22 May 2008 | Paul Snell
Turkey could be the next centre for low-cost sourcing, according to buyers from packaging firm MeadWestvaco (MWV).
Craig Reed, vice-president of supply chain at the firm, said the country had a huge capacity and opportunities for sourcing anything.
David Hauxwell, MWV's director of global sourcing, added: "Turkey is widely overlooked. It is a new-found area with incredible growth and buyers can take advantage. It is waiting for people to invest. It is tenacious in approaching countries and wanting to do business."
In a seminar at this month's Institute for Supply Management conference they urged purchasers to think about using central and eastern Europe as an alternative to traditional low-cost locations.
"If you have operations in Europe and you are not using this region to support them, there is a real opportunity," said Reed. But, he added, suppliers in the region are looking for longer-term commitment and engagement from buyers.
Advantages of sourcing in the area include reduced risk compared with China and Russia, strong infrastructure, shorter lead times and a more highly skilled workforce. A survey of 200 purchasers published this month found the number of buyers sourcing in eastern Europe increased from 24 per cent in 2007 to 42 per cent this year.
MWV, whose clients include Coca-Cola, Yoplait and hair products firm John Frieda, is in the process of establishing its own international purchasing office in eastern Europe to complement its production facilities in the region.