“Doing business internationally in challenging times”
Munich, June 2017
The world’s largest trade fair for the drinks and liquid food industry will take place in Munich from 11 – 15 September 2017. Organisers are already expecting a record 1600 exhibitors – whose stands will cover 150,000 m² – and welcome around 70,000 visitors. Impressive numbers. Sinalco will, of course, be there. You can find us in the Sinalco Lounge in Hall B1.1 Lounge.
The Messe München – the hosts of the drinktec – organised a press conference for the trade press, where they presented the facts and figures surrounding this major event. Journalists were also invited to a discussion with a panel of top industry experts. The subject under discussion: Doing business internationally in challenging times.
On the discussion panel were: Volker Kronseder – Chairman of the Advisory Board of Krones AG, Prof. Dr. Matthias Niemeyer – Managing Director of KHS GmbH, Dr. Reiner Brambach – Director of Sales & Design at Enviro Chemie GmbH, Georg Schneider ¬– Managing Director of Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH and President of the Bavarian Brewing Association, and Mario Mais – Brand Consulting Manager at Sinalco International Brands GmbH & Co. KG.
“The world has always been changing”
“The world has always been changing,” said Georg Schneider right at the beginning of the discussion. New and changing challenges, including markets closed off by protectionist measures, have always been part of doing business internationally. The discussion provided three basic forms of answer to protectionism: Do not deliver to protected markets, accept the tariffs charged, or produce within the market itself.
“For drinks it makes no logistical sense to produce everything in one place and ship it across the world,” said Mario Mais. That is why Sinalco is produced in local markets through a licensing system. Prof. Dr. Matthias Niemeyer pointed out that it is impossible to do everything on your own in a globalised world: “That is why protectionism is the wrong strategy.”
Food and drinks industry is profiting from reduced poverty and growing wealth
Consumers purchase branded products and are prepared to pay more money for them, because they wish to reward themselves with, for example, a top-brand drink. “But if a brand does not convince the consumer first time, then that’s that. It will not be bought a second time,” warned Mario Mais. That is why it is extremely important to work with well-connected local partners, who can help to adjust recipes to fit local tastes. “In Arabian markets Sinalco Orange needs to actually be orange, rather than yellow as it is in Europe,” explained Mais.
Volker Kronseder emphasised a further advantage of free international trade: “Local services can be delivered by local people.” And that means that jobs for qualified people are created, which is an important contribution towards economic development in many parts of the world.
Business is done by people, not politicians
However protectionism and populism may complicate things, all were in agreement that business is done by people, not politicians. The panel emphasised how important personal relationships and the building of networks are for closing deals. And how relationships can also help to overcome political hesitance.
drinktec: Delivering impulses for the next four years
“And what do panel members expect from the drinktec 2017?” In his answer to this final question posed by moderator Kilian Reichert, Mario Mais looked forward to seeing industry players from all around the world and a wide range of products and services: “We can meet new franchise partners and talk about suitable machinery and bottling plants, which they can take a look at straight away.”
Dr. Reiner Brambach, Georg Schneider and Prof. Dr. Niemeyer all emphasised the chance to meet people face-to-face: “At the drinktec you can meet friends from all around the world. This truly global feeling is wonderful.” And Volker Kronseder – who is also President of the Expert Advisory Committee – was sure that “the drinktec will deliver impulses which will set the tone for the next four years”.