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Expert Insights: Eli Hamacher | Freelance business journalist

Published in July 2018

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“Few countries achieve such high economic growth as India. After a small dent in the previous year, Gross Domestic Product should again expand by more than 7% in 2018,” said the head of Economic and Real Estate Analysis at Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen at the recent India Day event in Köln, Germany.

India as a procurement market is becoming more and more attractive. In 2012, for example, the largest Swiss retailer Migros opened their first purchasing office in Gurugram (part of the National Capital Region along with New Delhi). Today, 30 employees take care of the procurement for Migros from India.

Textiles are still the largest sector, says Mr. Sascha Ergezinger, Managing Director of Migros India Private Ltd., but ​​food is catching up. A big plus of the Indian market that Mr. Ergenziner emphasizes is that India, unlike China, can deliver small quantities. All products are packaged ready for sale on site and then transported to Europe. In order to find the right partners in this huge, extremely confusing market, networking is everything.

“It usually takes half a year from the start of a supplier search to the signing of the contract with a new partner.”

Quality assurance plays an important role in purchasing from India, and Migros works together with the world’s fourth largest inspection, testing and certification company Intertek. The Intertek Group already employs about 2,000 people in the subcontinent and is represented with test laboratories in all important economic centers. For Mr. Martin Mündler, Director of Global Project & Service Management at Intertek Holding Deutschland, it is essential that European buyers look very closely at the entire supply chain and inspect purchased goods before shipment for integrity – including pollutants. “Transportation on India’s roads, often with potholes and the high humidity in the monsoon season can quickly cause goods to spoil.”

Empathy also play a major role in purchasing says Henri-Jacques Topf, Chairman of Schneider International, which has been producing metal castings and plastic parts in Pondicherry (southeast of the country) since 2012. Schneider currently employs 250 people in India. “I have spent four hours with a supplier in an Indian temple. You have to get involved like that.”

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