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Ferrari Computer Services Ltd, Egham, Surrey has put together a package to aid North American high-tech companies wanting to enter the European market. Called HomeBase, it brings together internationally-known companies like Regis McKenna Inc and Saatchi & Saatchi Plc to provide a comprehensive package of marketing, distribution, logistics and administrative services, and will be presented at next week’s Comdex/Fall in Las Vegas. Aimed particularly at small- and medium-sized companies that find the costs of a full-blown subsidiary prohibitive, but are nervous about finding a reputable distributor from across the ocean, HomeBase is being offered by Ferrari’s Computer Packaging Group Ltd, one of its four computer marketing and logistics companies. As well as the high-tech marketing and consulting flackery Regis McKenna, and Saatchi’s Acme Media media-buying unit, the HomeBase team includes the MD&A advertising agency, account-ants Ernst & Whinney, and personnel and office services specialist Drake International, and British Airways. The service offered includes European market analysis, business plan, advertising, public relations and trade shows. Clients get to share an fully-equipped office in Slough, Berkshire, close by Heathrow Airport, and HomeBase also uses the Computer Packaging Group’s logistics facilities in Havant, close by IBM’s UK home on the Hampshire coast. Each company will be allocated a 5,000-square-foot logistics suite for testing, assembly and storage. The facility is complemented by two 35,000-square-foot facilities, one near Heathrow, the other near Charles de Gaulle, Paris. HomeBase handles point-to-point logistics for products including warehousing in Britain and France, export licensing, air freight, testing, assembly, dispatch or re-export, locally based repair, maintenance and training. Through HomeBase, a company can be fully operational within four to six weeks, compared to the six months usually required to open a subsidiary. Although HomeBase handles logistics and shipping associated with distributing a product, it is not a distributor – sales will be the responsibility of a company representative. In the UK, company representatives sell their products direct to the dealer, which means manufacturers retain the margins usually paid to distributors. Ferrari’s idea is that the additional profit in margin pays for the HomeBase service, enablig a company to have a European subsidiary at no cost. Outside the UK, the sales focus has to be to distributors, but Ferrari reckons that North American companies using HomeBase will substantially increase their chances of getting product lines accepted by top European distributors because products are shipped from England instead of thousands of miles away. Products are also serviced in Europe through HomeBase, eliminating the need to ship them back to North America for repairs. HomeBase is available immediately through Computer Packaging Group Ltd. Pricing varies depending upon customer needs.

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