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Metallurgical SME from Río Tercero Achieves First Export

  • MetalMec SRL has sold construction and road machinery supplies to Chile.
  • With the support of ProCórdoba Agency, it had participated in business rounds and worked to achieve its internationalization.
  • It had also received technical advisory, as stipulated in the agreement between the Agency and the Customs Brokers Center - Córdoba Office.

Eduardo Accastello, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Mining of the Province of Córdoba, has announced the first export to Chile achieved by Río Tercero based MetalMec: "MetalMec has been working in the metallurgical sector for nearly 13 years. Through ProCórdoba, we have provided assistance from the beginning of their internationalization process, because we are convinced that it favors competitiveness, strengthens the company and helps it grow. We want Córdoba to export more and more, and the public and private sector are working concertedly to achieve that goal."

MetalMec was born as a partnership between the Serra and Vélez families who, in the beginning, provided machining services. The growing demand in the agroindustry was an opportunity for the company to transform, and in 2010, the firm launched the first product completely designed and manufactured by itself.

Since then, it has manufactured supplies for road and construction machinery, such as trenchers, hole diggers, backhoe loaders, scarifiers, pallet jack lifts and cement mixer drums, among others. These accessories adapt and fit the different brands and models of various machines such as mini-loaders, cranes, backhoes and tractors.

Julia Singh, a partner at the firm, said, "Our products have been sold through the length and breadth of the country, from Salta to Tierra del Fuego. We work a lot for the electrical power cooperatives market. In fact, our first international client is dedicated to installing power lines in Chile. What we sold is a hydraulic auger for vertical drilling, such as that used to set up utility poles for installing power lines."

Preparing for Export

Singh referred to the internationalization process and explained, "In September 2019, the Córdoba Chamber of Metallurgical Industries invited us to participate in the business rounds it organized with ProCórdoba at the MetalExpo Exhibition. We registered, met with potential clients and started to consider the possibility of exporting to neighboring countries. We decided to focus on that and set the goal to achieve our first export in 2020."

Thus, in January this year the firm contacted the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Mining's ProCórdoba Agency through the latter's Front Office Service, and the meeting was set up. The Front Office service involves the first interaction between the Agency and the business community of Córdoba. It refers interested companies to the appropriate Department, and the firms' needs are identified through a personalized diagnosis that also provides information about the firms' export potential and their product or service's situation in international markets.

In addition, MetalMec benefited from free technical advisory by a customs broker, thanks to an agreement in force between ProCórdoba and the Customs Brokers Center, which the parties signed to drive the development of foreign trade in the Province and expand the work opportunities for professionals in the sector. "During the first interview, the broker cleared our doubts and provided her assistance; she encouraged us to achieve our first export. We felt support and encouragement from all the parties involved during the entire process," said Singh.

Concerning the work done, she explained, "ProCórdoba also provided financial and technical assistance to participate in the International Fairs and Missions Calendar, which was of course disrupted by the pandemic. Nonetheless, the Agency invited us to a large range of virtual meetings that offered different business opportunities," and she added, "The training activities provided by ProCórdoba have been very important this year. For example, we had a virtual course on the use of foreign trade databases that was given during the 2020 Foreign Trade Sessions."

The First Export and the Next Steps

The contact with this first international client emerged when MetalMec implemented a social media marketing strategy for neighboring countries. The strategy paid off, because the company received numerous queries. Then, the first sale to Chile was achieved by providing personalized assistance and advisory to potential clients.

As for plans for the future, the company's partner shared, "We are interested in accessing the Fund for Export and Internationalization of Cordobese Companies in order to be able to visit international fairs and the like. We will keep on working with ProCórdoba and the customs broker, who also guided us and helped us join the "Export Challenge" federal program run by the Argentine Investment and Trade Promotion Agency."

"In spite of the pandemic, we attained our objective," underscored Singh. "We know this road is long and we are aware that these are just our first steps, but in the beginning we thought that exporting was something unattainable for a small enterprise like ours, and we were proven wrong in no time," she concluded.