As far as the UK sourcing market is concerned, Romania has been on the periphery of the sourcing radar for some time now, but has never really made it to the front and centre.
Certainly, there is a general awareness of Romania as an outsourcing destination, amongst the most critical section of the sourcing community — the buyers, but the fact is that the country lacks real presence in the UK in this area on a macro level. In fact, there are other countries in the region that are arguably less capable than Romania, but that enjoy greater visibility because they are more actively engaged with the market.
What is perhaps ironic is that a large number of Global Sourcing Association (GSA) members or organisations who regularly attend our events, actually do have active operations in Romania; Conectys, Stefanini, Atos, Webhelp, Accenture, Capgemini, Wipro, Genpact, Ciklum, Telus International, WNS Global Services and EXL to name but a few!
The competitive nature of outsourcing, however, makes it very unlikely that they will ever come together and collectively shout about what a wonderful value proposition Romania is (indeed, all of these organisations also have operations in a diverse number of countries within and outside the CEE region). The responsibility for this, then, falls to the representative trade bodies, the municipalities and the central government bodies for trade and investment within the country itself, plus perhaps other interested private enterprises also, who are vested in Romania’s success.
These organisations not only need to collectively agree what ‘Brand Romania’ actually is, but they must work together to ensure that there is complete alignment right across the value chain; consistency of messaging is critical when promoting a country or region for future investment. Then they need to have a joined up go-to-market strategy that involves actively engaging with UK buyers at the market level. This means having boots on the ground in the UK, and making their voices heard. Luckily, there are organisations such as the GSA, or the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce, which can provide advice and support, as well as actively facilitating market-level engagement where it is required.
Between Bucharest and Cluj there is something in the region of 80,000 people employed in the business services sector in Romania. According to some analysts, this number is expected to grow to 200,000 by 2020 — a faster growth rate than that predicted for its ‘older’ sourcing neighbour Poland, over the same period, and a larger increase than countries such as the Czech Republic and Lithuania.
With something like 21 weekly flights from London to Bucharest, providing easy access to a multi-lingual, highly talented workforce and a generally high quality of life, it’s little wonder that major brands such as Vodafone, Xerox, Microsoft, Oracle, Proctor & Gamble, IBM and Intel already have facilities there — it’s just that no one is shouting about it!
Yes, Romania is definitely an emerging sourcing delivery destination with considerable potential; they just need to have the confidence to step out of the shadows and socialise their achievements more — loudly and proudly. With the spectre of Brexit currently hanging over the UK, forcing buyers to review their sourcing location strategies, there will never be a better opportunity for them to do so!
The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.