by Mário Romão
INESC's Research and Development activities led 1987 to the development of two systems, "ELENIX" for office automation and "ELENA" for postal automation, requiring the application of a product and market driven approach. SMD Informática, the first associate company of the recently created AITEC was formed in July with this object in mind.
SMD, using the services of professional managers, had only had one customer support team for its commercial sector between its start-up date and 1989. SMD, however, increased the number of its staff at the end of 1989 by employing the persons who had developed ELENIX within INESC, owing to short term development needs which were not compatible with the R&D effort and within a technology transfer context. SMD currently employs a team of 60 people and its sales turnover is expected to be in the region of 4.8 MECU.
The company's association with INESC's R&D activity remains a constant fundamental factor of innovation within the company which works very closely with INESC for improving and enhancing its range of products which have already been sold on the marketplace as well as on the development of prototypes such as "APM" - Automatic Post Machine for postal automation. SMD has also continued to be heavily involved in European projects, particularly ESPRIT.
SMD launched an internationalisation strategy in 1992 by setting up the company SMD do Brasil Informática in Brazil which is a wholly owned subsidiary of SMD Informática. The company intensified its activities at the beginning of 1994 and currently employs 12 staff on a full time basis. Its 1995 sales turnover is expected to be in the region of 750 KECU with growth rates of around 100% per annum over the coming years.
After Brazil, the company turned its attentions towards Spain for reasons based on geographical proximity. SMD has selected the company EURAITEC (an AITEC associate) for representing its products. The translation of the product and its respective manuals into Castilian Spanish was one of the tasks which made it possible to tackle the market using a similar approach to the one used for the Portuguese market. SMD's efforts to internationalise its activities are now being targeted at Spanish speaking countries in Latin America and Middle East countries, concentrating on ELENIX Multimedia and associated products.