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18 FOCUS PSI Journal 5/2016 redistribution dynamics that is leading to factory closures, uncertainties in personnel planning and a constant change of the upstream suppliers of our manufacturers. QUITE SIGNIFICANT TASKS This has given rise to considerable responsibilities for us to ensure the punctual, quality­conform delivery of ordered goods. More and more suppliers from Europe or producing countries near Europe are being given a chance. They are scoring points through short distances and therefore short delivery times, as well as transparent supply chains with labour costs that are not significantly higher. DYNAMIC PURCHASE FACTORS In combination with highly volatile currency fluctuations of the RMB versus the dollar and the dollar versus the euro, dynamic purchase factors are faced with sales prices that can hardly be increased. In our excessively competitive market, the matter­of­fact argumentation of aiming to achieve reasonable delivery prices for the buyers is becoming one of the key tasks. We are delighted that the EU is attaching greater importance to monitoring product safety. »The situation has strengthened our German production.« GÜNTHER SPERBER, ELASTO The situation in China has worsened over the years due to continuous cost increases. The government has intensified its directives, especially in the areas of environmental and social security, which of course affects prices extremely. In addition, the slowdown in economic growth has caused problems, especially for many small manufacturers who are finding it difficult to compete in the market. EUROPEAN PRODUCTS ARE BECOMING MORE ATTRACTIVE At the moment, there is no alternative to China. However, shifts in the next few years can be expected: New reference markets will emerge. Of course, the situation has strengthened our German production, as it is now quite profitable to relocate production from China to Germany for certain articles. Sourcing from other European countries is also becoming more and more attractive. RECOGNIZING TRENDS EARLY It is important to always be close to suppliers and to work together with long­term partners. This is why we visit our Chinese producers several times a year. This also helps us to recognize current market developments and trends early. »When export weakens, suppliers become more flexible.« CHRISTIAN HUFF, MACMA More, more, more – this cannot be sustained over the long term. It was expected that the growth rate would eventually fall. In Europe, having a growth rate of 7 per cent would be reason enough to celebrate. BENEFITS FOR IMPORTERS When export weakens, you become more flexible and are more likely to respond to customer wishes. We are noticing this now in China – and as an importer this is an advantage for us. Prices should not be renegotiated too often, however, as that would clearly be at the expense of quality. If a supplier is in financial difficulties, he is more likely to try to deliver earlier in order to get his money. So far, however, we have not noticed faster deliveries. ESTABLISHED RELATIONS Nevertheless, we will continue to focus on suppliers whom we can trust. Established relations are always beneficial. We are long­distance runners and not sprinters. I think everyone needs to decide how best to deal with his problems. There are simply too many different needs and solutions.

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