Sweet Manufacturing Company, located in Springfield, Ohio, has been around for more than 60 years and is a family-owned company that manufactures bulk material handling, conveying, and processing equipment. This includes bucket elevators, drag and belt conveyors, support towers, conveyor support systems, and heat processors. The equipment is sold primarily to agricultural and industrial customers. The company was founded by W. Dean Sweet in 1955. His daughter, Alicia Sweet Hupp, was named president and CEO in 1996 and continues to lead the company today.
Prior to working with EXIM, exports comprised approximately 22 percent of the company’s total sales, with most of these shipments going to Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Argentina. These earlier international customers had been willing to pay cash in advance or through opening a confirmed irrevocable letter of credit to purchase Sweet’s equipment. As time passed, Sweet discovered many of its existing and potential new customers wanted more payment options. Some were looking for the same open account terms (up to 30 or 60 days) being offered to Sweet's domestic customers. Others were seeking medium-term financing (three to five years) for larger projects.
In order to provide financing solutions that would distinguish itself from its competition, Sweet’s Treasurer, Mark F. Grimes, began working with insurance broker International Risk Consultants. He also attended EXIM Bank's Annual Conference in Washington, DC, where he made invaluable contacts with other exporters, trade finance professionals, and EXIM staff.
Mark found that EXIM’s multi-buyer export credit insurance policy solved Sweet Manufacturing’s needs. This small business policy has no deductible and enables the company to offer its international customers open account terms of anywhere from 30 days to 360 days. The policy protects against both commercial and political nonpayment risks. In fact, if Sweet does not get paid, EXIM covers up to 95 percent of the buyer’s invoice. In 2017, Sweet also obtained special buyer credit limits for two important Argentinian customers. This enabled the company to close new deals by offering its customers a larger amount of credit and longer repayment terms of 360 days.
Some of Sweet’s customers have received EXIM medium-term financing support for larger capital goods and services transactions. EXIM backs the lender (currently PNC Bank) for foreign buyer nonpayment, and terms typically run from three to five years.
EXIM’s short-term and medium-term financing opened doors in the world marketplace for Sweet. Sweet considers EXIM support a "must" in order to maintain the significant presence it has worked hard to establish. Sweet’s export sales have comprised up to 55 percent of total sales, averaging about 35 percent in recent years– significantly higher that Sweet Manufacturing’s average of 22% prior to working with EXIM.
Sweet Manufacturing Company equipment is found in more than 55 countries covering six continents. Its equipment is widely used in North, Central, and South America, particularly the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Chile. Sweet is looking to expand further in Eastern Europe and Asia. Recent markets for Sweet have included Romania, Ukraine and the Philippines and are a vital part of the company’s future.
Through supporting Sweet’s efforts to export with confidence and build its worldwide presence, EXIM directly supports all jobs at this successful company. Due to its impressive international success, Sweet Manufacturing has been honored with the Ohio Governor's Excellence in Exporting Award on three different occasions.