TROY — Thanks to assistance from Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, another international company is setting up shop in Southeast Michigan. Automation Alley International Business Center tenant Reply Inc., of Turin, Italy, has found a permanent home in Auburn Hills and is looking to hire local employees.
Reply, part of the holding company Reply Group, is a consulting, systems integration, application management and business process outsourcing company that works in new communication networks and digital media. The company’s top customers include Chrysler Group and CNH, the industrial branch of Fiat.
In addition to Italy, Reply Group also has locations in Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, Luxembourg and Brazil. Gianluca Di Stefano, president of Reply Inc., said the company opened an office in Illinois in August and wanted to expand its business further in North America to be closer to the automotive industry.
“We believe Michigan is the automotive center in North America, and we wanted to be as close as possible to Chrysler. We are now within walking distance in Auburn Hills,” Di Stefano said.
To make this possible, Di Stefano sought help from Oakland County, who matched him with Automation Alley.
Since 2011, Automation Alley has assisted eight foreign companies with establishing their operations in Southeast Michigan, which has created 368 jobs for the region. Di Stefano estimates Reply, Inc. will employ 15-20 employees in 2013.
“The most important thing was to have a place to start working while the office was being built because we were already engaged in some preliminary activity with our customers,” Di Stefano said. “So Oakland County gave me the opportunity to meet with the people at Automation Alley’s International Business Center. I’ve been lucky to find a place to stay.”
Automation Alley’s International Business Center, located inside Automation Alley headquarters in Troy, provides space for international companies to use as a home base for up to 90 days while they explore opportunities to do business in Southeast Michigan. The 3,200-square-foot space includes three meeting rooms with communications technology, three private offices, an open office area and convenient access to Automation Alley’s International Business Services staff.
“On a weekly basis, we used Automation Alley’s video conferencing technology. It’s been one of the most important facilities they have here because in Italy we used exactly the same system, so we didn’t have to do anything to configure it,” Di Stefano said. “It’s been very useful. I’ve used it to do some interviews with customers in Italy. I brought some people from Chrysler here to Automation Alley and we do video conferencing with Reply in Milan and Turin.”
In addition to temporary office space, tenants of the International Business Center receive assistance with site selection and introductions to potential business partners, clients and employees to jump-start their business.
“It’s not just simply being here with a desk and a chair. It has been a very helpful environment in many ways,” Di Stefano said, adding that, now, as an Automation Alley member organization, these services will continue to pay off for his company. “Automation Alley opens the opportunity for networking because other members could be potential new customers.”
For more information on International Business Services, contact the Automation Alley Resource Center at (800) 427-5100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.