TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE FOR FIRMS
An Ohio auto supplier that was losing business to Chinese, Canadian and Mexican competitors
used TAAF assistance to secure and help finance an outside export expert who developed
relationships with potential foreign customers. The export expert promoted the client and its
products overseas and trained company personnel (including top management, sales engineers
and others) on how to sell to overseas Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1
suppliers. Three major overseas customers were won during the engagement, with many
opportunities for additional customers pending. Importantly, the new export business it generated
helped sustain the company during the domestic auto industry’s accelerated downturn last year.
Despite this downturn, the client’s sales were actually higher in 2009 than at the time they
entered the program in 2007 (up 7%). Meanwhile, this TAAF project developed internal
capabilities and established external business relationships that will help the firm continue to
expand its export sales long into the future.
A Garden Grove, California manufacturer of cable wire assemblies and harnesses applied for
assistance in 2002 after experiencing significant damage as a result of cheaper Chinese imports.
The Western TAAC worked with the firm to develop and implement a strategy to manufacture a
wire cable that is more advanced than cheaper Chinese cables and also to expand the firm’s
client base through marketing improvements. These projects have resulted in a 128% increase in
sales to $14.8 million, a 51% increase in productivity to over $146,000 in sales per employee,
and a 50% increase in employment to 101 workers.
A minority owned family business in New Mexico produces a variety of Latin American food
items. The business has struggled to compete with Mexican imports which have much lower
business costs. The firms utilized its grant to fund lean manufacturing operations, implement
state of the art computer software (which offers superior abilities to tack production batches in
expectation of stricter FDA regulations) and train staff in order to fully utilize their new
software. The firm has maintained its 250 employees and been able to add an additional 50 high
paying positions in IT and management as well as a 20% increase in sales.
A Virginia shoe company experienced a 20% decrease in sales and 17% loss of employees due to
foreign imports. With consultation and assistance from their regional TAAC and funding from
the TAAF program they developed an incredibly successful internet sales program through their
websites and implemented inventory and quality controls in order to achieve a Six-sigma rating.
Sales have increased 81%, and the company has more than doubled its workforce, all in an
industry which many experts have written off in America.
An Alabama producer of HVAC, gas phase and paint filtration systems discovered their largest
customer and several distributers were considering switching to Chinese imports contacted the
Southeast TAAC and applied for assistance. Following their approval the firm improved
marketing, implemented a quality improvement program and research and development projects
which led to the launch of a “green” product line. Through the recession the firm has managed to
overcome the threat of imports and increase sales revenue more than $6 million and most
importantly create over 20 jobs.
A California precision machined parts manufacturer faced severe competition from Thai and
Mexican companies as manufacturers relocated their production and support contracts outside of
the U.S. Working with their local TAAC the firm developed a plan to innovate and manufacture
complex precision machined parts and developed a marketing plan targeted at the needs of
industry leaders in select markets. Since their partnership with TAAF the firm has increased
sales by 200% and employment has increased by 76%.
A Minnesota producer of stamped and machined metal components was losing customers at an
increasing rate to offshore producers. With a $37,700 grant the firm was able to implement a
number of targeted strategic planning initiatives including software and training upgrades which
prepared the company to adapt to cheap imports by producing higher quality and more
customized parts faster than the competition. Following this innovation the firm implemented a
market research initiative in order to target customers for their improved products. The firm has
more than doubled sales and increased employment.
A firm in New York State which produces teak furniture suffered from increased costs and
competition from foreign imports. They were able to utilize their assistance to implement the
planning, research, branding and media strategies supplemented by creative development and
production management projects. The result has been annual sales in excess of $10 million (up
40%) and employment numbers which have annually increased to meet production demands.
A Kansas manufacturer of injection molded containers, such as drinking cups, housewares, and
closure and aerosol caps applied for assistance in order to invest in their employees and revive
their business. This investment has focused on increasing efficiency and overall production as
well as training employees for the production of thermoforming. The reduction in production
costs as a result of training programs has allowed the company to remain competitive while
investing in equipment for thermoforming production. The firm has been able to increase sales
and jobs as a result of their participation in the TAAF program.
A Texas firm is a producer of activated carbon which is used in hundreds of different
applications ranging from gold recovery to syrups. The firm became eligible for assistance due to
a flood of Chinese imports. Their grant was used in the areas of manufacturing, engineering,
marketing and support systems. These projects increased quality, allowed for training for
manufacturing and management employees, provided for a variety of software and IT
improvements and the development of sales and marketing plans. The result of the partnership
has been a 64% increase in sales and an 8% increase in employment.