You have an older piece of equipment that needs fixing. Do you repair or replace it? For a household item like a toaster or a radio, it is usually less expensive to buy a new one. But what if you are a large company like Ford, GE, Pepsi, or Boeing? These companies have large pieces of older electronic equipment that are in need of repair. What do they do?
They turn to Glenn Flaherty, president of ERD Ltd., Inc. ERD is an engineer-owned and -operated industrial electronic repair company with a customer base of over 5,000. In operation for 20 years, ERD repairs damaged electrical components for clients across the U.S. and in 65 countries. They service various business sectors including the cruise, manufacturing, energy and semiconductor industries. Their customers include 26 of the world’s Fortune 100 companies.
While ERD repairs all types of industrial and commercial electronics, they are best known for repairing legacy (older) electronics that others claim cannot be repaired. ERD can usually repair an electronic unit for less than 40 percent of the cost of replacing it.
In addition to large corporate clients, customers include the U.S. Supreme Court and all branches of the military.
SBA support has been an integral part of ERD since the company’s inception in 1995, when they began working with the SBA-sponsored North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC). SBTDC business counselors helped them develop a company business and marketing plan.
For the last three and a half years, Flaherty and longtime associate Executive Vice President Tom Robinson have worked closely with the SBTDC’s International Business Development Counselor Owen George. Owen guided them in the development and implementation of a strategic export plan that has resulted in an expansion of their international client base from 5 countries to 68 countries. Owen helped the firm secure SBA State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP) grants that covered expenses for trade shows in Colombia, Thailand and China.
This development played a key role in ERD’s securing a $579,000 SBA Loan from Wells Fargo Bank for the purchase of their 15,000 sq. ft. company headquarters in Kernersville, NC in 2013. Thanks to SBA funding and technical assistance, ERD has grown to 18 employees and reached $1.4 million in revenues in 2014. Twenty percent of that total is export sales.
“The SBTDC has been invaluable in guiding us into achieving the growth and success we have experienced,” said Robinson. “It has been like having a team of knowledgeable individuals added to our staff without the additional cost.”
Glenn Flaherty and Tom Robinson were named 2015 SBA North Carolina Small Business Exporters of the Year.