WALTER MEIER: JET INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION
Charged with growing annual revenues by US$10 million over the next five years (2012-2017), half of which was to come from Latin America, Doug Quackenbos, head of global business development at Walter Meier Manufacturing Inc. had undertaken extensive market research to identify the best new international market opportunities for Walter Meier's JET brand of industrial products and metalworking and woodworking machinery. Specifically he identified Brazil as an attractive new market for expansion. Success would hinge on developing the right market-entry strategy. To that end, four foreign market entry options were identified: 1) Greenfield company-owned distribution strategy; 2) Partner with a Brazilian master distributor; 3) Acquire or form a joint venture (JV) with a Brazilian tool distributor; 4) Acquire or form a joint venture with a Brazilian tool manufacturer. Quackenbos would have to sell a strategic vision for growth that was not resource-intensive - a challenge for a mid-size player in a market filled with a range of regional and national competitors. Based on what he was about to propose, and against the backdrop of a soft, recessionary global industrial economic environment, Walter Meier's executive team would question the merits of expanding into new emerging markets, the attractiveness of Latin America, and specifically the advantages of entering Brazil. The case provides background information on the company and the metal and woodworking machinery markets and competition in each of them. Walter Meier's international expansion aspirations are described, and the process for identifying Brazil as a new market for expansion is explained. The case concludes with the trigger issue of which foreign market entry mode will work best for Walter Meier in Brazil. A supplemental 10-minute video interview is also available. The video captures Doug Quackenbos's views on the international business development opportunities and challenges for a medium-size company, how he gathers market intelligence and manages uncertainty, and what he foresees for Walter Meier in Latin America and Brazil. Learning objectives: (1) Foreign market attractiveness, in particular the pursuit of opportunistic growth strategies; (2) Challenges medium size companies in business-to-business markets face when seeking growth internationally; (3) Opportunities and threats in entering emerging "BRIC" markets; (4) Evaluation of foreign market entry modes; (5) Securing distribution in new international markets.