How the Dutch are doing business in Romania

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Many Dutch companies have found their way to Romania. For years, the Netherlands has been the number 1 foreign investor in Romania and a top 10 trading partner. It’s clear that Dutch companies enjoy doing business here, and even shifted part of their production and other facilities for economic and strategic reasons. Let’s hear from some Dutch companies about the success of their businesses in Romania.

Dragos Geletu, managing director Kuijken Logistics Group (KLG)

Could you tell us about your company in Romania?

Geletu: KLG Europe offers worldwide logistic services, from transport by road, water or rail to value added services in our modern warehouses. KLG is family owned company that has 100 years of history, 3 generations, with its headquarters in Venlo, the Netherlands. We opened KLG Romania 12 years ago starting from zero, now having a company of EUR 40 million turnover, over 500 employees, over 70.000 sq m of warehousing space with modern technologies and an investment of over EUR 30 million. In Romania, KLG has experienced one of the most dynamic growth over the last years. The head office of KLG Romania is located in Bucharest, we are active in 8 other locations: Cluj Napoca, Constanta, Craiova, Brasov, Timisoara, Bacau, Buzau and Sibiu.

What makes doing business in Romania attractive?

Geletu: KLG decided to invest in Romania especially for the great potential of people. That was the main reason and it is still important element of our future strategy. We believe in the potential of Romania and its people.

How do you see your business develop in the coming years?

Geletu: We will for sure grow in the same way as for the last years probably not only organic but also through investments and acquisitions.

 

Mr. Vassilis Stavrou, CEO Mega Image

Could you tell us about your company in Romania?

Stavrou: Since our first supermarket opened in 1995, we have grown to become a loved brand on the Romanian market, with a particularly strong presence in Bucharest as the no. 1 supermarket awarded by our clients. At this moment, our network has over 600 stores around the country, with a team of over 11.000 people working together to bring fresh inspiration to our customers every day and helping them enjoy their life.

At the heart of Mega Image growth and expansion on the local market is the unique philosophy based on the simple idea of making our customers enjoy their life. To bring this philosophy to life, our vital business assets are proximity, enhanced food experience, best shopping experience, quality and innovation. Our customers turn to us for the difference we make through innovative, great value products and best price, and also through our stores design, whether they are looking for healthy food, cooking inspiration or just something different to celebrate a special occasion.

What makes doing business in Romania attractive?

Stavrou: The competitive retail market is moving at high speed, with a continuous evolution and growth every year. Romanian consumers have an imperative role in guiding the entire retail market, acting as very active consumers, adopters of recent trends and demanding for best offers and quality services. In the latest years, Romanian consumers have become more attentive to what they buy and, in the meantime, they have added a new selection filter for any purchase, along with price and quality: it’s about the store experience.

In a highly competitive market with high demands from consumers, Mega Image stands out as more than a supermarket, but as one of Romanians’ best loved and responsible retailers. The secret behind this achievement is a constant meet of consumers’ needs through food experience and an inspiring shopping experience in all the stores, especially in the Concept Stores that offer an ultimate customer experience.

How do you see your business develop in the coming years?

Stavrou: We’ve started this journey more than 20 years ago and we believe we made a valuable change in what the shopping experience means for Romanians. We’ll go further and continue to be more than a supermarket, but an inspiring brand, continuously evolving and bringing fresh inspiration every day.

 

Herman Wierenga, managing director ORTEC

Could you tell us about your company in Romania? Wierenga: The story of ORTEC Central and Eastern Europe began in 2008 when I, together with a colleague, established a division in Bucharest, to support ORTEC’s customers in the region. Now, we have become one of the largest Dutch tech companies in Romania and continuously strive to positively impact the market and the next IT&C generation, through smart mathematical solutions, a strong regional presence, partnerships with universities and more. During our 10 years of activity, we developed at a sustainable pace, we hired more people every year, reaching 160 people and grew our customer base to over 100 organizations. The most profitable areas for us are transport, logistics, and retail. ORTEC will continue to invest in our Romanian operations. We will start up new research & development teams in Bucharest and also in other areas we are continuously expanding.

What makes doing business in Romania attractive?

Wierenga: We consider Romania as much more than an outsourcing location: it is a great place for building a business, to expand our worldwide presence and to excel in research, development & innovation. Romania has a lot of talented IT professionals who are flexible, smart and independent. We are global leader in the field of Planning & Optimization, we make, sell and implement our own products and our developers in Bucharest work with the newest technologies and innovations. I think this is also the future for Romania’s IT sector: less focus on outsourcing and more focus on software creation, research & development. We’ve had the pleasure of working with leading companies delivering added value to their business-critical processes through the power of mathematics. By creating and developing ORTEC’s collaboration with universities, we bring together our experts, support education with best practices in the field and provide a platform for research, development and innovation.

How do you see your business develop in the coming years?

Wierenga: We will continue our rapid growth in Central and Eastern Europe from our regional headquarters in Bucharest. The demand for our solutions in the region is growing, as companies understand more and more the need for efficiency, automation and optimization. And, because our Romanian staff is also very appreciated by our customers outside the CEE region, we also foresee an expansion of the number of people working for global projects and software development.

 

Michal Szczurek, CEO ING Bank Romania

Could you tell us about your company in Romania?

Szczurek: ING Bank Romania is the first foreign bank to enter the Romanian market after communism, 24 years ago, and since then it has been a benchmark of innovation. We were the first supplier of electronic banking services in 1995 and, in 2004, the first to introduce the SelfBank concept. Now ING is well-known for its digital services, including internet banking services for both retail and corporate, and its banking products available online on all three business lines: wholesale banking, mid-corporate and retail.

With great focus on customer experience put in by the 3000 people working for ING in the country, we reported the highest organic growth among the top ten banks in the country and finished 2017 as the 6th bank according to assets and 4th according to profit.

What makes doing business in Romania attractive?

Szczurek: If I were to choose the top three reasons why doing business in Romania is attractive, I would summarize those in three areas: dynamic growth in banking sector; demanding clients and great people.

Romania is a growth market and we believe there is room for growth and innovation, emphasizing on digital and technological advancement. Our clients demand more of us every day comparing us not with other banks, but with top digital platforms worldwide.

We have great people within ING who thrive on change and innovation and we continue to look for and  find great people in Romania that help us grow and meet the challenges our clients raise.

The fast pace in which ING grew also demanded more involvement in the local communities in Romania. In the past four years, we grew our CSR investment from EUR 0.9 million to EUR 7.8 million, focusing on promoting entrepreneurship, empowering people to deal with financial problems, supporting urban development and community development programs.

How do you see your business develop in the coming years?

Szczurek: We invested approximately EUR 10 million per year in digitalizing our services and products so that we meet not only our customers’ needs today, but the global trends of tomorrow. We believe the rate of growth will remain positive and there is still room for organic growth on all business lines.

However, when it comes to banking services, I believe customer experience will be the game changer and I trust our fantastic ING team will continue to rise to the challenge to continuously improve customer experience.