Growing in Russia
Russian customers are demanding. They know exactly what they want and are tough negotiators. “We Russians take a rather unemotional and very critical approach to customer relationships. Facts and arguments are all that matter to us”, Julia Krasilova, General Manager of Brabender’s Russian subsidiary, relates. The “OOO” or ‘Obshchestvo s ogranichennoy otvetstvennost'yu’ (Russian: Общество с ограниченной ответственностью), the local version of a limited liability company (LLC) has been in business since December 19, 2012. “But we have operated in Russia for much longer than that”, says the long-serving Brabender employee. “Brabender has had a representative office in Russia since 2003. However, it was not permitted to conduct any commercial activities.” An OOO can sell equipment and spare parts, provide services and drive business in Russia forward much better.
Target industry: food
Plastics, chemicals and food are the major target industries in Russia, and Brabender Technologie sees growth potential particularly in the food sector. “Our customers are usually midsized companies. These are privately owned firms, given that large corporations in Russia often conduct business via subsidiaries or distributors”, Julia Krasilova explains. The three Moscow-based Russian employees look after what is geographically a very large territory.
In addition to Russia they also look after other countries in the original Eurasian Customs Union – Kazakhstan and Belarus. Devices from Brabender Technologie are EAC-certified and therefore permitted to be transported and sold in the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union EAEU (Belarus, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Armenia).This means that all national certificates of conformity from these countries are not required.
Yet “Service Vostok’s” activities extend beyond the borders of the EAEU. Russian service technician Viktor Ukolov has already commissioned a number of installations in Uzbekistan. There he looks after a chemical industry customer based in Qarshi as well as a major food producer in Tashkent. This is a distance of 2,790 kilometers!
Moscow is the central trade fair location
In Russia a great deal of commercial life is concentrated in the Moscow and St. Petersburg conurbations. The capital’s share alone of the country’s gross domestic product is around 20 percent. This is also where all the important trade fairs take place – the highlight for Brabender Technologie is Interplastica, which colleagues from Duisburg regularly attend. In 2019 Brabender will be exhibiting at this leading trade fair for the 16th time, where nearly all customers and many new potential partners are represented.
Contact with headquarters in Duisburg is very close. German colleagues Dominik Becker, who is Head of Sales Asia, and sales executive Manuel Maurath are in daily contact with their counterparts in Russia. The working language is German, which all three Russians speak. Everyone meets in Germany for events, sales meetings and at the very least “K”, the major plastics and rubber industry trade fair in Düsseldorf. “Continuous communication is a must – it is very important for all of us”, Julia Krasilova emphasizes.
Reliable partners are a great help
Important services for the Russian market include the provision of technical detail. “Any spare part that is not accompanied by meticulous documentation in Russian may not be imported into Russia.” Overall, doing business in Russia involves a great deal of paperwork and expense. “Fortunately, we have a very reliable shipping partner – DHL Global Forwarding – to help with customs formalities and in this respect, provide excellent support”, Julia Krasilova relates. “Normally we require just one day for customs procedures.” Service and quick aftersales follow-up are also key issues for Brabender Technologie in Russia.
(published in FLUX 2/2018)