“Get ready for the long haul,” says Matt Faul, President of Red E LLC., when sharing exporting advice. The company, created in 2012 by Faul, is an engineering firm and aftermarket agriculture parts company that delivers the whole package from design to delivery.
The company was not started with the intent of exporting, says Faul. “I did something I knew, and I knew I didn’t only want to be an engineering company. I wanted to interact with customers.” This drive to be hands-on with customers and providing high-quality aftermarket kits, parts, and custom designs for agriculture equipment has served the company well. They continue to see growth in their domestic and international markets, resulting in increases in their engineering team, support staff, and facilities located in Fargo, ND.
Recognizing hardships in some overseas markets, expanding into exporting seemed like a natural fit for Red E. After more than three years of working with customers in Russia and Ukraine, the company is starting to gain traction. Two critical steps they took early on – traveling to each country and gaining a trusted interpreter and contacts – were essential to their success. Faul stresses the importance of getting the right people in place and making the right impression.
Traveling to Russia several times with previous employers, Faul fell in love with the country and its people. An introduction by a mutual friend to Eugene – a Russian local – was a turning point, Faul says. Eugene firmly questioned why Red E was in Russia and what the goal was. Faul’s honest answer: believing that Russian farmers were underserved and he could provide quality, long-lasting solutions to their challenges, as well as making a little bit of money, proved to be enough for Eugene. After that, Eugene has become the liaison for Red E in Russia. “Eugene told me right there that if you are bottom-line focused, Russia will be a hopeless situation, and now our seemingly hopeless situation has turned quite hopeful,” says Faul. Meeting more and more people, shaking their hands, and looking them in the eye has cemented Faul and Red E into this region.
Along with his twin brother Jesse, Vice President of Red E, the Faul brothers grew up with a grandfather who believed in rebuilding and recycling parts. Taking this initiative, Red E sells their aftermarket parts for John Deere, Case IH, Flexi-Coil and New Holland air seeders, drills, and more. Today, many farmers see the benefit of replacing specific parts or systems and adding on to existing equipment rather than buying a whole new machine. Taking their products one step further, the Red E team makes sure that their kits come complete with all the components to get the job done right the first time. “We don’t want our farmers to have to run out to the dealer to get more parts when they are mid-install. We want our kits complete.” He explains, “It might cost a little more to include a few extra bolts, nuts and washers, but our customers see the value in the well-built kits.” Lisa Tellinghuisen, part of the sales and marketing team for Red E, shares that “this is where the true marriage of engineering and aftermarket parts really comes together.” Red E is currently translating their website into Russian and is already seeing sales from their efforts.
Red E is active on their YouTube channel and social media showing rebuilds and providing information about their products. Posting videos of this hands-on team lets the product speak for itself, explains Tellinghuisen, “there are no gimmicks, these products work. Matt, Jesse, and our team have done their research before we put the products out on the market.”
Red E’s products and processes’ functionality reinforces itself as the company continues to export more. Recently, the company has taken advantage of the STEPND program, which financially assisted sales trips to Russia and Ukraine. They have also translated their website into Russian. Both projects, Faul explains, have been integral in making export activities affordable, which they may not have considered without the assistance.
Faul provided some final thoughts on exporting, emphasizing that exporting is not a quick way to make money but a long process of cultivating relationships. He cautions companies not to sit back and wait for the right opportunity, or you will never start. “It takes serious effort to make it. If you think the US market is a challenge, you have to factor in a large multiplier for international business. Be sure to count the costs. You have to sacrifice to be successful,” says Faul. He goes on to explain that the cost of exporting can be more than is more than monetary. It is a rigorous undertaking and full of challenges. Each company has to survey if exporting is right for them, and the benefits must outweigh the costs. Faul and the Red E team have decided the benefits of exporting are well worth it for their operation and continue to look forward to many new partnerships in the future.
Visti Red E at: https://rede-ag.com