Please provide a company background including when it was established, where it is located, how many staff you employ etc.
D. G. Controls Ltd was established in 1967, and bought by the current Managing Director Jon Whiten in June 2003. Having worked for the company over 11 years at that stage, Jon was well-placed to take the helm and continue manufacturing signalling devices, warning beacons and sounders at the Head Office and manufacturing unit in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. The company employs 13 staff including a sales team of 3 and a Development Engineer.
Please provide an overview of the products and services offered and areas of specialisation.
The company designs, prototypes, manufactures and sells its deegee brand warning beacons and sounders from the Swadlincote premises, using country-dedicated distributors around the world to sell to and support their local markets. The deegee beacon can be found on the top of a wind turbine, on a forklift truck, on a crane, in a corridor for fire alarm visual warning, on a loading bay, anywhere and everywhere a visual warning or alert signal is required.
How long has your company been active in the export / import market and which countries do you currently trade with?
D. G. Controls has a long history of exporting to certain countries, being especially big in Sweden, Belgium, Finland and Ireland, but also with successful business in North America, Singapore and Australia. Where there is currently no appointed distributor the company will supply direct, so the deegee brand can potentially be found worldwide.
What made you decide to expand your business overseas?
Deegee beacons are a high quality “long shelf-life” product, and as such repeat sales to a customer tend to be for new builds or projects, rather than replacement. Whilst business in the UK is essential, it is still slower than ideal in our sector, so the export business has to be the way to really push the business forward. There are relatively few good beacon manufacturers around the world, so given the right distribution partners overseas, the deegee brand should continue to go from strength to strength.
What has been your biggest exporting / importing challenge?
D. G. Controls has two major challenges – we are small in terms of staff numbers, and our product is used in a hugely diverse number of applications. The biggest exporting challenge is really in identifying the best potential fit of distributor in the target country, in a timely manner, minimising cost of travel and time out the business, when each person has several “jobs” to do within the company. We do not have a dedicated export sales person, so MD Jon Whiten does most of the travel, but is also responsible for the company’s accounting, driving forward innovation with the Development Engineer, and raising a family of 3 little boys!
What does the future hold? Any particular markets you are looking to target next?
For D. G. Controls the growth is perceived to be in its export business. Of definite interest are the relatively “new” markets which are just starting to significantly invest in their building infrastructure, health & safety expectations and renewable energy resource. For all of these, warning beacons are required – ensuring it’s a deegee beacon is the name of the game!