Less red tape, more time to innovate
If I could sum up the benefit of trade agreements to us, it would be the reduced time load.Jan Sova
Workswell designs and manufactures thermal imaging cameras, systems, and solutions for use in fire prevention, agriculture, security, medical screening, and more.
The products fall into the category of ‘dual-use goods’ meaning they have the potential to be used for both civilian and military purposes and so are highly regulated. Importing and exporting dual-use goods can be complex. Workswell’s thermal imaging cameras, for example, are very specific products and require permits and licences for sale, in addition to the usual export documentation. All this means one thing: paperwork. Workswell’s sales and administration teams find that when selling under a trade agreement, there is a “reduced administrative burden”. The entire export process is smoother which has wide-reaching effects on their business.
With customers all over the world, Mr. Sova sees a big difference between doing business with a trade agreement and without one. He explains the knock-on effects of simplified administrative procedures: “Reducing administrative costs directly affects product prices so our technologies become more competitive”. Customers benefit from this economical pricing and also from faster delivery as there are fewer delays in customs. It is not surprising that, for Workswell, “sales have certainly increased as a result of the trade agreements,” according to Mr Sova.
Cutting paperwork boosts jobs
What’s more, when Workswell makes savings in administrative costs, it always takes the opportunity to reinvest in their own technology. This is necessary to keep the company at the cutting edge and has the benefit of creating more employment locally as it can hire more developers. Today Workswell employs 24 people in the Czech Republic. It further supports the local economy by sourcing locally where possible. For example, the majority of their mechanical components are purchased within the Czech Republic.
As all SMEs know, administrative procedures can consume a lot of labour hours. By reducing this burden, the trade agreements create positive effects for Workswell’s customer service, their technology and, ultimately, their revenue.
Becoming a global player
In 2010, Mr. Sova and two of his fellow engineering students at the Czech Technical University created this start-up in Prague. Mr. Sova says that the company was “export-oriented from the very beginning, starting with Europe and later worldwide.” They conducted internet research and attended trade fairs to identify and connect with potential customers. Within three years of operation, exports really took off. By 2020, just 15% of Workswell’s sales were to the Czech market with 50% of sales going outside the EU to countries such as Chile, South Korea, Moldova, Israel, Türkiye, Canada, Japan and more.
Overall, we prefer to sell to countries with trade agreements.Jan Sova