Drug retrieval specialist flush with global success
An Essex company whose equipment enables law enforcers to retrieve banned substances from toilets and inside smugglers’ bodies has pulled a chain of new export opportunities thanks to the expertise of UKTI.
Colchester-based Drugloo UK has exported for more than 15 years but only to a tight circle of customers. Since approaching UKTI for help, the number of new markets and potential customers has significantly widened.
The company designs and manufactures a range of banned substance recovery equipment, which provides a practical and hygienic solution to the growing problem of retrieving packages from people attempting to smuggle illegal drugs and other items secreted within their bodies.
Their equipment is used in police stations, prisons, secure hospitals, young offenders’ institutes and airports, in the UK and overseas, particularly in Europe, North America and Africa.
Drugloo contacted UK Trade & Investment in 2013 for help in targeting new export markets and MD John Baker was put in touch with international trade adviser Keith Adams.
Baker said: “We’d been exporting for over 15 years but our international orders had mostly been as a result of word of mouth recommendations rather than any pro-active marketing on our part.
“We knew that the more countries we traded in, the more stability and growth it would give us, but targeting new countries is expensive and we wanted to adopt a more strategic approach to how we were spending our money. We specifically wanted to target those countries where we’d previously had no exposure, such as Spain, Portugal, Greece and Morocco.”
UKTI recommended that Drugloo enrol on Gateway to Global Growth, a 12 month programme that helps experienced exporters diversify into new markets. Through Gateway, Baker was able to take part in several business master classes as well as make a number of market research and fact-finding visits to potential markets. This included attending a Latin American police summit held in Costa Rica and the American Jail Association’s annual training conference in Dallas.
Baker also attended ExploreExport – a one-day event in Newmarket which formed part of UKTI’s Export Week. He said: “This was an outstanding event, which opened many doors for us. I made 16 appointments with various representatives from our target countries, including embassy staff, who all had local market knowledge and extensive political and commercial contacts.
“It really helped us explore the possibilities of exporting to their countries; I also attended two useful seminars on Romania and Chile.”
Meetings with the Spanish and Moroccan representatives proved particularly beneficial to Baker who is now planning to visit both countries within the next few weeks. “The Spanish and Moroccan embassy officials are currently setting up a number of business appointments on our behalf ahead of the trip,” he said.
As a direct result of commissioning an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) report, which puts companies directly in touch with UKTI staff in over 100 overseas markets to help them access the right international contacts or partners, Drugloo has also received an order from the Greek Drug Squad, which is currently being finalised.