Therm-Omega-Tech: A Company on the Move

Therm-Omega-Tech, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of products using proprietary self-actuating temperature control valves.  Founded in 1983 the first product was a valve that uses thermal actuator technology to provide reliable and cost effective freeze protection to the railroad industry. The company returned to its beginnings and sought to expand its international revenue from its freeze protective valves for the rail industry.  
On the recommendation of the Wharton SBDC, it approached the Temple University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in February to provide railway and locomotive specific research and analysis on the following countries: the U.K., Norway, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Iceland, Turkey, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
In order to complete the project, Temple’s International Trade Consultant selected 3 undergraduate International Business students from the Fox School of Business.  The consulting team started the process with an initial client meeting to discuss the project, product, and to identify and prioritize client needs.  In order to select markets on which to begin work, the team identified metrics then located data on each of the counties identified by the client.  They rated the metrics by importance then calculated a score.  Once all the scores were completed for all the metrics, countries were ranked from high to low.  The final ranking was as follows (top five):
  1. Russia
  2. Germany
  3. Sweden
  4. UK
  5. Kazakhstan
The team held a preliminary conference with Therm-Omega-Tech and informed them that Russia appeared to have the greatest market potential by far based on preliminary analysis.  The client agreed that research and consulting would be completed on the UK first then Russia.  Once the UK portion was completed, the team held a meeting with the company to present findings.  Mr. Driscoll held meetings with his staff, reviewing contents and planning next steps.  “I was impressed with the report”, commented Mr. Driscoll.  “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was able to use the information immediately.”
The team then began work on Russia and the final report was delivered to the client after 4 months.  In addition to market and competitor information, client received a list of possible distributors, a map which identified rail lines across Europe, forecasts of railway projects and engine production, engine types in service, upgrades planned, and an upcoming major rail tradeshow in Moscow.  The client was referred to the United States Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Philadelphia for further assistance.  USEAC immediately reached out to their in-country representative and ultimately the client was able to sign a distributor.
A distributor was signed in the UK though new sales have not been generated.  The client switched its focus to Russia as a new market opportunity and entered the Russian market in 2016.  The client requested Gold Key Service for Russia from the USEAC and attended the Fifth International Fair of Railway Equipment and Technologies Expo 1520 in Moscow.  The client interviewed potential distributors and selected one with whom they contracted.  The distributor has diligently worked through onerous administrative processes to allow the Company to do business with the Russian government.  The Company anticipates sales this year.