Spanish-owned Zara is an exemplar in lean supply chain management. © Getty Images
Spanish-owned Zara is an exemplar in lean supply chain management. © Getty Images

In the spotlight: Spain

8 June 2017

Supply Management goes globe trotting to evaluate the procurement potential of countries around the world...


AREA 505,990km²

THE HELICOPTER VIEW The fifth-largest economy in Europe and 14th largest in the world, Spain had a tougher time than many other developed nations in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008.  

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK After growth of 3.2% in 2016, real GDP growth will decrease slightly to 2.3% in 2017, before levelling out at 1.8% in 2018-21, estimates The Economist Intelligence Unit.

BIGGEST FOREIGN INVESTORS German car makers have poured money into Spain in recent years, with Volkswagen and Daimler increasing their production capacity. Notable UK investors include Stella McCartney, Jo Malone and Primark.

SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES There are corruption risks when dealing with government contracts – in late 2016, 37 businessmen and former politicians went on trial on charges of fixing the government procurement system.

STRENGTHS One of the biggest consumer markets in the EU (which may become slightly less relevant for the UK…), Spain also provides a handy route into Latin America. English is the accepted business language.

CHALLENGES Potential headaches could occur due to long payment terms (many organisations work on 90 to 120 payment-day terms), some legacy inflexibility in the labour market, and a high degree of devolution of power to the country’s 17 regions. 

BOTTOM LINE One of the fastest-growing economies in the Eurozone. Proximity and similarities in business cultures and markets make doing business here pretty simple for UK companies. But Brexit, as with so much else, could change that dramatically.

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