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Shortlisted for the PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Awards Large Exporter of the Year Award, we meet Peter Thompson, International Division Manager of Evans Vanodine International.

What does your company do? 

Manufacture cleaning and hygiene chemicals for human care/professional cleaning and also animal health and biosecurity.  

When was your company launched, who by and why? 

By the Evans Family, namely Mr Charles Evans in 1919, one hundred years ago.  

How long has the company been exporting? 

Actively since the late 1960s but intensively in the last 30 years. 

What do you currently export, and where to? 

Evans currently exports to 86 countries and we have four overseas licence manufacturing facilities where Evans products are produced on a royalty basis. 

This business model came into being for markets where the cost of entry or export duties and logistics were too expensive to manage competitively by operating from the company's main base in Preston, Lancashire. 

What motivated you to start selling overseas, and how long did it take? 

Evans has been exporting internationally from the outset but it is the demand for its unique and highly-effective animal health products that has driven export growth.  

What is the easiest part of exporting? 

Developing a distributor to the point where they can handle the Evans products without close management, when they become self-motivated and confident enough to drive product growth themselves. This is the easiest moment and the most rewarding.  

What is the export challenge you’re most proud of overcoming? How did you manage this? 

Evans has developed the ability to react very quickly to new disease challenges and outbreaks in any geographical location in the world. 

Recently in 2018/19 Evans was able to break into the Chinese market with a specialised disinfectant, BIOCID 30, which has helped Chinese farmers defend against the world's biggest disease outbreak in the pig industry. Without Evans' products and quick reaction, the disease would have spread wider and faster. BIOCID 30 is now the world's largest selling animal health disinfectant of its type. 

Did you get any support when you wanted to trade abroad? Who from, and how did it help you? 

Most of our support, when we have needed it, in the form of market intelligence and distributor searches has come from the DIT and its predecessors. We use trade missions, tailored market information reports and international trade shows to generate intelligence and information plus, of course, exposure. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting to explore overseas markets? 

  • Use the DIT support services, they are second to none in the world
  • Gain the information on the market and position your products correctly 
  • Distribution is everything 

Where next? What markets are you looking into and where do you see the company in five years’ time? 

We now need to consolidate our market share in all territories and expand our products anservices in each. The pioneering work is done; it's now up to Evans to enhance its position. 

How do you feel about being shortlisted for the Northern Powerhouse Export Awards and what does it mean to your business?  

The Northern Powerhouse Export Awards are the first national awards Evans has applied for and it will enable Evans to benchmark its growth and success against the bigger players in exporting and hopefully help to focus our future activities towards greater success. 

Find our more about the awards at www.northernexportawards.co.uk 

Amanda Armstrong
Article by Amanda Armstrong
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