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Americans in Paris (minimal presence of American companies at European Machine Tool Exhibition) (editorial)

There were 1686 exhibitors at the European Machine Tool Exhibition (EMO) in Paris in June. The program indicated only 33 were US manufacturers. A few were represented by European agents. Even so, it was a poor showing. Tiny Spain had almost 90 exhibitors; Sweden, with a population of 8 million, had 20.

It's another indication of the marketing-strategy parochialism that US manufacturers suffer. What's worse, few US executives even bothered to visit in search of technology that could give them a competitive edge.

Admittedly, Paris is expensive and its EMO falls short of the Hannover version held every four years. Of the US exhibitors I talked to, a few expressed disappointment over the attendance. But most were happy they were there. One was Hardinge, a producer of precision turning machines.

"We've put 31 CNC machine tools into Switzerland-the land of precision-since we sold the first one there in 1988," R A Seach, sales and marketing director of the company's operation in England told T&P. "That proves we (US companies) can compete in the world market if we want to," he added.

Other large US equipment makers have been active in international markets for some time and were on hand. Familiar names like Minster, Strippit, and Sunnen were there. Daniel Meyer, CEO of Cincinnati Milacron, and Allen Turk, CEO of S E Huffman, were exhibiting, they said, to support their European distributors and show a commitment to that market. Joe Banafato, Boston Digital COO, was there touting his advanced, new control, but at the same time willing to sell you his machining center with a Fanuc control, if that's what you wanted. Milacron's Meyer echoed the feeling of all the exhibitors there: "We have to become more competitive in world markets."

The bad news is that too many US machine-tool builders aren't yet convinced of that. The good news is that there were several US first-timers at EMO. "The world has changed," G V A Bataille, vice president, Retention Knob Supply & Manufacturing Co, feels. "We used to think we didn't need another marketplace, but it's obvious that we do." Why do US firms hesitate? "We don't know the language or the customs," he contends.

He's right. But that didn't stop Rick Lee and his associates at Glendo Corp from Emporia, KS. They were at EMO for the first time demonstrating their Accu-Finish tool-sharpening equipment. "I know a little French, and my associate knows a little German, and we get by," Mr Lee confided.

Thompson Industries of Port Washington, NY, is also now moving into Europe and was at EMO for the first time promoting its linear bearings. Jim Tornincaso, director of international sales and marketing, was pleasantly surprised at the interest his product was generating among visitors from Asian countries and India in addition to Europe.

Moving from the domestic to the global market isn't easy. It takes an investment in money, time, and personal frustration. Considering the erosion of the manufacturing base in the United States, it should be obvious by now such a strategic move is no longer an option, it's a must.

Stanley J Modic

COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Modic, Stanley J.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Article Type:editorial
Date:Aug 1, 1991
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