Nawaf Salameh, President and Founder of the Alexandrion Group: The companies that want to expand globally should outsource some of their services to be competitive
Nawaf Salameh, President and Founder of the Alexandrion Group, the largest producer of spirits and wines in Romania, spoke about the business model which has ensured the success and development of the group at global level. Service outsourcing, the expansion to as many countries as possible and the launch of new product categories, innovative for a particular market, such as the first Romanian whiskey single malt, which the Alexandrion Group will soon launch globally are among the highlights of the Group’s long-term strategy. Nawaf Salameh also spoke about the impact of the pandemic on the alcoholic beverages industry overall and the changes that have occurred in the consumers’ behaviour and buying decisions.
“It is not easy to lead a global business, in continuous expansion, but there are always solutions. Each entrepreneur must know its strengths, focus on them and outsource the segments in which it does not have the necessary expertise. Service outsourcing to a partner present in at least 100 countries, that has the necessary know-how and staff to execute the tasks of certain departments, at global level, is a much more efficient and much less expensive strategy than the increase of the employee number. Alexandrion Group has outsourced the human resources department to a Big Four company, which will ensure the human resources management for 150 countries, it does not only act as a consultant. We also outsource financial, legal services and even administrative services. If we hadn’t adopted this strategy, we would have had 20,000 employees and right now we have 1,000 employees, globally. Unfortunately, the service outsourcing is misunderstood and was attacked in justice several times and the companies were the ones that always lost” said Nawaf Salameh.
The Founding President of the Alexandrion Group spoke about the launch of the first Romanian single malt whiskey, an event which will put Romania on the global map of single malt producers.
“I love all the products from the Alexandrion Group’s portfolio, just as much, but a few years ago I discovered that Romania is just as capable as Scotland, the USA, Canada or Japan to produce single malt whiskey. Moreover, the single malt whiskey produced here is even better in terms of quality. We started to produce single malt and test it, in 2017, and we will soon launch a product globally. I hope that in a few years all the consumers will look for the single malt whiskey produced in Romania, just as they are looking for the single malt whiskey produced in Japan. This gives me the confidence that Romania has great opportunities to become a very important global player on other drink categories as well.”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges for the alcoholic beverages industry, but the companies that have a vision based on expansion and local presence in as many countries as possible, have handled the challenges much better.
“Before the pandemic, many large producers of alcoholic beverages were choosing two or three countries in which they were building tens of factories, where they had several thousands of employees and were building their global network through partners. When the pandemic broke out, the companies that had this business model were caught off guard. The Alexandrion Group’s strategy is completely different. We are present in almost 60 countries, and we treat each country differently, respecting and taking into account the specific of each market and the traditions of each country. We give the same importance to a country with around 1 million inhabitants such as Cyprus and to a country with around 340 million inhabitants, such as the USA. The pandemic confirmed the fact that my vision is correct and showed me that to be able to overcome a crisis it is much better to expand the business to as many markets as possible, than to focus on only a few” explained Nawaf Salameh.
“During the pandemic the life pace slowed down. People have now more time to search for information about products and the companies that produce them, before taking buying decisions. Alexandrion Group has another advantage in this respect, because the information about our group and our history is available and very easy to find” stressed Nawaf Salameh about the consumer’s behaviour.