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Size doesn´t matter - but Access does! See how Germanplates proves it.

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 As a member of the FedEx communications team, I can tell you that I have heard A LOT at work about the idea and the importance of Access over the last couple of years. Access to global markets empowers small and medium companies in particular to grow their businesses. Access connects people and possibilities around the world. Access helps to create jobs. That all sounds fantastic in theory – but on a cold and rainy day a few months ago I had the pleasure of seeing that theory turned into practice and found myself in the middle of a truly inspirational Access story.

So what exactly happened? On the day in question I accompanied a camera team on a video shoot at the premises of one of our German customers. The customer´s business is small but very successful so it seemed like the perfect location to record a customer testimonial video. All of us involved in the video shoot had been warned upfront that the customer´s facilities were slightly on the small side – but we had absolutely no clue how small they really were until we arrived! While we had expected to film inside a workshop  that was at least the size of a garage, imagine our surprise when we discovered that the customer produces his goods in a tiny shed. Just picture the scene: A producer, camera man, sound engineer, photographer, customer, sales account executive, me and all the technical equipment you need for filming crammed into a small shed? It was pretty cramped to say the least!

After a few minutes of brainstorming how to handle the challenging situation, we all started to fall in love with this unusual  place and the story behind  it. Let me give you some more background : Christian, our  customer, had been employed since 1996 in the Berlin area working in the German license plate industry. In Germany, license plates are manufactured by private companies, like Christian’s, which are located at or near car registration offices. In 2002, Christian spent his vacation in Florida and noticed a lot of German car enthusiasts in the US with German plates attached to their cars.

So he then came up with the idea of making license plates in Germany and then exporting them to the US. It began as a sideline for him, but the business grew rapidly once he had registered his website www.germanplates.com and then also started selling his license plates via eBay. Over the years, his business grew from a hobby to taking up over 80 percent of his time. In 2010, it became his primary source of revenue. At this point he decided to purchase his own machines, foil and dyes to stamp the plates. And, of course, he needed to store his new equipment somewhere… which is where the shed comes in. He now processes several hundred orders a month – all plates ordered online, produced by himself and sent in the vast majority of cases to the US. And surprise, surprise – he sends them all with FedEx.

So what do you think? Isn´t that a perfect example of how essential Access is? Christian’s story is proof that you can run a great global business from even the smallest and most remote of locations. With his sixth sense for a good business opportunity, I´m sure we´ll see and hear much more about Christian’s Germanplates in the future. And maybe you’ll remember his story next time you see a car with a German licence plate somewhere in the US… it may well have been produced by Christian himself.

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