”To operate even more globally” – this is a shared conclusion of the participants to the panel of transactions in distributed organisational structures during the Marketplanet OnePlace Conference. “Whether to be global is not a question today. This is simply be, or not to be, on the market. And we should act quickly”, said Mariusz Geraltowski, Global Sourcing Head Marketing at Novartis Pharma AG. The global approach is an everyday reality in today’s business, and Poland has got certain commercial advantages that we could make use of. Unfortunately, our operations outside Poland are often restrained by some psychological barriers such as: lack of confidence and creativity in business behaviour, widespread reluctance to take risks and insufficient market communication skills.

Be global everyday

Today, being a global company is not just an option, it is a must. The global approach, which in 90’s was a rather abstract concept, has nowadays become a business standard. We deal with globalisation every day, working for international corporations or purchasing from international suppliers. Ilona Szmitz-Hajduczek, Purchasing Director in Netia, is straightforward about it: “We would not be able to operate without making use of the global effect.” For Netia, globalisation is “providing the world online”. Being a technological company, Netia uses global tools on a day-to-day basis. “Nowadays we need to pursue technological advances”. Andrzej Molski, President of Young Digital Planet, quoted the words of professor Janusz Czapliński, “If our average salary exceeds the EU level, all washing machine and TV assembly plants will move to other countries”. The conclusion is obvious – “We have to open up for other markets, because where there is margin, there is know-how and knowledge”, said the YDP President.

Young Digital Planet is a company operating in education industry and belongs to the Finnish media group, Sanoma. The ICT Shared Services Center is expected to consolidate units responsible for ICT in individual companies of the group and centralise purchasing and cost centres, including business applications as well as technology maintenance and allocation. The project’s aim is to find the room for savings, but also to share knowledge and experience and to reduce the number of equipment and technology suppliers.

Danone knows how to operate globally

Pursuing the idea “to operate even more globally”, it should be pointed out that it is necessary to search for process optimisation in all areas of operations of a global company, including the supply chain – emphasizes Adam Jonczyk, Marketplanet Sales Director. One example of a tool that supports supply chain optimisation is the solution by IBM – ILOG LogicNet Plus XE. Being IBM’s partner, Marketplanet participates in implementation projects of this product.
IBM – ILOG LogicNet Plus XE (iLOG Group product) is a specialised programme for supply chain designing and optimisation, including production supply elements, which can be applied in an ongoing strategic planning. The Marketplanet Sales Director presented two case studies to illustrate the use of this tool. One of the cases was a project introduced for the DANONE Group formed by a merger between BSN, a producer of glass packaging and beverages, and Geravis Danone, a food manufacturer. The Danone Group had an evident business need to implement a flexible solution for optimisation of the key efficiency indicators such as: inventory coverage, operational efficiency, use of infrastructure/machine park, waste management, switching, machine park maintenance, strategies, “what-if”.

The implementation of iLOG solutions resulted in:

  • Transition from a once a week planning to a model of an integrated “if needed” planning.
  • The possibility of on-line analyses of the impact of new production/plans and orders on the plant’s and supply chain’s efficiency.
  • Improved cooperation between the production department and the supply chain (internal negotiations).
  • User-friendly interface.
  • The entire production process being covered by optimisation, including: semi-products, maintenance and waste management.

Have courage, leave complexes behind

As mentioned by Mariusz Geraltowski, Poland has got advantages that can be used on the global market – we are more innovative and enterprising. On the other hand, what could be our limitation is the lack of long experience in market economy. Also, there are some important mental barriers that can be noticed, for example, in client-supplier relations, with suppliers being afraid that they would not be treated seriously. Therefore, in Poland, we should try to improve the client-market dialogue. There is a tendency to take a predictable position and this could be, in the case of big companies, due to insufficient client confrontation. This is an obstacle, because your own judgement and discussion competences are essential in business relations today. What is the solution? – have more courage.

Two kinds of companies in the future – fast and inactive

Partners – local or global? “There is no development without exchange”, reminded Ilona Szmitz-Hajduczek. She pointed out that establishing contacts with foreign suppliers is valuable for a company, and presented the mixture of cultures as an element that builds the company. Netia cooperates with suppliers all over the world, whereas in Poland it uses the services of an “integrator” supplier that deals with, among others, marketing of technological devices. “We think globally, but operate through a local partner”. This kind of process generates legal and functional benefits as well as accelerates procedures. However, as she mentioned, the supplier selection depends on the company’s specificity and there is not one universal way. As far as Polish suppliers’ cooperation with international buyers is concerned, one noticeable obstacle is their reluctance to take risk, as Mariusz Geraltowski mentioned. The solution is to look for the moments of the organisation’s willingness to take higher risk, for example, when under the cost pressure, which often provides inspiration to search for new ideas. Exploring solutions rather than products, creates a substantial space for enterprise and innovation.

How global do you wish to be?

The direction of the company’s cooperation with suppliers determines how global it is going to be. Cooperation with a global supplier requires patience and time. It depends on a globalisation strategy taken by the company, its readiness to expose to risks and its idea for ‘being global”. The company should also be fully aware of the cultural specificity of its global partner. Mariusz Geraltowski encouraged us to be the citizens of the world in business and take an expansive approach towards the international market. Andrzej Molski noted that is was good that Polish people were proud of their nationality, but they also had to learn how to be humble in business.