Canadian Manufacturing

Export Insights report: strategies and lessons learned for opening new markets

by Canadian Staff   

Canadian Manufacturing
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The report benchmarks manufacturers’ current export business and illuminates their challenges, success strategies and plans for growth in overseas markets

Export Insights is a report developed by Canadian and sponsored by SYSPRO Canada and Grant Thornton.

Export Insights is a report developed by Canadian and sponsored by SYSPRO Canada and Grant Thornton LLP.

If uncertainty equals risk, there may be no more risky an endeavor for a company to undertake than opening up a new market for exports.

The large financial commitment is just the start. Manufacturers hoping to leverage the substantial opportunities found abroad face a long list of cultural, logistical and regulatory hurdles that must be ironed out before a single product ships to their first customer.

Indeed, the task is complex and littered with landmines for the uninitiated exporter. This is why partnered with sponsors SYSPRO Canada and Grant Thornton LLP to produce the inaugural issue of Export Insights.

The report highlights data from a national survey of more than 500 Canadian industrial executives; and a roundtable discussion among Canadian exporters. The project benchmarks manufacturers’ current exporting business, and illuminates their challenges, success strategies and plans for growth in overseas markets.


A few findings from the Export Insights report:

  • Direct sales is the top strategy used by Canadian exporters penetrating new markets, with 70 per cent of respondents going that route. Establishing a joint venture was second with 28 per cent.
  • Growth on the horizon: 80 per cent of respondents are confident their exports will grow within the next 12 months.
  • Value-added: 40 per cent are exporting highly engineered or custom-made products.
  • New markets: 25 per cent of respondents are planning to enter a new market within the year; Western Europe is by far the top target market for these companies, at 40 per cent.
  • Getting started: 48 per cent of respondents said they began exporting because of demand from an existing customer; 41 per cent started exporting to grow sales.

Click here to download the Export Insights report

The follow-on roundtable of nine exporters and experts covered key calls to action, lessons learned and—perhaps most importantly—tips from the trenches.


Roundtable participants included (back row, left to right): Mitchell Osak, managing director of strategic advisory services, Grant Thornton LLP; Peter Biro, president & CEO, Newcon Optik; Eric Lakien, CFO, Hibar Systems Ltd.; Mark Falbo, president, Mircom Group of Companies; David Doyle, customer success director, SYSPRO Canada (at press time); (front row, left to right): Pauline Bessada, vice-president of operations, Bissma Agrogroup Inc.; Ron Harper, president of Cogent Power Inc.; Eyal Eshed, Founder, HouseKit Canada; John Shelley, operations manager, WEGU Canada Inc.—Photo by Stephen Urhaney

Our hope—through surveying manufacturers and then having a discussion with some of Ontario’s top exporting mid-sized manufacturers—was to collect leading strategies and tactics that any company can apply to a new exporting project.

Throughout this report we outline more than the strategies of successful exporting firms. We identify some of the common risks a new exporter will face, regardless of where they plan to export, and some of the proven methods of mitigating those risks.

When opening a new market, having a good product is only a part of the solution. If you try to forge ahead without a strong base of research and a well-informed team, the chips will be stacked against you.


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