Creating a viable plan for trading across a dynamic geography As the EU continues to expand, European businesses must look to how they can trade across increasing numbers of regional boundaries, languages, cultures and laws, both within the EU and across the greater Europe. The opportunities are huge - but the problems will daunt many who wish to enter into a pan-European trading environment.
- The EU is the largest economic bloc in the world - and yet European organisations are not making the most of it The GDP of the EU is over $17t, yet fewer than 3% of European organisations trade outside of their own country's boundaries. Overall, Europe's GDP of over $20t makes it 50% larger than that of the second placed trading bloc, the US
- Although the EU is meant to be moving to a single, harmonised market, it has a long way to go yet A mixture of new EU laws, combined with existing country-specific laws and the remnants of older free trade agreements makes the trading landscape in Europe overly complex
- Language remains a major issue For large organisations, English is the de facto language of trade and commerce. However, as we move down to small and medium enterprises, language capabilities can be less assured and, when dealing with specifications and contracts, this can be a major issue
- Europe will remain a dynamic environment The EU still has plans to grow and the addition of new countries will drive further needs to change EU laws. This will also change existing free trade agreements and other trading agreements between those choosing to remain outside the EU or failing to meet the criteria for membership
- Trust is not the easiest thing to manage across such a diverse market The different cultures and approaches to business across such a culturally diverse market is, in itself, a problem. When combined with issues around how well, or poorly, relatively new democratic governments are dealing with issues such as corruption and criminal elements makes trust a minefield for many
- Organisations cannot look at managing this environment as a core competency The cost of skilled resource and maintaining current knowledge in the many complex areas of B2B trading across Europe is well outside the capabilities of the vast majority of organisations
- Outsourcing the problem enables participation while focusing on core competencies External providers managing their own networks with services focused on providing B2B transaction capabilities ensure that organisations can be part of the pan-European market at minimal risk
Conclusions Europe is a complex market, yet it has too many opportunities for businesses to ignore. The possibilities for ensuring best value supply of parts and assemblies, alongside the need to identify new customers, means that such a massive financial and resource base cannot be overlooked. From basic problems such as language, through common issues such as complex and changing legal frameworks, to issues such as the trustworthiness and quality capabilities of partners, Europe is far too large an issue for individual organisations to deal with. Through the use of external providers focused on the provision of B2B value chain transactional management capabilities, Quocirca believes that organisations can effectively become part of the greater European environment and, as such, optimise their cost base while maximising their B2B sales capabilities.
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