Table of contents:
- Germany has been Poland's most important machine supplier for years
- Uncertainty leads to slower growth
- There is great interest in automation, implementation is difficult
Video: Poland Is An Important Trading Partner For German Machine Builders
Poland has become an important trading partner for machine builders from Germany in recent years. According to the VDMA, this year's host country of the Hanover Fair has long since expanded its role as an extended workbench of the West, and the quality of Polish companies has improved.
Germany has been Poland's most important machine supplier for years
"When analyzing the location of a planned investment, Poland has been an interesting choice for German mechanical engineering for many years," explains Yvonne Heidler, Eastern Europe expert at VDMA Foreign Trade. "Solid growth rates, attractive labor costs, geographical proximity to Germany, the quality of the suppliers and a well-trained workforce are impressive," she says.
This should also be shown in the country statistics of German mechanical engineering: In the export ranking, Poland was ranked 8th last year. In total, machines and systems from Germany worth 5.7 billion euros were delivered to the neighboring country in 2016. "Compared to the previous year, exports rose by 0.9%," says Heidler. The machines came primarily from the specialist fields of general ventilation technology, drive technology, machine tools and conveyor technology. According to the VDMA, Germany has been Poland's most important machine supplier for years. In 2015, 34.5% of the imported machines came from the Federal Republic, Italy, China and the USA were far behind.
Uncertainty leads to slower growth
The pace of machine exports to Poland slowed in 2016 compared to the previous year, when exports increased by 14%. However, the VDMA sees no ongoing trend in this. According to the association, the causes are the sluggish distribution of EU funds and the uncertainty among entrepreneurs after the right-wing conservative government was chosen.
Hanover Fair 2017
Poland becomes partner country of the Hannover Messe 2017
"The signs are pointing to growth again in 2017," said Heidler. The main reason for this is the EU funding pool, from which 82 billion euros are earmarked for Poland by 2020. Above all, the country's infrastructure expansion and innovations are promoted. This is intended to promote business opportunities in many mechanical engineering sales sectors. The governmental strategy aimed at progress should further boost demand for automation and digitization solutions.
There is great interest in automation, implementation is difficult
In the coming years, the Polish economy will have to catch up technologically. The robot density - that is the number of robots per 10,000 employees in industry - is thirteen times higher in Germany than in Poland. Overall, the course for developments in Poland is still slow. Even if there is great interest in automation, many small and medium-sized local companies are currently failing to finance. "In the medium to long term, however, the market will drive the automation process forward, because the Polish labor cost advantages - especially in the metropolitan areas - are dwindling," predicts Heidler. "The rising employment rate and the unfavorable demographic development exacerbate the shortage of skilled workers and thus lead to rising salaries.This makes automation financially more attractive."
Poland's role as a separate sales market is growing, as Polish companies as customers of mechanical engineering are becoming more and more demanding. At the same time, the country continues to be important for many mechanical engineering companies in Germany as a procurement market for parts and components. This is also borne out by German machine imports from Poland amounting to 2.6 billion euros in 2016: almost 70% was accounted for by parts and components and only around 30% by complete machines. The great willingness and flexibility of Polish suppliers is particularly valued on the German side. (kj)
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