1. As one of the most experienced and successful executives in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry, please share with our readers some of your thoughts about 2016 for FMCG.
The experience gained in over 20 years of trading FMCG, both in private Romanian companies, as well as in large multinational companies, as top executive or expert adviser, gave me the opportunity to understand that in 2016 the FMCG market in Romania is at the highest level of performance compared to previous years. I mean the production or import, distribution and trade through the largest retail chains or traditional commerce, but also the high level of consumption.
2. Have you seen any changes in strategy/ tactics for FMCG companies in 2016?
There are changes in the strategy of FMCG companies in the sense that I have noticed an increased interest in rigorously defining the target customer groups and knowledge of psychological profile in terms of needs and expectations. Changes in the behavior of different types of customers obviously generate a change in strategy or tactics depending on the life cycle of that company, brand or product. Also, we notice that the strategies for expansion are continuing, especially with the proximity format, acquisition and strengthening of the market position. Meanwhile, we are witnessing an intensive development of strategies to offer the customer what we call Total Shopping Experience through the operating model on - off line. In the e-commerce FMCG market we are witnessing significant increases, but it is still far from reaching its full potential.
3. What are the biggest challenges for FMCG in 2017? What are the latest tendencies?
As I see myself, in the collaboration with different FMCG companies in my current role of consultant or trainer, the big challenge for 2017 is to establish business relationships of deeper and wider partnerships between suppliers and retailers in order to identify and meet the customer’s expectations and reach the financial goals of both partners. Trying to be permanently informed with news from the international market, I can say, based on what I have studied, that what is most important for a company in FMCG remains to have a clear and consistent strategy, in which to place with major focus the components of category management as assortment, pricing, promotion and merchandising policies. By strategy, we mean a set of decisions regarding the structure, organization, functions and processes.
4. The Romanian fiscal system was subject to a major decrease in taxes in 2016. How do you characterize the boost in spending triggered by the VAT cut? Can we talk about a temporary growth or a permanent boost in spending power?
I believe that lowering VAT has caused an increase in consumption and purchasing power for the long term because the possibility of real and fair competition in the FMCG segment was acknowledged, especially in the supply of raw materials and fresh products. Increased demand should influence the development of FMCG companies, through a quantitative increase in the number of employees and their income, but also through a qualitative evolution of the investment in human resource training, as well as in technology and software. So, the demand also extends horizontally by upgrading the consumption habits.