Guide to Sourcing from Poland and Central & Eastern Europe

The world is experiencing a dynamic shift in supply chains, with many businesses pivoting their strategies to secure and strengthen their networks. Amidst this transformation, Poland and the broader Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) region have emerged as preferred sourcing destinations for Scandinavian companies. In this guide, we delve into the reasons behind sourcing from Poland, the potential challenges, success factors, the range of products Nordic companies source from these regions, and actions that your company can take. secure and strengthen

Table of Contents

The past few years have seen unprecedented disruptions in global supply chains. A survey conducted in Sweden revealed that 77% of companies were grappling with these challenges, which remained a top priority for them[1]. McKinsey’s annual supply chain survey echoed these sentiments, citing network resilience, supply chain planning, digitization, and risk management as key priorities for 2022[2]. And in the spring of 2023 McKinsey noted that “Procurement leaders who had hoped that macroeconomic conditions in 2023 would make their jobs easier than last year are already disappointed”.
Inventory Management Evolution 2019 to 2022
To combat these disruptions and strengthen supply chain resilience, many businesses are moving towards regional supply networks. Dual sourcing and regionalization of supply chains are becoming increasingly significant. Companies are seeking smarter ways to ensure resilience while keeping inventory costs under control.
In the wake of these changes, CEE has emerged as a nearshoring hub for European companies and is now in the spotlight for manufacturing. According to a 2022 report by Bain, around 68% of German manufacturers are planning to diversify their supply chains after the pandemic and 64% of US manufacturers say reshoring will follow the pandemic [3]. Major corporations such as Bosch, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Decathlon, Vestas, and BMW have planned or completed investments to nearshore manufacturing into the region.
Poland, in particular as the powerhouse of the CEE region, has been identified as the most popular sourcing and reshoring location for European companies. A study by Reuters Events and A.P. Moller-Maersk reveals that businesses are looking in the nearby region to rebalance their supply chains in an attempt to reduce risk while increasing oversight and improving sustainability. The study indicates that Germany and Poland are the most attractive sourcing and reshoring locations [4].

Why Nordic Companies Should Choose Poland?

There are several factors that make Poland an attractive sourcing destination:

  1. Dynamic Market: Poland is one of the most dynamic and attractive markets in Europe. By getting closer to the Polish market, businesses unlock immense market potential.
  2. Location: From a Nordic perspective, Poland is conveniently located just across the Baltic and at the heart of Europe.
  3. Manufacturing Traditions: Manufacturing is a cornerstone of the Polish economy, contributing 22% of the country’s GDP. Being the 5th largest manufacturing country in the EU,  the country’s manufacturing sector presents both strong traditions and size.
  4. Quality and Value: Polish suppliers are known for their high-quality output, flexibility, and good value.
  5. Reliability: Businesses can rely on Polish suppliers for consistent, high-quality output and long-term relationships.

When is Sourcing from Poland a Good Idea?

Sourcing from Poland can be beneficial when businesses are looking for suppliers in the nearby region that deliver high-quality output, are reliable, offer good value, and are focused on building long-term relationships.

However, it may not be advantageous for businesses looking for small volumes, one-off purchases, or those with a sole focus on lowest production cost.

Successful sourcing from Poland depends on several factors:

  1. Clear Goals: Start with defining what you want to achieve and what your needs are.
  2. Structured Approach: Define the supplier profile, list potential suppliers, screen and evaluate the identified companies, select and meet the best candidates, and carry out an RFQ process.
  3. Due Diligence: Make an effort to minimize risk and maximize potential for success. Take time to visit several companies and thoroughly evaluate them.
  4. Building Relationships: Cultivate long-term relationships and learn about the local culture.
The most significant product categories that Nordic companies import from Poland fall under machinery & transport, manufactured materials, and manufactured articles. Within these categories, the top products include electrical machinery, telecommunications equipment, vehicle parts & accessories, and specialized machinery like agricultural machinery and power-generating machinery. Manufacturing of metal components, wood, furniture, and plastic articles is also significant.
The flow of goods from Poland to Sweden has seen significant growth, from less than 30 billion SEK in 2010 to over 88 billion SEK in 2022, marking an aggregated growth of almost 200% from 2010-2022. The sectors contributing to this growth include machinery, metal works, telecommunication equipment, iron/steel, and vehicles.

Here at Explore Markets, we support clients in their journey into Poland, CEE, and the Nordics. Our international expansion consultants are poised to drive your growth with modern market entry strategies and local partnerships. As experts in supply chains, we offer detailed insights into the best sourcing opportunities in the CEE region. We are committed to seeing you succeed and are ready to challenge the status quo, fostering a culture of curiosity and continuous improvement.

Explore Markets - Contact your supply chain experts

Poland and the broader CEE region offer excellent sourcing opportunities for Scandinavian companies. By understanding the dynamics and trends of these markets, businesses can make informed decisions and strengthen their supply chains. With the right approach, clear goals, and local partnerships, businesses can tap into the immense potential these markets have to offer.

[1] Svenskt Näringsliv survey, October 2022

[2] “Taking the pulse of shifting supply chains”, McKinsey, August 26, 2022 

[3] “Private Equity and Venture Capital in Central and Eastern Europe”, Bain, 2022 

[4] “A generational shift in sourcing strategy – A global and European deep dive into near-sourcing, nearshoring and reshoring in the post-pandemic world”, Reuters Events and A.P. Moller-Maersk, November 2022


Thinking about sourcing from Poland?

You can rely on our experienced professionals to bring their knowledge, benchmarks and best practices from variety of industries.