Robert-Jan Treebus - Netherlands
51 Summer 2015
New Chairman NPCC
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Bulletin Summer 2015
A word from the Chairman
Robert-Jan Treebus on his new boardposition at the NPCC
10 CHAMBER EVENTS
What has the Chamber been up to recently?
Robert-Jan Treebus, Chairman of the NPCC
Wojciech Bogdan partner at McKinsey & Partners
22 NEWS FROM OUR MEMBERS
Athlon Car Lease
Pawel P. Mlicki Ph.D.
27 NEW MEMBERS OF THE CHAMBER
12 September 2015:
harity Rijsttafel Hollandsche meesters
28 NEWS FROM THE EMBASSY
Remco van der Kroft
16 voivodeships benefit
from growth in BPO sector
Word of the Chairman
Dear members and friends of the Chamber,
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to write this first column as your new chairman
of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce. I would like to take this opportunity
to thank Geert Embrechts for his three-and-a-half years of service for the chamber.
Under Geert’s leadership, the chamber more than doubled in size and we hope to
welcome our 200th member this summer. We can be proud to serve such a diverse
portfolio of companies. From that perspective, I am proud to chair the chamber
together with Remco van der Kroft, the new vice-chairman. Remco succeeds Tjeerd
Bosklopper, who is leaving our chamber as he has a new assignment within ING.
I would like to thank Tjeerd for the time, effort and perspectives he contributed to the
chamber and I wish him all the best in his next role.
Bulletin is the quarterly magazine
of the Netherlands - Polish
Chamber of Commerce. It
aims to provide a selection
of important and relevant
information about the chamber
and on bilateral business
relations and activities between
the Netherlands and Poland. Go
to our website www.nlchamber.
com.pl to find previous issues
of our bulletin. Please email any
of your comments to [email protected]
The Netherlands - Polish Chamber
Elro van den Burg
Paweł P. Mlicki
Remco van der Kroft
This spring, we welcomed Guusje Korthals Altes, Head of the Economic Department
of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, as a new board member. Further strengthening
our ties with our Embassy will assist us immensely in supporting our members with their
business in Poland, so I am delighted that Guusje has joined our board.
The first 100 days were an exciting time when I had the opportunity to meet a lot of
members, visit several activities and get connected with other bilateral chambers as
well. Just as an example, during the Warsaw Food Fair in April we organised more than
30 matchmaking meetings for companies in the fast moving consumer industry and we
received very positive feedback for this service. We can be really proud of our vibrant and
dynamic network and the entrepreneurship among our members is highly recognised.
This edition of Bulletin is packed with interesting articles. There is an interview with
Wojciech Bogdan from McKinsey who published the study Poland 2025: Europe’s New
Growth Engine, which is definitely worth a read. Besides this, there is also an interview with
Eelco Keij who spoke at our seminar about dual nationality in Warsaw in May. As usual, our
Bulletin gives you an overview of all the Chamber’s news and events and the latest news
from our members. Please take some time to read about our new members and, last but
not least, I would like to use my first column to thank our permanent columnists Remco
van der Kroft, Huub Droogh, Pawel Mlicki and Staf Beems for their quarterly contributions
to our magazine.
Now that summer is coming, I hope everybody will have the opportunity to spend
some time with their family and friends during the summer break. Please mark in your
calendar the date of Saturday, September 12 for our charity event “De Rijsttafel” in the
Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw. With our theme ‘Hollandsche meesters’, which refers to
the Dutch school of painters from the 15th and 16th century, I am sure we will offer you
a memorable occasion. It has all the ingredients to be a wonderful evening in excellent
Elro van den Burg
Netherlands Embassy in Poland
The Netherlands - Polish Chamber of
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+48 22 279 46 67
Chairman, Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce
Activities of the Netherlands Polish Chamber of Commerce
2 June 2015 General Members Meeting &
Business Drink in Warsaw
Time: 17.30 – 21:00
Location: Embassy of the Kingdom
of the Netherlands
ul. Kawalerii 10, Warsaw
9 June 2015 Dutch pavilion at the Product
Forum of the Poznań Fair
Location: MTP Poznań, Iglica Pavilion
ul. Głogowska 14, Poznań
11 June 2015 Breakfast meeting on Dutch
pensions and social security
Location: City Park Hotel & Residence
ul. Wyspiańskiego 26A, Poznań
12 June 2015 Wielkopolski Klub Kapitału Party
More info will be announced
via our webpage
15 June 2015 Speedmixer: Water industry trade
Location: CONCEPT 13 Restaurant
ul. Bracka 9, 00-501 Warsaw
20 June 2015 NPCC barbecue in Warsaw
More info will be announced
via our webpage
June 2015 Company visit to Lódź Airport
ul. Generała Stanisława Maczka 35
15 July 2015 Terrace summer meeting
More info will be announced
via our webpage
12 September 2015 Charity Rijsttafel Hollansche
Location: Hotel Intercontinental
ul. Emilii Plater 49
22 September Speed Mixer with the Belgian
More info will be announced
via our webpage
November 2015 Speed Business Mixer with
German and Portuguese
Chambers of Commerce
More info will be announced
via our webpage
of the NPCC
Robert-Jan Treebus has been appointed
the new Chairman of the Netherlands Polish Chamber of Commerce. Bulletin
asked him what brought him to Poland and
what the aspirations of the Chamber are
for the coming years.
Can you tell us something about yourself?
Germany with a very diverse landscape of international retailers,
it was actually a perfect fit for me to run that part of the business
What is the difference between traditional and modern trade?
“In modern trade, we see a different size and also a different
organisational structure of the stores. Most of the traditional stores
are about 200 square metres or smaller and are privately owned.
If you look at modern trade, then you think of the big international
chains like Carrefour,Lidl, Auchan, Tesco and also Biedronka.
They are strong and operate internationally or sometimes, as in
the case of Biedronka, also local retail chains that operate with
hundreds or thousands of stores. As you can imagine, marketing
and go to market model for these large stores is different from the
challenges a traditional trade store is facing.”
“Just as a small introduction: we are a family of 5 people. I am
married, and we have three teenagers - one girl and two boys.
I have been working for Unilever for quite some time and, in
fact, I started my career there on the first day of the millennium!
Before that, I worked for Friesland Campina, where I started my
career as a trainee in marketing. I continued in marketing when Can you tell me how you will develop Unilever further in Poland
I started working for Unilever in the Netherlands. Then I moved into in the coming years?
category management. And since 2005 I have
been working in sales. During my first years at
“First of all, I would love to learn a lot here about
Unilever, I stayed in the Netherlands and then
the country, about the retail landscape and
I moved to Germany, where we lived for a couple
about the culture. I am grateful and blessed
“I am really proud that
of years in Hamburg. We have also lived in the
that we as a family, and I as a person, got the
we as a Chamber can be
United States, in Cincinnati. And now, since
opportunity from Unilever to live abroad, and to
one of the building blocks gather all these experiences. On the other hand,
August last year, we have been working here in
I have been asked to pass on my experiences
to help our members
that I have learned with other retailers in other
with doing business in
What are your impressions of Poland?
countries to the team and the organisation here
in Poland. So it is a relatively good fit, from both
“Actually, I am very positively surprised about
an organisational and also from a personal point
the country. I was here several years ago and
of view, to have landed here in Poland.
it is amazing to see how many changes have
taken place since that time. You can see that by looking at the And when we talk about the Chamber, can you tell me why you
infrastructure or how the skyline of Warsaw is changing. As joined the board almost a year ago?
a family, we feel very good here in Poland. We have settled in very
well and we really like living here in the Warsaw area.”
“I was in contact with Geert Embrechts. He was very enthusiastic
about the work he was doing for the Chamber, so one evening
Can you tell me how you chose Poland as your next posting?
we sat down and explored the idea of me becoming part of the
board. If I remember well, Unilever became an NPCC member
“I always say that Unilever is not a tourist agency, where you can again two years ago. We have a broader role than just selling our
pick and choose the most favourable countries with the most brands to our customers and consumers and I think that we can
interesting cities or the best temperature and climate and so on. help the Chamber and Dutch entrepreneurs here in Poland with
They first look at the business requirements in the country and then our expertise and sometimes we can also open doors that stay
they look at the profiles of the available candidates. And when there closed to smaller companies. This work fits perfectly with a part
is a good match, the job is offered to you. If you look at my role, with of our strategy, which is to build up sustainable entrepreneurship,
my background in modern trade in the US, the Netherlands and sustainable living and so on. That, for me, was one of the most
Camiel van der Meij is Tax Partner bij PwC in Warschau.
Hij adviseert u graag omtrent de Poolse en Nederlandse
fiscale gevolgen van wonen en werken in Polen. Voor
leden van de Nederlands - Poolse Kamer van Koophandel
is deze service gratis.
Bel hem eens op voor een afspraak:
about activities or if they have any feedback or suggestions on how
we can improve. I would be more than happy to get that feedback
because it will help us to become even better as a Chamber and
to fulfil our mission.”
The position of Chairman brings you into contact with many
new contacts. Was that a consideration for you as well?
“What I have already learned in the first three months is that being
on the board is an extremely broadening experience. Not only in
terms of expanding your network, but also in obtaining information
about other industries and problems which we do not face as a big
multinational here in the country. If you are a starting entrepreneur,
it can be difficult to get the right information, the right connections
and the right appointments.
It is very exciting to be able to get a better understanding of the
challenges and needs of such companies. I am really proud that
we as a Chamber can be one of the building blocks to help our
members with doing business in Poland. And I am glad to be able
to help to contribute to the mission and vision of the Chamber, to
allow those companies to grow and prosper here in Poland. If you
look around, you can see that there are still plenty of opportunities
for entrepreneurs in this country.”
You have been working for the Chamber for little less than a
year now. Can you elaborate on where you want the Chamber
to go in the coming years?
important reasons for joining the NPCC board. And honestly, I was
really impressed by all the work that we were already doing, and
the development of the Chamber over the last few years. For me,
it is relatively new work because I have not worked in any capital
cities in my postings so far and I have not really been connected
with Chambers of Commerce in other countries. But I am extremely
happy to join the club and to work with the whole team - the board,
the vice-chairman and, of course, the office of the Chamber.”
Since March you have been Geert Embrechts’ successor in the
role of chairman of the Chamber. Can you tell us how that came
“When Geert Embrechts announced that he was moving on, it
didn’t come as a big surprise to us on the board of the Chamber
because expats come and go. The first step of the board was to
create a profile for the new chairman. As a relatively new board
member, and a rookie in the team, I was not even considering
applying for the post. However, when I was asked whether I would
nominate myself, I took that request seriously.
The role demands considerable time investment and brings
responsibilities to the chairman. I felt honoured that I was
considered a candidate. It also provides a lot of opportunities to
help the Chamber and take the Chamber forwards. I can just say
that it’s a new role, but I’m really enjoying working with the board
and working with the office. I am really looking forward to getting
connected with as many members as possible.
And I openly want to invite them to contact us if they have any ideas
“Honestly, I am not sure whether I am the right person after three
months in my new role to give a long-term perspective. We still
need a lot of input and feedback from the members, and also
from the board, to determine that. Over the past 4 years, Geert
Embrechts did an incredible job in growing the Chamber from 90
to 200 members. Many of the activities that were organised were
real signature events.
And if I also talk with other Chambers, I get very positive feedback
about how energetic and active the Dutch Chamber is. If I look,
for example, at the Rijsttafel Charity Ball with around 300 or 400
guests or the added value that we brought last year with our
matchmaking sessions during the visit of the King and the Queen
to Poland, I think that is great. If we look at the increased diversity
on the board and the fact that, as a result, we have changed the
working language on the board from Dutch to English, that shows
that we have improved the mix of Dutch and Polish people. It is an
incredible job that has been done.
But we can still do more. We are now a mid-sized chamber and
I think there are still many opportunities to grow. It would be great
if we could increase the membership base further from 200 to
around 250 members or even more. We can also grow in terms of
the companies that make use of the chamber’s matchmaking, of
which we have merely skimmed the surface since last year. I think
there is also a role for us in supporting trade missions. Furthermore,
when I look at communication, we are currently using our website
and the Bulletin. But we can probably also consider moving into
social media to have an even closer connection with our members.
As a Chamber, we should continue to support and protect Dutch
companies in Poland and we should ask ourselves every day the
question: what can we do better tomorrow?”
news and events
First Holland Pavilion at WorldFood
Warsaw huge success!
Trade Promotion. The companies Friesland
Campina, Kiremko, Jan Oskam, Scelta
Mushrooms, Smaak & Co, TopTrade
Quality Food Products, World Wide Cheese
and Zijerveld Cheese were very pleased
with the turnout of retailers and buyers that
visited the exhibition.
Eight Dutch companies, active in the
fast moving consumer goods sector,
participated in the first ever Holland
Pavilion on worldFood Warsaw this week,
organized by the Netherlands Council for
During the Warsaw Food Fair, the
Netherlands – Polish Chamber of
Commerce set up 31 matchmaking
meetings for the Dutch companies. Private
meetings were organised at the exhibition
and at the premises of Polish companies
such as Carrefour, Tesco and Makro.
There were also one-on-one meetings
Company visit Jake Vision –
Must Be The Music
On 17 May, 27 NPCC members visited the
studio of Jake Vision and witnessed a live
broadcasting of talentshow Must Be The
As special guests of the program, our
members had the unique posibility to watch
rehearsals for the show and were allowed
to have a sneakview in the broadcasting
room in one of the Polsat trucks that were
During a dinner that was offered by Jake
Vision there was the possibility to network.
In the evening we saw Polish candidates
singer Justyna Sawicka and guitarplayer
The Lódź Second Grand Business Mixer
was held on 19 March. The meeting,
which was organised by the Łódź Special
Economic Zone, was an opportunity to
establish new business contacts. The
impressive amount of 300 participants took
part in the event.
“We already notice that quite a few
follow-up meetings have been planned
and it is our impression that participants
highly value the business support that
the Chamber is offering them”, said Elro
van den Burg, Managing Director of the
The Netherlands Embassy in Warsaw
organized a breakfast meeting at the
residence of the Ambassador, H.E.
Paul Bekkers, on Tuesday morning.
A journalist from ‘Dla Handlu’ magazine
shared her views on the outlook of the Polish
retail sector with the Dutch delegation.
The participants were welcomed by
Ambassador Bekkers and Chairman
Robert-Jan Treebus of the NPCC.
Marcin Patrzałek win the semi-finals of the
9th edition of Must be the Music.
parked outside the venue.
Jan Kepinski and Huub van Reede showed
us also the backstage meeting room and
explained about the various preparations
of the show.
Good turnout at 2nd grand
speedmixer in Łódź
The event was based around a series
of face-to-face meetings that allowed
each participant to meet new business
partners: contractors, suppliers and clients
arranged with wholesalers and government
Boardmember Jasja van der Veen
represented the NPCC during
the Grand speedmixer in Lódź
Jan Kepiński in the mobile
production control room
and by doing so broaden the horizons of
development and offer services to new
branches and markets.
„There was again a lot of interest from Dutch
companies to participate in this edition”,
says Jasja van der Veen, boardmember
and comitteechairman of the NPCC in
Łódź. “To underline how important Łódź
is for our Chamber, after all we have been
established here as the only bilateral
Chamber of Commerce with our own
branch office, we have been a co-sponsor
of this event.” The NPCC had sponsored
the presence of the mobile stand of
Waffiezz and as a result the participants
could enjoy the delicious Dutch poffertjes
and stroopwafels that were freshly baked.
When: September 12, 2015
Where: Intercontinental Hotel Warsaw
Dress code: Black Tie Preferred
•Networking with 350 guests
•Jimmy Wilson and band
•Charity cause AKOGO?
•Excellent Indonesian food
•Win Flight tickets to an exotic destination
•Enjoy paintings of Hollandsche meesters
news and events
Dual nationality - what’s the current deal?
Participants of our breakfast session on
In May, the NPCC organised a breakfast
meeting with Eelco Keij, a former
parliamentary candidate, who focused
on the rights of foreigners abroad.
He presented the issue of double
passports for Dutch citizens abroad.
After the meeting, we asked him a few
questions about this topic.
Eelco, can you explain the current
situation for people that want a second
“I will try to explain it as simply as
possible, because the legislation has
become very complicated. The situation
is as follows: Each Dutch person who
voluntarily applies for and acquires
another nationality automatically loses
their Dutch nationality. And beware; you
don’t receive a final warning about this. It
is tacitly taken away.”
When do people realize that a change
in their status has taken place?
“They find out, for example, when they try
to extend the validity of their passport. So,
for instance, after several years you go to
the embassy to renew your passport and
you hear that you are no longer a Dutch
citizen. Not many people ask themselves
this question: “Can something as
fundamental as my citizenship be taken
away at the moment of acquiring a new
nationality?” The answer is simple: yes.
Personally, I find this ‘punishment’ far too
heavy and disproportionate. There is also
no repair mechanism to easily reverse the
decision. There is also no warning. It is
simply taken away from you.”
“Yes, basically there are three exceptions.
There are actually five, but three of them
are stipulated by law. Firstly, if you acquire
the nationality of the person you are
married to, then, in such a case, you can
keep your Dutch nationality.
But you need to be aware. This also
isn’t an automatic process. To comply
with all the obligations, you need to ask
for the declaration of retention of Dutch
nationality. And each time you apply
for a new passport, you must have the
declaration with you and present it.
The second exception, and this is perhaps
less well-known, is when you’ve been
living before your 18th birthday for at least
five consecutive years in a country where
you want to apply for nationality. So, if
you were living in Canada from the age
of 12 to 17 and you want to be Canadian,
you can do so while still preserving your
Dutch citizenship. The third exception is if
you were born in the country of which you
want to acquire the nationality and you are
living there at the time you apply for it. This
is also an option.
There are actually two more exceptions.
For example, my sons were born with dual
nationality. They do not have to choose but
it is always better to check the particular
It always depends on the two legal systems
which may coincide, but may also conflict
with each other. In the Netherlands, you
do not need to choose and in America you
do not need to choose either.
But in some other countries it may happen
that you would have to make a choice.
I do not know what the situation is here in
And then there is still a fifth rule?
“The fifth exception is the Máxima
exception. Of course, the case of Queen
Máxima can also be classified as marriage
with a foreigner as the basis for keeping
But this rule is overridden by the law
which states that people originating from
19 specific countries around the entire
world are allowed to keep their nationality.
Argentina is one of these countries.”
For more information about double
passports, go to Eelco’s website:
ge t in touch
Breakfast session on pension
and social insurance
On 21 April, a breakfast session was held
for people wiht Dutch nationality in Poland
on how to organise your personal pensions
and social insurances.
When leaving the Netherlands for Poland
not everybody has contemplated what
living abroad means to their social security
or pension. During a breakfast session
moderated by CEO Tjeerd Bosklopper of
Nationale Nederlanden, an overview was
given of various options for pensions and
disability insurances that are available in
the market. The presentation was followed
Tjeerd Bosklopper explains verious options
for pensions available in the maarket.
As every year Dutch and Polish friends and
families have met in Poznań to celebrate
the traditional Koningsdag – the King’s Day
The train was decorated
on occasion of the birthday of the Dutch
monarch. On Sunday, April 26 almost 50
orange dressed people have gathered
at the railroad station by the beautiful
Malta Lake. Both adults and children had
a sentimental journey by the shore, being
greeted and waved to by the people
passing by. The train was orange too, as
decorated by hundreds of orange balloons
and ribbons. The 100 years old train took
us to the final station and then the colorful
and cheerful procession took a walk to
one of the biggest fun parks in the area –
Pyrland line park at Malta.
On 30 march 2015 the NPCC organised
an international Business Mixer in a new
format, together with the DWK (Deutsche
Klub Kapitalu), PIGIEiK (Polska Izba
Gospodarcza Importerów Eksporterów
by a lively discussion among participants
who shared their personal experiances on
The King’s Day 2015:
another beautiful card in Dutch
– Polish diary…
Kingsday in Poznań:
A great tradition
The kids were ecstatic about jumping
and climbing, and their parents had
a thrill to hang and walk on lines up to
8 meters high above the ground! The Dutch
tradition was materialized by delicious
stroopwafels and pofferties. There was, of
course, a toast with oranje bitter to the King
of the Netherlands. This wonderful and
unforgettable event has been organized,
as every year, by Wielkopolska committee
of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of
Commerce and with the help of our local
sponsors we can always count on.
Many participants prepared a stand to
promote their products
“Due to our experience at several business
events and speed mixers, we wanted to
create a combined event where more
companies would be able to present them
self and with a much wider audience”, says
Tomasz Wielgus of the NPCC Wielkopolska
This resulted in a small fair-mixer concept.
During the first part, participants gave
a 3 minutes elevator presentation in front
of the full audience. This was followed by
Participants gave a fast-paced elevator
pitch to showcase their company
a network mixer where the exhibitors had
a mini-stand with the possibility to present
in detail their services and their products.
A toast on the king
of the Netherlands
In total there were 23 exhibitors and
50 visitors from all the chambers and
organisations. The other chambers were
positive and also many participants
declared their support for the concept.
news and events
Company visit to Infosys
NPCC members were invited to Infosys
in Łódź for a company visit on 17 March.
The enthusiastic employees gave us an management is also about balancing the
overview of the company’s history, vision
and goals as well as an informative tour
around the company. The Łódź Delivery
Center (DC) was established when Infosys
BPO took over the Philips Shared Service
Center (SSC) in 2007.
It is the largest Infosys location outside
India, offering BPO and ITO services
across 48 countries in 24 languages.
Apart from being a leading employer in the
region, Infosys is also among the largest
international investors in the Łódź region.
Philips and Infosys
Bulletin talked to Lion Paauwe, Director
of Infosys Partnership Development
at Royal Philips Electronics, about the
Lean management approach that was
recently implemented at Infosys
Can you tell us why Philips decided
to implement the Lean management
“In Philips, Lean has been embedded in our
factories for many years. For over a year
and a half, there has been a culture change
happening in Philips, with everybody from
the top down receiving at least basic
training in Lean. With this approach, we
want to change the way of thinking and
really embed an approach of continuous
improvement and standardisation into
the organisation and into the DNA of our
people.With Lean we look end to end to our
processes and therefore we have aligned
the whole organisation so it’s not only in
Philips but also in Infosys.”
Can you tell us what Lean Management
means with regards to the changes it
effects on the work floor?
“With Lean, we look at how to optimize
quality, output and costs. We look at what
activities bring us value, and what are nonvalue and non-essential activities. We try to
minimise that last group of activities. Lean
very focused and dedicated improvement
Members of the NPCC
that participated in the visit to Infosys
workload evenly over your entire staff. That
is why you also saw the boards in Infosys
that map the workload at a given time. Take,
for instance, the closing process at the end
of the month in the finance department.
This traditionally causes a high peak
load, where people sometimes work until
midnight to finish the month. We wanted to
get rid of that. Too often people are in a
fire-fighting mode where they can’t get out
to take their time and structurally solve the
What is the difference in the way of
working from the past?
“A good example is the whiteboards
that you could see during the visit to
Infosys. On these boards are mapped
out the workload for each individual. This
makes it easy to see if a certain person
is overloaded. At the same time, you see
where that there is still some capacity
for other people who can help out the
overloaded person. In that way you make
much better use of the availability of the
people and you also identify structural
problems much easier.
Also, we look at where the weight is in the
total process. Therefore, we make value
stream mappings that analyse the process
from start to finish. This gives great insight
into the waiting time or when there is a too
heavy workload in the process.
We zoom in on those parts and make
actions and try, for instance, to eliminate
non-productivity in the finance department
that is caused by people waiting for each
other to get things done. And with regard to
the month endings, we have looked at the
essential and non-essential activities. We
asked ourselves: do we really need to do
all those activities in just a few days, or can
we do some things today? In that way, we
can balance the workload in a better way.
Here in Poland, we have never had those
examples but if you look at India, there were
situations where people were more than 24
What is Lean Management?
Lean management seeks to eliminate any
waste of time, effort or money by identifying
each step in a business process and then
revising or cutting out steps that do not
create value. The philosophy has its roots in
The guiding principles
1. Defining value from the standpoint of the
2. Identifying each step in a business
process and eliminating those steps that
do not create value.
3. Making the value-creating steps occur in
4. Repeating the first three steps on
a continuous basis until all waste has
hours in the office. That is not desirable for
either party and we wanted to change that.”
Was it difficult to implement Lean
Management since it involved not only
Philips but also Infosys?
“It is an approach which looks end to end
to our process so we started it together
with Infosys. They had already
implemented some elements of
the Lean approach, but it was
more a project-based approach.
When it was implemented, also
senior management was trained
and then it started all the way down
the organisation. One of the Lean
principles is that managers go to
the workfloor to see the problem
and speak about it with their
people. Not to micromanage but to
be aware of what is happening and
focus on solving the root cause
rather than the symptoms of the
that there were organisations which closed
regularly around 11 or 12 o’clock at night.
It was normal practice. After three months,
they were closing the month-end at five
o’clock in the afternoon. Let’s say a six/
seven-hour time benefit was gained, just
by looking at the process, doing things
differently and taking things out. At Infosys,
they focused on the workflow of the
scanning department and were looking
where the congestion was. They found
out that someone had a huge pile of work
and others were waiting for this person.
As a result, they reduced the staff in this
department with 30 percent. There were
other examples where the results were a
15-20 percent reduction as a result of this
way of working.”
With the experience that you
now have, would you also advise
smaller companies to implement
Lean Management techniques?
“I think it is useful for any
organisation to make continuous
changes and to look for where
you can do things differently and
say: where can we standardise,
where can we optimise? It is about
quality management, incident
problem-solving and so on. I think
it will work for any type of company
which wants to improve or wants to
be better than it is now. Lean is just
one typical way of working that was
invented in the Toyota factories.
There are, of course, other ways
improvement but it is about this
flow of continuous improvement,
and how to embed it into your
company’s and people’s way of
...in harmony with nature
Area of activities:
Hydropower and wind energy
Water and Wastewater treatment
Can you share some tangible
results from the new way of
working at Philips?
Scope of services:
Operation and maintenance
“I’ve already mentioned the monthend closing process and the fact
ul.Dubois 9, 00-182 Warszawa
tel: 22 531 34 00, fax: 22 635 00 20
Huub Droogh is an urbanist
of RDH Architekci
Urbanisci in Poznań.
management for young
Over the last century, our world has rapidly become predominantly
urban. While Asian and South American cities face the challenge
of how to deal with rapid urban growth, European cities have the
challenge of managing transformations. The factors which drive
the transformations of our cities are numerous. They include
the growing expectations of inhabitants regarding the quality
of city life, the effects of climate change, the consequences of
new communication technology in our social behaviour and our
changing patterns in mobility. The foundations of our European
urban infrastructure were established in the 19th and 20th centuries
so freshening them up to meet new future-proof standards is
a serious challenge!
For over 20 years, Poland has been on the path of economic
development. Despite the significant progress it has achieved, there
is still a large development gap between Polish and West European
cities. Polish statistics show predictions of cities with a decreasing
and ageing society, while at the same time the population of the
metropolitan areas will not change to any significant extent. In
simple words: in Poland, a stable and in future even decreasing
number of taxpayers will be responsible for an ever-extending urban
infrastructure of public roads, parks, schools, cultural services,
drinking water and sewage systems, etc.
Financing the necessary investments to meet the growing needs
of the inhabitants of metropolitan areas in the years 2015–2035
will not be an easy task for the relevant local authorities. Financing
capabilities are more limited than in the past, due both to increased
indebtedness and a lower inflow from EU funds. The possibility
of continuing investment efforts in city infrastructures will depend
mainly on a local authority’s ability to raise and use more private
capital in financing: either in the form of public-private partnership
or by privatizing certain municipal services. Partnerships between
local governments and business, in order to integrate knowledge
from infrastructure and technology, will be an important condition in
this process. Polish governments, however, are not ready to design
and implement the proper tools to execute such transformations.
Urban planning and urban management are key instruments
for local governments in building sustainable conditions for the
social, economic and spatial development of cities and urban
agglomerations. Good planning helps to formulate medium and
long-term objectives that reconcile a collective vision with a rational
organization of the necessary resources to achieve it.
Following years of being confronted with local government’s lack
of expertise and experience in leading these processes, RDH
AU undertook an initiative to fill this gap. Together with the Breda
University of Applied Sciences NHTV and the Collegium Da Vinci in
Poznań, RDH AU decided to establish an international Bachelor’s
Degree course in Poznań in Urban Management. The study will
have a very practical focus, and will connect students directly with
(Dutch) professionals in the field of urban development as well
professionals working in Polish cities.
The focus of this initiative is to provide young people with not only
knowledge, but also the skills and professional attitude necessary to
start a career related to our cities’ need for transformation. A network
of experienced Dutch professionals and professors, international
study trips, internships and scholar exchanges will offer the young
professionals a modern and solid base for a professional career or
Master’s Degree study. The obligatory internships during the study
are unique in Poland, and will provide real ‘on-the-job practice’.
The initiative offers lots of opportunities to develop and strengthen
Polish-Dutch (business) contacts. In addition to the already-existing
relationship between the Poznań School of Form and Design
Academy Eindhoven, this cooperation between Collegium Da Vinci
and NHTV Breda will further strengthen the foothold that Poznań
can offer Dutch creative and service industries when entering the
In addition to some ‘silent diplomacy’ during the preparation period,
the Dutch Embassy is supporting the initiative by organising the
event ‘Cities in Transition’ in Poznań in November 2015. In the
coming months, Chamber members and ‘Bulletin’ readers will get
more information about this event and the possibility to take part
Proper urban management will balance the demands for
development with the need to protect the environment and
safeguard cultural identity and cultural heritage. It also distributes
economic development within a given area to achieve social
objectives, and creates a framework for collaboration between
local governments, the private sector and the public sector. ‘Dutchtouched’ city management not only provides business opportunities
to export Dutch ‘city services’ to Poland, but it also adds important
content to execute related planning processes, which are crucial to
realizing those objectives successfully.
Want to react to this column? Contact me: [email protected]
appointed as Chief
of Philips in Central
and Eastern Europe
Royal Philips has appointed Tomasz Lisewski as
Chief Executive Officer of Philips in Central and
Eastern Europe, effective from April 15, 2015.
He succeeds Joost Leeflang, who will lead global commercial
operations for Diagnostic Imaging within the Philips Health Systems
business. In his new role as Senior Vice-President, Tomasz Lisewski will
lead all Philips operations in 17 CEE countries, including Poland, the
Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary, and he will take responsibility
for further strengthening Philips’ customer-centric culture as well as
growing revenue by delivering meaningful innovations.
“The Tomasz Lisewski joined Philips in 2009 as general manager for the
Consumer Lifestyle business in Poland, and followed this by becoming
global marketing leader for Personal Care in Amsterdam. For the past
2 and a half years, he has led the Philips Personal Health business in
CEE, creating a number of innovative categories such as IPL depilation
with LUMEA, sonic technology-based oral care with SONICARE or skin
care microdermabrasion with VISACARE. Prior to joining Philips, Tomasz
Lisewski worked in various multinational companies in a number of
countries, including Austria, Poland, Great Britain and Russia.
“I am very excited about the appointment of Tomasz as CEO of Philips’
operations in CEE. Tomasz has a proven track record of driving sustainable
business growth based upon a deep understanding of market requirements
and customer needs. Moreover, he is an innovative marketer. Under his
leadership, we have introduced a number of locally relevant innovations
that have improved people’s quality of life in Central and Eastern Europe.
Tomasz’s drive for business performance and people’s development will
ensure the company’s continued growth in the region,” said Ronald de
Jong, Philips Chief Market Leader and member of the Executive Committee
of Royal Philips.
With operations in 17 countries, Philips Central and Eastern Europe focuses
on serving its customers by introducing innovations in Health Systems,
Personal Health and Lighting. In addition to Personal Health, Mr. Lisewski
will be responsible for Health Systems, offering diagnostic equipment,
patient care solutions, clinical IT and iXR systems for interventional
cardiology, as well as the Lighting business, the global leader in energyefficient and innovative lighting solutions.
“Philips is uniquely placed to help address the challenges faced by
countries and societies in Central and Eastern Europe. By delivering our
innovations in healthcare, lighting and empowering consumers to take
care of their personal health, we are contributing to sustainable economic
growth and providing a continuum of care which is key to providing
effective health outcomes,” Tomasz Lisewski concluded.
Tomasz Lisewski MBA is 44 years of age and of Polish nationality. He
graduated in International Trade from Gdańsk University, Poland and he is
married with two children.
How Poland can become
a European growth engine
In its recent report, McKinsey details
how Poland can become an advanced
European economy competing on a global
stage. Bulletin talked to Wojciech Bogdan,
a partner in McKinsey and one of the
authors of the report.
And how can Poland overcome this trap?
“When I think of the participation, it comes down to addressing the
barriers which have historically not been fully addressed. Starting
with young people, I think we should look at the entry age to the
labour market which can be significantly lower than the 22 years
that it is today. When you look at the European Union countries
like Germany, Netherlands or some other markets, the entry age
is usually around the age of 18 or 19. And that is mainly because
our vocational schooling has been neglected for many years. It
In the report, you have presented two scenarios of Poland for has always been perceived as being for simple workers and just
the year 2025 - a situation of steady growth and also a business- getting a vocational education is seen as bad. I think that it is
a big challenge to rebuild vocational education, and lower the age of
as-usual scenario. What is the difference between the two?
entry into the labour market. It is important to drive entrepreneurship
Wojciech Bogdan: “Business as usual is a scenario of the much more in that age group of 18-24 years. A second issue is
continuation of the current trend, which means doing everything about women. The key here is to create an infrastructure to create
really well, but not exceptionally. It is about continuing and promote many more part-time jobs for women who are looking
after their children. It is also about kindergartens
transformation, but at a pace that happens
and child-care centres that can professionally
naturally and at the same time not being able
“We are going
take care of children. We are still far, far behind
to resolve the demographic trend that Poland is
Western European standards in that respect.”
currently falling into. This trend is a critical aspect
to be the largest
for unlocking a different growth path for Poland.
location in Europe
What can you say about the other end of the
For the alternative aspirational scenario, where
nearshoring and this
scope, the retirement age?
we visualize Poland with GDP growth rates above
4 percentage points, Poland needs to overcome
will create opportunities
“A few years ago, there was a large-scale reform
two very important issues. First of all, it is
in all 16 voivodeships
in Poland which extended the retirement age
necessary to really double down on productivity
and the largest
up to 67. However, there is more to it than that.
improvements and close the productivity gap in
These changes also had a huge impact on the
the highest deltas or in the highest sectors which
business community that has to accept elderly
have the largest gap compared to the EU. And
people working longer. It is also about creating
the second big driver is actually resolving the
negative aspects which are coming from the demographic gap job opportunities for elderly people. So, to summarize, the age
or negative demographic trend. When solving these together, we trap is quite a complex problem. It requires activating 3 distinct
believe it will give Poland the ability to achieve a GDP growth rate groups with totally different sets of actions. And with the sheer size
above 4 percent. The second aspirational scenario is not easy to of Poland, it is quite a complex thing to move.
achieve because it requires a number of very large actions and
On top of that, we have an additional set of levers, such as
structural unemployment, which is still above the EU level. The
Can you explain more about the age gap and how Poland can final point is immigration and remigration. It is a question of how
many people we can get back of those 2.5 million people who left
overcome this problem?
over the past few years. We don’t assume large numbers, but if
“First of all, there is low participation in the labour market, combined we can get 10 to 15 percent, it would be fantastic. And with regard
with the fact that people are getting older. This is happening at a to immigration, Poland should be a much more accommodating
time when participation in the labour market of young women and and accepting country for foreigners. And I don’t mean just letting
elderly people is already low. The result is a double negative effect: everybody in, but purposeful immigration and a policy that targets
particular professions and skills.”
low participation coupled with an ageing population.”
The productivity gap is another trap for Poland. Can you tell us
something more about that?
“Let’s start with where it is coming from.
When we look at the difference between
the GDP per capita of Poland versus
the European Union, we can see that 70
percent of the gap comes from the fact
that the contribution that we get from an
hour of work of a worker is significantly
lower than in Western European countries.
That is because we are rather set up at the
lower stage of the value chain. Industry in
Poland is more focused on assembling,
rather than on sophisticated design and
technology. It is not that we work fewer
hours - it is simply that we get less money
for the hours we work. There are some
industries that have actually been able to
close this gap. These are the industries
where there has been competition for
many years. One of them is retail, the other
is business services and the gap there is
between 0 and 3 percent.
Of how much help are the EU funds for
the period 2014 – 2020 that have been
set up to promote research centres and
cooperation between companies and
The results in these sectors show us that
it is possible to overcome the gap. The
following sectors are the biggest contributors to the gap: agriculture,
mining, energy and manufacturing. The agricultural sector is a very
large sector which has a set of regulations and subsidy schemes
that promote low productivity by their very nature. We think that
manufacturing has great potential to grow in Poland, given the
lower labour costs, very good engineering
and also dedication to quality. But still, we
need to bring more branding and much
more technology and more patents into
our manufacturing sites.”
“When we were writing our report, we were
looking at Scandinavian counties and
Germany for benchmarks. So to be able
to get there, I think that it will be a long
journey. It would require huge support
from the government. To show that Poles
not only offer cheap labour but can also
develop products that can compete on
foreign markets. That can only be achieved
through a consistent focus on quality and
through really driving innovation and being
a little bit bolder in our aspirations. I think
we are very often affected by this inferiority complex and often by
a lack of aspirations about what is outside Poland.
If we stay in the current “business as usual” scenario, we are falling
in the trap of inferiority and the complex of ‘we are fine with what
we have’. And if we do not make the changes within the coming
5 years where Poland still has support from the European structural
funds and we just sleep on it, there is a risk that the money will
not be used properly. That is why we say that it is essential to
have much bigger aspirations and to put together a program that
addresses all these issues and this is the reason why it requires
such significant governmental support.”
What can you tell us about the growth sectors in Poland?
“There are a couple of ‘stars’ on the horizon. One of them is the
outsourcing and off-shoring sector which is growing tremendously
and today there are 160 000 employed professionals across the
country in this sector. In the past, shared service centres used to be
just for simple HR, administration or accounting or basic finance.
This is still continuing, but whoever I talk to, and I talk to many
of these centres, BPOs, shared service centre managers, they all
say: ‘We came for the costs, we stayed for the quality’. They are so
happy with the quality of the workforce they get in Poland.
We assume this sector will continue to grow, roughly to between
450 000 and 600 000 jobs in the next 10 years. We are going to
be the largest location in Europe for nearshoring. This will also
create a major boost not only to the three core cities of Warsaw,
Krakow and Wroclaw that have up to now benefited the most, but
it will create opportunities in all 16 voivodeships and the largest
Aren’t you afraid that growing salaries will decrease the
attractiveness of Poland for this sector?
“I would say that the cost arbitrage will continue over the next 1015 years at least. There is no risk that we will lose this advantage
soon. And there is also something called the relative cost arbitrage.
The costs of running
the more attractive
and more expensive
functions are also much
higher in originating
markets. There are a
lot of myths about this
sector, saying that this
sector is about low-paid
and low-skilled jobs.
I totally disagree with
that. This is a sector
which is actually one
of the most advanced
in terms of what type of
business activities are
being carried out.
Now, the other sector that I think has a positive growth story is
manufacturing and process manufacturing where Poland has
a range of categories and subsectors such as furniture, household
goods and different kinds of customized equipment, such as
transportation equipment, where Poland can really shine and grow
internationally. If we continue to develop manufacturing, Poland
will increasingly attract international businesses to locate their
manufacturing hubs here in Poland. And that’s across different
sub-sectors. This is already happening in the food sector and in
the household manufacturing sector. This is very positive but it
requires a focus on quality.”
What can you say about the agricultural sector?
“The fact is that Poland is the 4th largest country in terms of arable
land in the EU, but still of low productivity in terms of livestock and
grain crops. At the same time, we are very strong in vegetable and
fruit production. Poland has the potential to become an important
food supplier for the Western Europe and Asian markets. We are
already a significant supplier of dairy products.
Our export of food products is growing 12% year on year. It is
another opportunity not only for Polish players but also for the
international agricultural companies to locate their production
and also their centres of expertise here in Poland. Productivity is
still a challenge here - the practices, the small size of plots which
are ten times smaller than in France or Denmark. These result in
a significant productivity gap. Food processing is a third one. But
these are the stars I would say.”
What can you say about the large number of small farmers in
Poland. Is that hampering growth?
“It is a challenge, but some of the countries in Western Europe
show us that even if you have a small farm plot size, but you have
proper conditions for cooperation between the farmers, you can be
very successful. A good example is the apples sector in Poland,
where there are good facilities in cooperatives of smaller farmers
for washing, packing and storing apples. They are extremely
To succeed internationally, we need more initiatives like this. There
are also cooperatives like that in the dairy sector. But in some
others, like in the vegetables and other fruit sectors or in crops,
we don’t see many of these. The apples market offers a very
good benchmark on how to approach this problem. The quality of
Polish apples is already recognized throughout Western Europe.
We are the biggest apple producer in Europe and number 5 in the
“Our export of food
products is growing
12% year on year. It is
another opportunity for
companies to locate
their production and
also their centres
here in Poland.”
What can you say about
the attractiveness of
Poland for FDI?
“Political and economic
stability is probably one
of the key fundamentals
that foreign investors
look for in a market
before coming in. So
this one we ‘tick’. Also,
in terms of positive
and the pace of growth,
we tick those boxes
as well. Another very
important aspect is that we are located in the EU which means
security and safety.
Then it is a question of finding the right niche and looking at
what could be done here. I believe that we are still going to have
a significant inflow of foreign direct investments into Poland, but
probably not at the same level as we have had for many, many
years. But I would say this: opportunities are clearly here. It is
a large economy with very strong fundamentals. If you put the right
competences and the right team together, you can still achieve
great things here.”
from our members
Imtech wins major contract for
new Volkswagen production site
The Volkswagen site in Września
with the Imtech entities in Poland, Hungary
and Germany. It has been awarded multiple
tender packages. Imtech Poland was granted
construction of the site’s ventilation, refrigeration,
air conditioning, heating, compressed air and
internal and external hydrant installations. Imtech
Hungary will be responsible for the ventilation
system in the assembly hall.
manufacturer, is to equip its new Crafter
production site in the Polish town of Września
with building technology from Imtech. The Dutch
company won the contract in close cooperation
By 2016 the new Volkswagen site in Września will
employ 3,000 people assembling the new model
of the VW Crafter van. Construction of the site
has already started and should be ready by the
second half of 2016.
KLM expands its network
Prezes Jan Pamuła Kraków Airport,
Ambassador Paul Bekkers from the
Netherlands, Managing Director & Chief
Operating Officer Rene de Groot of KLM.
On May 18, KLM officially inaugurated
a direct route between Amsterdam and
Kraków. Next to Warsaw, Kraków is the
second destination within Poland which is
directly served by KLM. The new scheduled
service is a part of KLM’s summer schedule
and is operated 7 times a week by Embraer
E190, which has 100 seats.
“We see a strong demand of flights from The
Netherlands to Kraków, as Kraków is very
popular tourist destination among the Dutch.
77 thousands of visitors from the Netherlands
visited Kraków last year. They voted for Kraków
(at Zoover website) to become „The Best
European City Trip 2015. Furthermore the Polish
economy is flourishing so it makes sense to
strengthen our footprint, especially in the south
where there is a lot of business potential.” –
says Chloe Marchand, General Manager of Air
„We have been striving to open a new route
to Amsterdam for many years. I consider it as
a huge success to gain such significant carrier
as KLM. An extensive KLM worldwide network
part of Raben
Raben Group is planning to take over the
Balter Group. Over 300 people are employed
at the locations in Koblenz and Gera and all of
them will be retained. The annual turnover of
the company is around 65 million Euro and it
owns approximately 100,000 m2 of warehouse
capacity. Its core business includes mainly
distribution and procurement logistics, as well
as warehousing and logistics services. “The
acquisition of the Balter Group enables us to
enhance our competences in Germany in the
whole supply chain. This way, we can combine
the local experience which has been gained
over the years by the Balter Group with the
international know-how of Raben Group,” says
Ewald Raben, CEO of Raben Group.
gives our passengers interesting opportunities
to travel in distant parts of the world and the
daily flights are great offer for businessmen.
Our analysis shows that the new service has
a great potential. KLM appearance in Krakow
is also strengthening in our airport presence of
the SkyTeam alliance.” – says Mr. Jan Pamuła –
the CEO of Kraków Airport.
Schavemaker Rail Terminal
and Polzug connect networks
From June the HHLA rail operator, Polzug, will
include the Schavemaker inland terminal in
Wroclaw in its transport network with several
weekly train connections. This partnership will
increase the flexibility and competitiveness
of both companies and will strengthen their
domestic Polish traffic in particular.
“We are delighted about the partnership with
Polzug. This is a partner that we can grow
with. This year, 2015, we intend to expand the
terminal in Wroclaw substantially: there will be
new tracks designed for block trains, gantry
cranes for efficient container handling and
more storage capacity.
Plus, we can use the Polzug network for our
own shipments,” says Rico Schavemaker,
CEO and owner. In 2014 Schavemaker
handled approximately 30,000 standard
containers (TEU) and has a storage capacity of
approximately 3,000 TEU.
Polish-Dutch Urban Water
Strategy for Gdańsk
a huge potential to create an attractive living
environment with the highest quality of life for
the citizens of our cities. Water can be used
for functional, natural and aesthetic purposes
and also to strengthen the socio-economic
position of cities in a globalized world.
Director Wouter Vos of KuiperCompagnons
and mayor Paweł Adamowicz of Gdańsk
Throughout history, the city of Gdańsk
has always had a strong relationship with
its waters from its rivers and the sea. The
Motlawa and Vistula rivers and the Baltic Sea
offered tremendous possibilities for trade,
military defence, food production and leisure
As a Hansa city, these waters already
connected Gdańsk in the late Middle Ages
with other Northern European cities. Since
then, the waters have created an open
connection with the world and thereby
moulded the character of the citizens of
Gdańsk. Water is at the heart of the history
and identity of the city.Maybe now more than
ever, in these modern times, the waters offer
That is why Gdańsk has the ambition to restore
the historical relationship with its waters and
create an attractive and strong city that is
resilient to the future. It was from this perspective
that the city authorities and the Dutch urban
planners KuiperCompagnons took the initiative
to create an Urban Water Strategy.
This strategy provides a set of recommendations
to increase climate resilience and flood
protection, and simultaneously strengthen the
Presentation of the plan to several
stakeholders of the regio Gdańsk
urban quality and socio-economic strength of
Gdańsk by taking advantage of the presence
of water in the city.
Ghelamco signs recordbreaking deal at Warsaw Spire
Warsaw Spire. The new tenant Samsung will take
nearly 22,000 m2 in the A-class building, whose
occupancy rate has now soared to over 50%.
The new tenant will occupy a fifth of the total
office area available in the complex, becoming
the building’s biggest tenant. This is the largest
office lease transaction ever concluded in
Warsaw city centre, and also one of the biggest
in the country.
Ghelamco Poland has signed a record-breaking
agreement for the lease of office space at
“Warsaw Spire and Plac Europejski make
up an investment that is unique in terms of
Grzegorz Sulikowski deputy
architect of the city of Gdańsk
The Urban Water Strategy for Gdańsk is the
result of Polish-Dutch cooperation between
the city of Gdańsk, local Polish experts and
the Dutch consultancies KuiperCompagnons
and Arcadis. The project is supported by
the Dutch government program ‘Partners for
During a seminar on 20-21 April, the results
of the strategy and recommendations for
Gdańsk were presented and discussed with
Mayor Paweł Adamowicz, local experts,
Gdańsk entrepreneurs, the press and also
members of the public.
Representatives from the Dutch Ministry of
Economic Affairs (Hugo de Vries), the Dutch
Embassy (Jolanta Kosicka) and the Honorary
Consul of Gdańsk (Magdalena Pramfelt)
attended and supported the presentation of
this Polish-Dutch cooperation.
Mayor Adamowicz expressed his enthusiasm
and intention to establish a Task Force as the
next step towards creating a more climateresilient and attractive city of Gdańsk.
scale and quality alike. It is bound to change
the public space at Rondo Daszyńskiego
considerably. We are conducting the
project holistically, in line with sustainable
The crucial objective is to ensure unparalleled
spatial order and a well-balanced combination
of commercial and public functions. We
believe that Warsaw Spire will become the
new symbol of a modern and economically
powerful Warsaw,” said Jeroen van der Toolen,
Managing Director at Ghelamco CEE.
The Warsaw Spire complex includes
a 220-metre tower building (48 levels) and
2 lower buildings, each 55 metres high (15
levels). Together, they will provide approx.
100,000 m2 of office space equipped with stateof-the-art technical solutions.
Athlon Car Lease
records market-best growth figures
Over the first few months of 2015, Athlon
Car Lease has recorded impressive growth
figures. We talked to Athlon’s country
manager Arkadiusz Tomala.
is not. And then they are surprised by the extra charges during or at
the end of the contract.”
Can you tell us how the company is doing this year?
“We offer our clients a range of cars and we offer different solutions,
different brands and different segments in the market. What we also
do is offer complete mobility solutions. Let’s say that our customer
says: ‘I need a car for one week’ or ‘I need a special type of car for
two days’ or ‘I need a car only for three months’. In many companies,
employees come and work only for a short period of time and they
need mobility for these people.
Arkadiusz Tomala: “Over the past three months, Athlon Car Lease
has consistently registered the biggest growth in new lease cars of
the eight largest fleet management companies. We were number
one in February and March, and we are still number one in April. The
figures show that we are the most dynamic company as, in the first
four months of 2015, we doubled our figures compared to last year.”
What is the reason behind this growth?
“Over the past year, we have developed a new strategy that aims to
put us among the biggest fleet management companies in Poland.
In order to achieve that goal, we have made a lot of investments
in our team and this strategy is now bearing fruit. It will be very
beneficial for our customers because they want to have both a good
price and also a flexible leasing company. And they want this not
only when they start their cooperation, but also at the end of the
contract. Regarding the results of the customer satisfaction survey,
we are rated number two of all the Athlon Car Lease subsidiaries in
Europe, just after Germany. I am very pleased with these results.”
Can you tell us more about how you implemented this strategy?
“Maybe I can give you an example. In my opinion, the fleet
management business is like making wine or whiskey. It means that
you not only have to be very good at the start of the process, with
the preparation of the offer and the agreements, but you also have
to be very good throughout the whole process and also at the end
of the contract period. Those who offer very cheap prices at the
beginning often try to recover the prices at the end of the contract.
We don’t compete for the cheapest offer on the market and we do
this absolutely on purpose.
Although I know there is a war in the market and the market demands
low prices, we do a lot in terms of cost revision and cost reduction
for our partners. In terms of our cooperation, we prefer to have
a long-lasting partner than just a very cheap offer on the market.
It is the same with whiskey. The quality of a good whiskey or the
quality of a good wine doesn’t depend on the start of production.
The quality of the whiskey comes when you want to finish. Only at
the end does the customer realise the real value of the cooperation.
At the beginning, it might look like a low-cost offer but, in the end, it
Something else that is very typical for Athlon Car Lease is the
range of mobility solutions that you offer on the market. Can you
tell us more about that?
With our flexibility, we are able to offer this. We have a large pool of
cars which we can serve to our customers on a daily basis. We have
good cooperation with our partners all over Poland and we can also
serve and react quickly.
Additionally, we have a very personal touch in that we are not strict.
Therefore, if a customer calls us saying that he needs a car for 2-3
days, we do not send him away saying that the period is too short.
And we do not drive up the price. We want our customers to be
satisfied with every term of the contract – whether it is for one day,
two days, one month, 2 months or even 6 months.”
Athlon Car Lease is part of the DLL group. What do your
customers notice about this?
“We are very proud that we belong to the DLL group. DLL is a very
reliable and stable company and together we are a strong partner
on the market. DLL has a broad range of offers as a vendor provider
for different segments of the market and we are very strong in the
agriculture business and transportation market – nowadays we also
put focus on developing technology finance, healthcare and other
segments. So there is a lot of experience in our organisation and we
also make use of this in Athlon Car Lease.
We often discuss the needs of our clients with the team at DLL
because we are located in one building and we have very good
contact on a daily basis.
We sometimes wonder if we should change our approach to our
customers and be a little more flexible. DLL is recognised on the
market as being a really flexible partner. We can also offer several
leasing solutions both as Athlon Car Lease and with DLL to the
same customer. That is something our competitors cannot do! It
is a very big advantage to the customer that he can have just the
one partner who understands all his needs and speaks with one
Paweł P. Mlicki Ph. D.
Dehora Consultancy Group
There are many factors that can negatively affect economic
growth. One of the most powerful is corruption, which has
been addressed a number of times in earlier editions of our
Bulletin, and which still poses a significant threat to economic
exchange in Poland. When corruption pervades a society,
the quality of governance suffers and, with that, the trust that
citizens have in officials to receive fair treatment as well as
their willingness to participate in public life, both decline.
We all know that Polish society scores low in European
comparative studies on social trust. And it does not matter
to which dimension of trust we refer: the vertical one that
manifests itself in relation to public institutions, the horizontal
one that refers to private relations, or the generalised horizontal
one that is towards other people in general.
The benefits of social trust are clear and multiple. It plays an
important role in our political, social and economic lives. It
determines a citizen’s engagement in public events, it affects
their readiness to self-organise in order to solve local issues
and it shapes their pro-social attitudes and behaviours.
Trust, however, has been found in a piece of empirical research
to be a significant single factor that strongly influences
economic development on its own through regulating to
a great degree economic co-operation and exchange
The Polish Krajowy Rejestr Długów (National Debt Register)
recently commissioned some research by a group of
academics from the Poznań University of Economics who
found that by removing the chronic lack of trust that Polish
entrepreneurs felt towards one another, almost half of them
would not have resigned from a number of business deals.
These unconcluded deals are estimated to represent up to
some 70 billon Euro, and they would otherwise have provided
a strong boost to the Polish economy in 2014. This is more
than 10% of the Polish GDP of last year.
Let me mention some crucial findings from this research
which was carried out just a couple of months ago. Almost
three-quarters of the subjects from a representative sample
of 1115 companies from all sectors and industries assert that
they have to be continually watchful when doing business in
order not to be deceived. More than half of them say they
have to collect evidence all the time of their partners’ honesty
and integrity and they are convinced that their customers/
partners will exploit them somehow by taking advantage of
some insufficiently-covered issues in the contract.
In addition, more than a quarter of the respondents have
decided to do business solely with those they know and whose
honesty has been tested, and one third of entrepreneurs
claim that deals are often not concluded because they are
not trusted by potential partners. This latter effect is a mirror
reflection of the former. An additional cost are the lawyers’
fees for drafting highly complex and sophisticated contracts
that address any possible situation that might lead to unfair
behaviour by a business partner.
Clearly, these effects imply that until trust is restored among
businessmen, there is no climate to expand one’s business
and the level of innovation will remain low in the long run.
Moreover, if market consolidation is required due to growing
competition, the lack of trust will effectively impair this
The saying „There are two reasons why we don’t trust people.
Firstly: we don’t know them. Secondly: we know them” still
seems to be popular in Poland.
New members of
the Netherlands - Polish Chamber of Commerce
MCKB Sp. z o.o.
Since its foundation in 1991, MCKB has developed considerably and achieved
great success in the construction market among both Polish and European
investors. We specialise in the construction of advanced technology industrial
buildings, as well as commercial and logistics centres which always meet the
highest quality standards.
MCKB Sp. z o.o.
ul. Rogowska 3
tel. +48 42 658 84 44
e-mail: [email protected]
Frigolanda fulfills an active role in the implementation and continuous
improvement of the logistics process in the supply chain of our customers in
the frozen food segment within the Benelux countries, along with other targeted
projects. In performing this active role, we build long-term relationships and
thus contribute to the success of our customers.
Frigolanda offers warehousing, order-picking and Benelux distribution and has
its own storage capacity of 75,000 pallets in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands
ul. Hodowlana 2
+48 48 3343716
e-mail: [email protected]
Strootman Group B.V.
Strootman Group purchases FMCG from manufacturers and places them in
a global network of mainly non-food retail chains. In addition, the company offers
huge benefits to suppliers as well as our customers.
Strootman Group quickly buys up large regular and surplus stocks and finds new
outlets for them.
by expanding your product range with surprising FMCG, you will create impulse
purchases and rapid additional sales.
Strootman group’s distinguishing characteristics:
• Extensive international network, buying and selling in over 30 countries.
• Exceptional logistics service in which speed, quality and efficiency are key.
•More than just products: for example, Strootman Group also helps you with
the shelving layout.
Strength in numbers:
Strootman Group is distinctive and significant to its partners, enabling them
to raise their business to a higher level. For this reason, Strootman Group is
committed to close cooperation and long-term relationships.
Strootman Group B.V.
4731 TB Oudenbosch
Tel. +31 165 315 555
e-mail: [email protected]
Fujitsu Technology Solutions
Fujitsu Technology Solutions is the leading infrastructure provider present in all
key markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. Our clients include
large corporations, small and medium-sized companies as well as individual
Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company, known for
reliable, flexible and eco-efficient services. We provide ocean transportation
in all parts of the world, serving our customers through 374 offices in 116
countries. We employ 7,100 seafarers and 25,500 land-based employees and
we operate 608 container vessels.
Maersk Line is part of the Maersk Group, headquartered in Copenhagen,
Denmark. The Group employs 89,207 people in around 130 countries.
• Founded in 1928
• Corporate office in Copenhagen, Denmark
• 608 vessels with a capacity of 2.9 million TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit)
• 59,000 customers worldwide
• Approximately 11 million full containers shipped annually
• Covers ports in almost every country around the world
• One port call every 15 minutes; 33,000 port calls annually
• Offers multiple weekly sailings on all our major trades
Maersk Polska Sp. z o.o.
ul. Postępu 18, NEPTUN building
Tel. +48 22 5414250
e-mail: [email protected]
Based on a dynamic infrastructures approach, the company offers a full scope
of products, solutions and services, ranging from client systems to data centre
solutions, managed infrastructure and providing infrastructure as a service.
Fujitsu TS employs more than 13 000 employees worldwide.
Łódź Global Delivery Center Fujitsu is our service desk in Łódź which provides
services in the first and second level of IT support for corporate customers, mainly
from the finance, banking and telecommunications sectors.
Presently, more than 500 people are employed in this office in Łódź and we have
an ambitious plan to further develop the team. Fast growth is associated with the
high demand for such services and the obligations arising from the agreements
signed by Fujitsu and its customers.
The centre is multi-lingual and has an international working environment. We
support our customers in 10 languages - English, German, French, Spanish,
Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian and, of course, Polish. To
provide our customers with the highest quality, our service centre works around
the clock 24/7.
Fujitsu Technology Solutions
Tel. +48 22 5741000
e-mail: [email protected]
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Warsaw:
EU Funds seminar
The financial perspective for EU funds 2014-2020 was launched
recently in Poland. To inform interested parties about how the money
would be spent and how to apply for it, a mini-conference was
organised by the Embassy of the Netherlands and the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce at the Embassy.
These funds are very important for the economic growth and
development of Poland. “Poland is by far the leading country, not only
by the amount of 83 billion Euro, but also by the utilization of the funds,”
said Tomasz Hoffmann, Managing Partner of PNO Consultants.
This creates a lot of opportunities for companies. No wonder this topic
is also attracting a lot of interest among Dutch enterprises.
However, money alone is not enough. “Each project is like a balloon,
you want it to go in the right direction, in the right way, but that cannot
be done without the whole ecosystem,” said Anna Brussa, Deputy
Director, Department for the Development of Entrepreneurship and
Innovation in PARP.
In response to numerous requests, the Embassy of the Netherlands,
in close co-operation with the Chamber, decided to organise a miniconference (9 April 2015) devoted to the priorities, directions and
opportunities related to the EU funds 2014-2020.
We succeeded in gathering some excellent speakers, representing
the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, the Polish Agency for
Enterprise Development and PNO Consultants.
On account of the large interest in the topic, we provided the possibility
to follow the conference via livestream. More than 650 people used
this opportunity to become more acquainted with this interesting but
To get a better understanding of the specific funds in selected sectors,
we are considering possible follow-up seminars. We are very much
open for your suggestions.
All presentations from this conference can be found on our website:
From April 14-16 the 2nd edition of the WorldFood Warsaw exhibition
took place. The event offered food and drink suppliers the opportunity
to gauge interest, assess the competition and find new business
partnerships with the Polish food and beverage trade.
There was also increased interest from the Dutch side. In total 12 Dutch
companies and organisations were present, mainly in the speciallyorganised Dutch Pavilion. In all, more than 3,300 people visited the fair to
see the 192 exhibitors from 28 countries.
The Dutch presence was facilitated and promoted thanks to the
cooperation between the Netherlands Polish Council for Trade Promotion
(NPCH), the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce and the
Embassy of the Netherlands.
In addition, two events were organised for the Dutch participants of the
fair and the Polish stakeholders from the food and beverage sector, such
as an individual matchmaking event by NPCH and a networking breakfast
by the Embassy of the Netherlands. The breakfast event provided the
opportunity to learn more about the developments and trends in the
Polish retail sector via a presentation by the leading agricultural and food
web portal, named portalspozywczy.pl.
“The cooperation between NPCH, the Chamber and the Embassy
offered a platform for Dutch companies to present themselves and
it increases their chances of getting a foothold in the Polish food and
beverage market,” said Martijn Homan, Agricultural Counsellor, Embassy
of the Netherlands.
Board member of the NPCC
Statue for Ida
Regular readers of this column will know that I always try to
refer to the Polish situation but that is not always easy. For
the last two weeks I was in Burkina Faso and I felt a little like
the famous Polish writer and journalist, Ryszard Kapuściński.
I know Africa a little bit. I lived and worked in Nigeria for two
years and I carried out projects in Mali, Zambia and now also
in Burkina Faso. These projects were related to the Dutch
organisation PUM (Project uitgetreden managers / Retired
PUM is financed by VNO/NCW and the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the focus is to assist small and medium-sized
companies in underdeveloped countries.
You do not get paid for PUM projects, but a small daily
allowance keeps you alive. It is not always easy as the
other party in that third world often has different ideas about
how to run a company, especially when you have to deal
with the owner himself. Anyway, why am I writing about
this in a magazine for the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of
I was staying and working in Bobo Dioulasso, a large city in
the south of Burkina Faso, where I was assisted by the local
PUM representative, Ida. Ida was/is for me the Elro of PUM
in Burkina Faso.
She lived for 7 years in the Netherlands following - as she
told me - her love. That went wrong. When her mother fell
ill, she decided to take care of her and so she returned to
Burkina Faso, She is happy that she took this decision.
Family connections count more in Africa and Poland
compared to our Dutch way of thinking. She has lived back
in her own country for twenty years now but she hasn’t
forgotten the Dutch language or - more importantly - the
She is active in finding new projects and tries to connect local
companies with Dutch-interested parties. She rides around
on her motorbike - like everyone - and she is happy that
she can help her country of Burkina Faso with some Dutch
input. During the evenings, when I invited her for dinner, she
reminisced about the Netherlands.
She missed it. In her country, there is often no electricity and
things either go slowly or not at all. Nobody comes on time,
but she is the exception! The streets are dirty, to say the
least, and wherever you go you see men sitting under a tree
talking, smoking and, in general, not working.
That is life, Ida told me, and therefore she has lost interest
in searching for a husband. So, at the age of fifty, she is
a receptionist in a hotel and, in addition to that, the PUM
coordinator. I know that there are many more Idas in
many more countries, but when you meet one who is still
enthusiastic about what she can do then, all of a sudden, it
is like you are in a different world.
A world which we know exists, but which we do not take part
in. We observe it from a distance and that is all. I have always
been proud to be Dutch and in the period when I lived abroad
I simply introduced myself as coming from ‘Cruyff country’.
When a local person in Burkina Faso is proud and happy to
represent Dutch interests, we should be proud of that. Whilst
in Burkina Faso, the first DAF truck I saw was an HZ (Hans
Zuiderwijk) truck and I also saw Wielton lorries.
HZ was as always ‘In Connection’, just like they write it on
their trucks and Wielton was as Polish as could be. Far away
in Africa, I met a local lady fighting for Dutch interests and
I saw an old HZ truck and Wielton lorries. Do not tell me that
we live in a very small world, but instead buy a statue for Ida.
Remco van der Kroft
board normally also has a president. An alternative form of
representation is the “president together with another board
licensed lawyer) and
The general meeting of shareholders is the other mandatory
partner of Olczak-Klimek Van corporate body or simply the shareholder when there is only
der Kroft Węgielek
Who should be
on the board of my
This is one of the questions I get asked most often by my
clients. These clients are often Dutch companies in the
process of setting up a Polish subsidiary or which have just
acquired one. In most cases, we are talking about a Polish
limited liability company.
Often they will have found a country manager or inherited the
former management board after acquiring the shares of an
existing company. The questions which then come up are:
can we trust the local management, should we trust them and
how much control should we exercise?
One will get very different approaches from different clients.
I have seen those who simply trusted the existing management
in a company they acquired, which led to them being robbed
by that management. But on the other side of the spectrum,
I have seen clients who sat on the management board of
a Polish company without really understanding what was going
on, without being present in Poland, but being personally
liable nevertheless. As I concluded in Bulletin 32 (available
on my firm’s website), the potential liabilities of being on the
board of a Polish company should not be underestimated.
Before we get to what is a desirable management structure
from a shareholder’s point of view, let us go back to basics
and look at what the Polish Code of Commercial Companies
has to say on this.
A Polish limited liability company has to have a management
board (zarząd) consisting of one or more members. The
articles of association will determine whether the company can
be represented by one or by two members. The management
An optional but common feature is the permanent-proxy
holder (in Polish the “prokurent”). There are two types of
permanent-proxy holders: the independent one, who can sign
on his own, and the joint one, who can only sign together with
another permanent-proxy holder. This is quite a dangerous
institution because the permanent-proxy holder has very
similar powers to represent a company to a management
board member, but without the potential liability.
Lastly, it is possible to institute a supervisory board consisting
of one or more members. It is not possible, as is common in
Anglo-Saxon countries and also possible in the Netherlands,
that the supervisory directors and executive directors sit on
one board together. I will leave the rare audit committee for
what it is.
In addition, the Polish Civil Code also offers help in the form of
an ordinary power of attorney. Then there is the management
contract or employment agreement.
Now, what to make of all this? My advice is usually that the
management structure should reflect reality. There is nothing
worse for the local member of the management board than
if all decisions are taken at shareholder level, while they bear
all the risk of criminal and civil liability in Poland. Of course, in
this article, “they” means “he” or “she”.
So, before designing the final management structure, the
question has to be answered as to who will take the real
business decisions on a daily basis, and who will decide what
will be declared to the tax office. If this is the local manager,
they should probably be on the management board.
The shareholders’ interests can then be dealt with by putting
stringent control mechanisms in place (in the articles of
association and/or in the agreement with the manager).
Alternatively, if the real business decisions will be taken
abroad, the responsible person at shareholder level should
probably be on the board and the country manager can
function perfectly well with a power of attorney allowing them
to deal with a specific list of day-to-day issues.