Western Balkans purchasing initiative starts using digital B2B-machmakings

by David Fleschen

The Western Balkans purchasing initiative has a firm place in the appointment calendar of German buyers. This is also visible at the business and contact exchange organized jointly by the BME and the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) of the Western Balkans 2020 for the sixth time. The Western Balkans Purchasing Initiative is an integral part of the SME Market Development Program (MEP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and will be conducted digitally for the first time this year. It gives more than 30 buyers from 28 German industrial companies the opportunity to negotiate online with more than 150 qualified suppliers from the Western Balkans region about concrete business and cooperation opportunities in a qualified B2B process during virtual B2B weeks from September 8 to 24.

"In Corona times, many things are different; but with 28 German industrial companies participating in the online B2B matchmakings, we have exceeded our own expectations," emphasized Olaf Holzgrefe, Head of International & Affairs of the German Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics. (BME), on Tuesday in Eschborn. Actually, BME, AHK and BMWi together with the Rhine-Neckar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK Rhein-Neckar) had intended to welcome the buyers and suppliers personally in Mannheim this year, but the pandemic made it necessary to rethink our approach. Holzgrefe: "Nevertheless, the Western Balkans purchasing initiative is still a great success in 2020 despite the Corona crisis. This is shown by the broad interest of German companies as well as potential suppliers from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania. "The quality and preparation of companies from the Western Balkans has improved steadily in recent years. Many German companies have been able to continuously develop and expand their supplier base in this region with the help of the BME," Holzgrefe explained. He added that it is important to BME and BMWI that both sides - buyers and suppliers - benefit from the B2B matchmakings in the long term.

"The main goal of the Western Balkans purchasing initiative is to make this economic area more competitive and to gradually introduce it to the challenges of the European internal market," said Dr. Kirsten Scholl, head of the BMWi's European department. In recent years, the buyers' conference has established itself as a successful instrument for actively supporting the development of the export power of the Western Balkans, increasing the security of supply chains and continuously optimizing supply routes. Scholl: "We have succeeded in adapting and digitizing the format in the shortest possible time to the changed conditions resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic, thus setting an important sign of continuity even in these difficult times".

"As a manufacturer of 3D measuring and laser technology, our company is interested in qualitative suppliers especially now in the crisis", explained Simone Rank, Director Purchasing of Precitec GmbH & Co KG). For the Baden-Württemberg technology company, the purchasing initiative of the BME and the BMWI is the ideal platform for finding new partners in Europe efficiently and result-oriented. In particular the good qualitative preliminary work of the BME and the local AHK partners as well as the experience of the association in B2B processes is a real benefit for her as Purchasing Director, Rank continues. "It is important to find the right partners quickly and thus to initiate solutions for our company which at the same time contribute to our strategy. The Western Balkans still offer great potential in individual product groups," Rank added in conclusion.

Source: BME, Photo: Fotolia

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