NDTO News Article

PS Doors opens to global customers

Grand Forks residents may be surprised to learn that the company installing and servicing their garage doors for the past thirty-plus years is also becoming one of the city’s largest exporters.

It all started when PS Doors founder Jim Satrom came up with a design for an industrial sliding door for use at power plants.

Satrom discovered that the doors used in the early 80’s were not standing up to the industry’s harsh environment. The problem was a strong draft created inside fossil fuel power plants. This movement of air made the doors so difficult to operate it would take full-body weight to open them. And once the doors were opened, they would quickly slam shut. Hinges tore from doors and injuries were common.

Satrom’s solution was to design a door that slides horizontally. The first door, still in service 25 years later, led to a catalog of 15 product categories.

The design and manufacturing segment of PS Doors has three product divisions, the industrial doors, safety and fall protection and flood doors. These products can be found all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Vietnam and Panama.

To date, most of the foreign orders have come from their Web site. According to Cory Melland, marketing director of PS Doors, that’s about to change. “We never want to stop growing and because of that, we’ve made a conscious decision to look for additional business internationally.”

High quality products are not difficult to market anywhere in the world, and PS Doors has a lot of opportunities. Wanting to minimize the risk going forward, Melland called on Heather Ranck, international trade specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) in Fargo and the North Dakota Trade Office’s Rodrigo Cintra at the Center for Innovation in Grand Forks.

Using the combination of Melland’s product knowledge and the resources, expertise and understanding of the global market, provided by Ranck and Cintra, they brainstormed the best markets for PS Doors.

After compiling a list of possible countries: Canada, The Netherlands, India, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, Ranck and Cintra researched to determine which country offered the best export opportunities for PS Doors. Based on ease of entry, proximity and existing business, it was determined, Canada – Ontario and Quebec to be specific – should be the first for concentrated exporting efforts.

“Once this market is successful, we’ll target another promising market,” said Melland.

Before they pack their bags and head north, PS Doors is having the USCS initiate an International Partner Search for Canada.

An International Partner Search, conducted by USCS professionals will research and qualify potential customers and distributors for PS Doors. As luck would have it, the USCS professional in Ontario is the national coordinator for national safety products and the Quebec USCS professional is the national coordinator for building products in Canada.

“The charge for this service is well worth it,” Melland said. “I can’t even buy an airline ticket to Canada to do this research myself.”

It’s a commitment to growth that took a company with one employee and a service truck, to one that is a global competitor with over 40 employees. Employees at PS DOORS have educational backgrounds in industrial technology, business, and skilled metal fabrication.

“What makes PS Doors export ready is they have an open mind when it comes to pursuing different markets, based on sound research,” Ranck said.

For PS Doors, exporting means continued company growth, maintaining employee satisfaction and opening doors to new revenue.

This article was provided by North Dakota Business Report magazine.For more information about PS Doors visit www.psdoors.com