Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Exporter scores a sales success at the ballot box

A Derry based election equipment manufacturer has received a vote of confidence from the US with a lucrative new order.

Pakflatt has secured an order for around 350 of its Benjamin Franklin voting booths, bringing its total export sales to $1.3m.

These will be supplied to 30 counties in the US state of Kansas. The company has also recently confirmed an order worth $500,000, from Westchester in New York state, in a deal which it says has doubled Pakflatt’s global sales in the past two years.

Over the past 12 months, Pakflatt has agreed supply deals to approximately 140 counties across 24 states in the United States.

The deals equate to a total of 164 individual orders for the Franklin Booth.

The latest batch of orders in Kansas mean its total sales outside the UK now stand at 45%.

Managing director and founder Patrick McGonagle paid tribute to the “exceptional nature” of the company’s 20-strong team of employees at their base in Springtown.

He said other factors for |the firm’s export success included their growing national re-seller network and a recently established national distribution centre in Virginia, opened a year ago.

Mr McGonagle said: “Our policy of selective resourcing using my own Global OS3 model — own specification, outsourcing offshore — provides us with a strong supply chain and spread of risk, as we consider any country in the world a potential source of supply for the parts and components that we need in our final assembly line at Springtown.”

Mr McGonagle is a chartered engineer who has been involved in the election industry since 1986.

He does business with worldwide electoral commissions and with national and local election authorities, including those in the UK, Ireland, Europe, the US and Canada.

He visited America in the late 1980s as part of the Derry-Boston Ventures trade mission.

He said: “While it didn’t lead to any immediate success, it made me realise that the American elections industry had many similarities to our own.”

Hollister Bundy is president of Inclusion Solutions, who are Pakflatt’s principal distributor in the US. He said Pakflatt’s “innovative and revolutionary product” was the secret to its export success.

Mr Bundy said: “Election administrators love the durability, storage ease and reliability of the product.

“Responses from voters have likewise been positive and the disability community has embraced the ‘universal design’ of the product — voters with and without disabilities now vote at the same booth for the first time.”