Though the energy sector has slowed in recent months, business for many Sooner State firms continues to move along at a brisk pace. A diversified group of Oklahoma businesses was recently recognized at the 32nd annual Oklahoma World Trade Conference for their excellence in exporting. We had the opportunity to speak with Addie Ventris, Marketing Director for Tactical Electronics, a 2015 Oklahoma District Export Council Export Champion award winner based out of Broken Arrow, Okla.
What does Tactical Electronics do?
“Tactical Electronics provides advanced technology and training solutions for military and law enforcement agencies. Our extensive product line includes covert wireless camera systems and EOD equipment used by special operations teams around the world. Our training division provides Counter IED training courses and IED Training Aids for EOD technicians and tactical operators. All of our services are designed to prepare technicians for what they might encounter behind a closed door, in a suspect package, or unsecured area.
“Tactical Electronics designs, engineers and manufacturers all of our products in house at our headquarters in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.”
How many employees do you have in Oklahoma? How many employees do you have worldwide?
“We have 44 in Oklahoma and 22 worldwide in Virginia Beach, Va., Chattanooga, Tenn. and in United Kingdom.”
Can you give me an idea of how much Tactical Electronics relies on exporting its products outside the U.S.?
“Since 2011, Tactical Electronics has seen a significant increase in our international sales. We continue to see a demand for our products and services worldwide and will continue to fulfill those requests through export.”
What are some of the challenges Tactical Electronics faces in exporting from Oklahoma? Are there some benefits from exporting from Oklahoma as well?
“While working to expand our international markets, Tactical Electronics has dealt with common growing pains to ensure our manufacturing lead times protect us from payment risks. To mitigate any financial risks we have instated a few internal policies and procedures with regard to payment, the examples are as follows.
“When working with new international customers, for whom Tactical Electronics has not established an ongoing relationship, deposits are required before work begins. For those customers unwilling or able to fund the deposit up front, Export Letters of Credit are required. Additionally, in instances where large unit volume is ordered, Tactical Electronics has started offering multiple ship dates to alleviate some of the financial stress. Finally, for those customers unwilling or able to pay in U.S. currency, Tactical Electronics has started hedging the exchange rate with a premium to compensate for rate volatility.
“Tactical Electronics will continue to develop improved processes to advance and expand our export strategy and international markets.”
Looking back to when Tactical Electronics first began producing items for export, is there any advice that the company would provide to fellow firms in Oklahoma who are considering forging international ties and exporting?
“Ensure that internal and external policies and procedures (as described above) for all export activities are in place at your organization before your first export activity.”