We spoke recently with Chicago-based Ryan Shaughnessy, an Enterprise Ireland Market Advisor for the industrial technology sector, to ask about his work in helping US companies source innovative Irish business solutions.
What are the main trends shaping industrial technology in your region?
The main trends shaping industrial technology are automation, predictive analytics, and IoT. For example, manufacturing companies are using predictive analytics and sensors to increase production line efficiency, estimate machine failure, and improve quality control to optimize factory output and processes. Within the automotive sector, manufacturing is moving away from investment in more traditional methods and investing in R+D and innovation to support autonomous driving technology. In farming, we are seeing the development of new agritech solutions. Technologies like intelligent machine control, telematics, big data, and farm management software can now help farmers increase yield while addressing growing demand.
How do you work with Irish and US companies?
As Enterprise Ireland market advisors, we provide regional expertise to help Irish companies understand the US market opportunity for their product/service in a given market. For example, our Chicago office has market advisors specializing in life sciences and digital health, along with industrial technology (automotive, manufacturing, agritech). Our advisors provide valuable go-to-market supports for Irish companies in the following areas: market validation, sale, and marketing resources, value proposition development, channel strategy, sales process, and market and competitor intelligence. We help facilitate Irish client to US buyer introductions – this helps US companies expand their consideration set to include Irish solutions and helps Irish companies learn about US market opportunities.
Finally, we host industry events to introduce US partners to innovative Irish companies that can address their specific challenges – this is really a form of matchmaking! As an example, our US and Germany offices are co-hosting a major automotive event in October 2019 in Ireland, where we will invite C-level buyers from US and German automotive companies to meet our most innovative Irish client companies in the automotive space.
Who are you working with at the moment?
I am working with a number of great Irish companies, including Ventac, a noise specialist who supplies into the industrial, agricultural, and vehicle sector; Cubic Telecom, who is very strong in the Internet of Things (IoT) and connectivity solutions for the connected car; and Timoney Group, who builds and commercializes the world’s leading heavy-automotive independent suspension system.
Why should US companies want to work with Enterprise Ireland?
We offer an excellent depth of in-market and international experience, knowledge and networks. As someone from an Irish business said to me recently, Enterprise Ireland market advisors are essentially an extension of the Irish companies we work with. The Enterprise Ireland team supports and develops the most innovative Irish companies with funding and mentoring to become stronger contributors to the global marketplace. Enterprise Ireland works with our Irish client companies throughout their entire journey – from starting out to scaling up – and our resources help them deliver the best solutions for clients in international markets.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I can honestly say that there is no typical day or week. For example, in Autumn 2018, I had a meeting in Chicago with an Irish company who wanted to review their business expansion plan for the North American market. Later that month, I was in the Carolinas helping a client who is in the process of setting up an office, which is due to open in 2019. During the week, we met local developmental associations, attended a manufacturing trade fair, and also met potential customers to discuss their needs. The following week, I went to Monaghan, Ireland for a Vehicle of the Future cluster meeting with colleagues from the US and Europe.
What I love most about my job is being able to use my past experience in distribution, sales and marketing, and business development to help the companies I support. It’s really rewarding when a client comes to me with a plan for the US market and asks me for my thoughts on it. After a period of time, their plan is underway, and they are growing sales while solving crucial problems for US customers. I love the travel element of the role and feel very lucky to work with some of the most cutting-edge technologies from Ireland and to help introduce those technologies to the US.