© Components | March 22, 2013

Poland – moving on up

Poland – the new European hub for Farnell element14. What does the country really offer that others do not?

Come May, Farnell element14’s huge investment in Poland will have its first birthday party. And – with a year in – we felt that it was time for an update. Evertiq had a chat with Robert Rospedzihowski, Commercial Sales Director, Europe. Why did you decide on Poland to become the European hub location?
One of the critical factors for choosing Krakow was that it is very cosmopolitan
Truth be told, there are loads of exciting and beautiful places to be found all over Europe. All have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to setting up business. So, Poland seems to be able to offer something that others cannot. “We considered every city that we currently have a base in. So we evaluated a lot of cities. But one of the critical factors for choosing Krakow was that it is very cosmopolitan. It already had a number of what's called shared service centres. This is where multinational companies have invested in support of finance, IT and customers service. And for us it was about availability of resource and there are some is excellent university’s support in Krakow led by the Jagellonian University and support we received from the AISEC student board in Krakow Poland.” While all of this did make an impact, the closeness to universities and fresh talent was the 'deal clincher' for Krakow. “But ultimately, the decision was made on how pure the spoken language is – and we were pleasantly surprised on how well Polish students were speaking fluent French, Spanish, German and English – even languages like Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian. These are not as common in that part of the world, but we found a good range of people in possession of these language capabilities, and that was a key decision maker in terms of how we wanted to continue with our investment.” “We were also looking to build on our direct investment into Eastern Europe which commenced five years ago. Which obviously benefits from the entry of Eastern European countries to the EU-market.” In May, the company will be a year in with its Krakow investment and the first employees – the 'newbies' were put through a thorough introduction program to familiarise themselves with the business and the online activity. “More and more costumers operate in an online environment and our investment in Krakow really links with the drive to an online way of doing business.” And with focusing all sales personal in one location – the company has completely swept all language barriers off the table, the manager assures us. “When we launch new products or we launch a new supplier – and we want to facilitate a kickoff, we can do it in the English language – and then each individual employee takes that message into their home market – and it has proven to be a key differentiator for us in what we call our multichannel sales model.”
I'm pretty sure that our competitors are looking at our model and what we've created – it's always good to lead and not to follow
And with an investment of this scale, one must ask whether Poland is turning into a new European hub for the electronics industry “I'm pretty sure that our competitors are looking at our model and what we've created – it's always good to lead and not to follow. Poland, historically and geographically is in the centre of Europe; if you add in Russia to the equation. It's very well placed and it's improving its communication and transportation. There have also been significant investments into the country from an electronics manufacturing point of view and increasingly from a technology point of view as well.” Considering your investment in Poland – do you feel the eyes of your competitors on you? “We are focused on our business and ensuring that we are best placed to service our customers. While we are always aware of what our competitors are up to putting the customer at the heart of our operation is key to delivering our strategy.”
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