Bruckman Rubber Co.
In the past few years, Bruckman Rubber Co. in Hastings, Neb., has expanded its export business to account for 15 to 20 percent of its sales, with a goal of building that figure nearer to 30 percent, says President and CEO Jack Schreiner.
“Years ago, we didn’t do much overseas,” Schreiner says. “What really got our attention was when Gov. Heineman invited me to go on a trade mission. From that, I gained awareness and interest in international opportunities. We’ve since opened some doors, built some connections and are now taking a more proactive approach.”
That approach included participating in the Nebraska Business Development Center’s inaugural Intensive Entrepreneurship Program (IEP) in the fall of 2014.
Led by Veronica Doga, NBDC export consultant, the program’s goals include increasing a business’s sales through expansion into new markets in the U.S. and abroad, teaching how to do business in other countries, showing how comprehensive market research and forecasting analysis can create a smart business strategy, and offering professional business consulting services.
As part of IEP, Doga says, NBDC provided Bruckman Rubber with: Growth Evaluation Report, which analyzes the capacity a company has for expansion and identifies any deficiencies; Market Research Report to identify potential new markets, advantages, competition and market barriers; One-on-one business consulting including expert assistance with specific exporting issues; and Training, information and resources required to do business in other countries.
Schreiner says Doga “is a smart young lady. She’s very energetic and had some very good ideas for us.”
Bruckman Rubber Co. offers a full spectrum of rubber parts manufacturing capabilities, from making the molds to crafting parts and providing die-cutting operations.
The company was founded in 1961 by Chuck Bruckman. “It was a little hole-in-the-wall, one press operation,” says Schreiner, who joined the business 37 years ago. “Chuck borrowed $750 for the first press, and the banker kept stopping by to make sure it was working.”
The company has since grown to 80 employees manufacturing thousands of different rubber products, all to customer specifications. Bruckman Rubber currently sells products throughout the U.S. and in China, Mexico, Philippines, Canada, India, Japan and France.
Schreiner says there are challenges to overseas markets. “An organization of our size has limited resources,” he says. “There’s a commitment of time and travel, and the language and cultural barriers can be a problem.
“Surprisingly, the cultural issues are what I find most rewarding,” he says. “When I spend time learning about another culture in advance, once I’m there with the people, it’s an awesome experience.”
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