With the help of Export Finance Australia, Venlo Investments' innovative products are a familiar sight in major US hardware chains.
Venlo Investments is an Australian business that designs, manufactures and distributes innovative products across a range of industries.
One of their most popular products is Tuffblock – a recycled plastic deck foundation system. Tuffblock provides a strong, versatile, lightweight and environmentally-friendly alternative to concrete foundations, which are notoriously difficult to transport and store.
Because Tuffblock is light and stackable, it’s cheaper to transport, takes up less floor space and is safer for employees and customers – creating greater appeal for building and hardware customers.
But when Venlo Investments had the opportunity to stock Tuffblock in major US hardware retailer Lowes, they needed additional finance to help cover the gap between order and payment. That’s when Export Finance Australia was able to help.
Taking advantage of an opportunity
Alan Brady, General Manager of Venlo Investments says that the biggest challenge was having enough working capital to support production, storage and shipping until payment was received.
“They gave us a 267-store trial, to have a 12-week run at it. So, we needed to support enough stock to support these stores across a 12-week period,” he said.
“We've got to buy the materials, manufacturer the product, then stock, store and ship it,” he said. “Shipping's anywhere between 45 and 62 days, then we need to stock, store, box and deliver to the stores. With long payment terms, it could be six months before we get paid.”
We supported Venlo Investments with finance to cover the cashflow gap and get their product into the stores.
Alan says he appreciated the time our Business Development Director, Adam Pearce, took to understand their business and products.
“Adam took a keen interest in understanding our product, exactly where it fit, what we were trying to do,” he said. “He was a terrific resource – there are no silly questions with Adam, because I've asked a thousand of them!”
Alan says our support was a critical factor in the success of the Lowes trial – and subsequent expansion into other US big-box retailers like Home Depot and Tradelink.