Who from, and was it helpful?
No. All research to date has been done by ourselves, and we have not received any support from anyone. Yet.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to explore overseas markets?
It is not as difficult as you might think, but have the right people and processes in place. If you have never exported before, go to networking events attended by exporters, and ask for their advice, as you will meet people have exported to the territories of interest, and likely also in the same market sectors. Also, when recruiting for management, sales, support or consulting roles, look for candidates who speak languages other English (preferably fluently), or from other countries, or who have broad (and successful!) international experience.
Where next? What markets are you looking into and where do you see the company in 5 years time?
Exporting is in our blood, and we all expect massive growth around the world. We are currently targeting the USA, the Middle East and Europe. In 5 years’ time, we expect to have an office in the USA and one in the Middle East to service our expected clientele there. Also, subject to the result of Brexit negotiations, we may well need to open an office within the EU.
Vehnet have been shortlisted for micro exporter at the year at the HSBC Scottish Export Awards 2017 in association with Scottish Enterprise. Book your tickets now and join us to celebrate international trade.