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Spee-Dee Packaging

Simplifying food packaging

Since its inception in 1981, Spee-Dee Packaging has sought to simplify the food packaging process and make it more efficient. The company started out with one simple line of products, which has since expanded to include machinery that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and industry leaders such as Nestle, McCormick and General Mills rely on each day. The company had fewer than 10 employees when it began, but thanks to its dedication to continually providing a quality product, Spee-Dee secured a trusted reputation throughout the industry, and has grown to employ more than 60 people. Since many of the companies Spee-Dee began doing business with were global enterprises, much of its early exporting experience was reactive and came from isolated groups showing interest. However, company leaders soon realized the potential of creating a proactive export strategy and began to explore the process.

Filling the gaps to find export success

To begin the process of developing an export strategy, company officials made trips to Mexico and attended a few trade shows to gauge interest and assess opportunities in the country. However, company leaders did not receive substantial leads, so they went back to the drawing board. Hiring Richard LaForest, now export manager for the company, provided the boost the company needed to grow globally. Once they dedicated resources specifically to exporting, the company’s strategy began to take shape. Again they targeted Mexico as a preferred destination, primarily due to contacts there from existing customers. In 2016, Spee-Dee joined the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on a trade mission to Mexico and met with several potential buyers and partners. Those personalized meetings resulted in four companies expressing interest in working together, three of which are still doing business with Spee-Dee today. The company also tapped Wisconsin resources through an International Market Access Grant, which provided funding for attendance, booth setup and material translation for international trade shows in Mexico. These efforts helped build strong relationships with Mexican companies, propelling Spee-Dee’s exports forward. In the future, Spee-Dee plans to continue forging relationships in Central and South America, with a strong focus on Chile, Argentina and Uruguay in 2017.

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