Can you tell us something about Van Beest B.V.?
Van Beest BV is an almost one century old forging company headquartered in Sliedrecht. We started as a forging company making steel tools for the famous local dredging industry. Our main product is the Green Pin shackle which is a connection between steel wire rope and the load it has to lift. These Green Pin shackles are manufactured in our plant in The Netherlands and are made according to the highest safety standards. We also have a plant in France where we forge hooks and other chain fittings under the brand Excel. Today we are not only making products for the dredging industry but also for oil & gas, fishing, general industry, construction industry and many other market segments where lifting is involved. Besides our plants and sales offices in The Netherlands and France we have sales offices in Germany and the US. We distribute our products in about 80 different countries and are today a leading company in our market.
What makes Van Beest successful in Houston?
A couple of years ago we decided to open an office and distribution center in the USA. The reason was that we wanted to be close to our customers and the users of our products. We thought it was absolutely a must to have stock availability close to our market, we think it is important to have a high service level. Now we can supply from stock in the US and save a few weeks sailing time. We choose Houston, because it is the most important city for the oil & gas markets which are our most important markets. There are a lot of decision makers based in Houston and also many of our distributors, which service the offshore industry, have facilities in Houston. From our Houston office we service the whole US and Canada with stock and a strong salesforce. We recently opened another office and distribution center in Chicago in order to further increase our local service level. Since we are based in Houston our market share increased in a fantastic way.
What kind of advice can you give to Dutch entrepreneurs who want to do business in Texas?
We think an important reason for our success is having a high service level. The US is a market expecting high service levels. Adapt your organization to that. We choose to have local American management and staff. The advantage of that is that you speak the same language as your customers and understand the habits and way of working in the US. The general manager should on the other hand also have a good understanding of the European culture. The manager makes the bridge between the Dutch headquarter and the local US office. Apart from being close to our market in Texas another advantage is the possibility of hiring good qualified staff.