Mark Deutsch, owner and founder of AmCraft Manufacturing knows a thing or two about adjusting product offerings to meet the demands of an ever-changing business market.
Deutsch's business journey began when he bought into a shoe repair shop and he learned the ins and outs of leather. When he saw the leather shoe market decline in the 1980s, Deutsch acted quickly and expanded his services by offering luggage repair.
From that point on Deutsch understood the importance of diversification. Today, AmCraft Manufacturing specializes in commercial sewing and radio frequency welding services. On a regular basis they manufacture thermal, acoustic and insulated industrial curtains, PCA flat & rigid hoses, tennis court backdrops, data center enclosures, and custom sewn and welded flexible products used in a variety of industries.
In 2005, AmCraft Manufacturing went global. The first products sent overseas were custom PCA hoses and industrial curtains. Initially, AmCraft Manufacturing did not plan to export any of its products — they just knew they wanted to sell more.
To achieve this goal, the company made an investment to improve better product websites as a part of a product-marketing plan. These improved websites started to attract a significant amount of global customers:
"Little by little, we were surprised to see continuous online requests for our products from not just Mexico and Canada but from the Middle East and Europe," Deutsch claimed.
Although other factors weighed in, Deutsch saw a positive return on investment from website development and improvements, such as search engine optimization (SEO), to attract customers across the globe.
Currently AmCraft Manufacturing employs two part-time individuals to improve its product websites on an ongoing basis:
"They'll sit down with our production manager to make sure we're putting the right information on these sites," states Deutsch. "They even collaborate with our sales teams to strategically communicate the right messages to our customers."
Deutsch was cautiously confident he would not run into any pivotal issues when AmCraft first launched into the global market — other than perhaps time zones and language barriers. He did, however, mention that to successfully breach the global market, solid people skills is a necessity:
"People skills and the ability to communicate solutions to your customers are both really important, no matter where the customer is in the world. You have to listen, be patient and take the time to communicate well."
Ever since AmCraft Manufacturing went global, the company has seen an increase in revenue, which meant more space was needed. The business first started in Skokie, moved to Morton Grove, and then finally made its way to Elk Grove. Within Elk Grove, the company has moved and expanded three times. The current space is ideal for proper exporting:
"There's a loading dock on one end of the building. Raw materials enter one side, flow through the building and exit the other side. Our space is divided up into four rooms to separate products throughout production, since some of our items have a higher quality requirement to stay really clean," Deutsch states.
Not to mention, being close to O'Hare International Airport definitely has its perks for serving a global market …
Deutsch now owns two buildings in Elk Grove. If business continues to boom and they need to expand again, there are definitely options to grow. He's dedicated to staying in Elk Grove because he's witnessed the Village of Elk Grove's hard work to improve the community, including employing great police and fire protection, providing exceptional public transportation, and supporting their beyond business friendly neighbors.
AmCraft Manufacturing will be exhibiting at this year's Made in Elk Grove Manufacturing & Technology Expo. "Two or three of us will be walking through the show to meet new people. We like to keep our eyes open and get to know businesses we never knew existed."
Want to get to know Mark Deutsch? Be sure to stop by AmCraft Manufacturing's booth during this year's expo. If you haven't already, click here to register.