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Doing Business in Europe – Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities

Supply Chain | Europe Supply Chain | Europe

By Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

During a recent trip to Europe, I asked for what I thought was cannelloni at a Flemish restaurant. Clyde Sharpe, our President of International Sales, was also feeling adventurous when he ordered a meal from a menu that neither of us could translate. We shared a laugh as I sampled a dish of salad with shrimp, and Clyde stomached slices of pizza topped with tuna and salmon. It’s good to take chances and try new cuisine, but making a decision without good information can leave you hungry.

Unlike our dinner, the trip to Europe was planned carefully and well in advance. From Montreal, Canada, we flew first to Milan, Italy and then to Brussels, Belgium. In both countries, Clyde and I met with key suppliers and learned how the economic slowdown is affecting major manufacturers across the continent. Big companies in the chemical and automotive industries are consolidating operations and closing facilities.  This poses a challenge to the European economy, but also provides an opportunity for small-to-medium sized enterprises (SME) like Elasto Proxy.

Whenever original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) maximize their business models and reject small production runs, SMEs stand to gain new customers. Not every buyer needs large quantities, of course, and leaner suppliers can fill demand quickly. As an SME that strengthens your supply chain, Elasto Proxy is responsive and attentive to customer needs. So while some companies may worry about what OEM consolidations mean for them, we see Europe’s challenges as an opportunity.

As Clyde and I learned, Elasto Proxy is also structurally similar to European partners who share our company’s financial stability and management experience. By listening to all of their requirements and analyzing all of their needs, we know we can find win/win solutions in these challenging economic times.

There’s plenty of good news in Europe if you know where to find it. Clyde and I flew on Ryan Air for just 29 Euros, and we were very impressed by the customer service, speed, and reliability of the rail system. (We’re proud to help move the mass transit industry there!) So while our dinner in a Flemish restaurant was more memorable than delectable, we did learn how Europe’s economic challenges can help satisfy our company’s hunger for new business opportunities.