Key macro trends influence companies' operations on a micro scale

Luc Williams

The participants of the discussion “Perspectives of the global economy” quite unanimously pointed out the important changes that have taken place in the global economy in recent years, the consequences of which are still felt today. First of all, it is about events that Nassim Taleb, a guest at last year's edition of Impact, called “black swans”.

– We are in an unprecedented situation because in the last few years the world has experienced two such black swan events, i.e. events that change global markets. This is about the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine – said Adam Manikowski, vice-president of the management board of the Żabka Group, managing director of Żabka Polska, during the debate.

As he noted, this had broad consequences, for example in the form of an increase in prices of raw materials, energy, and turmoil in international trade.

– The key information at the moment is that the era of cheap money is ending – said Adam Manikowski.

He added that after a period when central banks pursued different monetary policies, it was tightened very much, which affects the economy as well as real estate prices. At the same time, a representative of the Żabka Group assessed that we are not threatened by the specter of a global recession, but by a slowdown in growth, despite the encounter with two black swans.

An important topic in the discussion was the issue of China. Marek Belka, a member of the European Parliament and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and head of the National Bank of Poland, spoke about this, among others. As he described, China has huge problems, including: with the demographic situation, dependence on exports, and irrational savings.

Adam Manikowski gained professional experience in China. As he described during the discussion, it was at a time when the country was very open, internationalized, attracted business, and had a double-digit GDP growth.

– It was a completely different world. Now even fewer people travel to China as tourists because it is very closed. This was also influenced by COVID-19 and the strategy adopted to fight it, said Adam Manikowski.

As he noted, China's economic growth has now clearly slowed down.

– China plans to reach 5 percent this year. GDP growth, but it is not known whether it will be possible and what effects it will have on the global economy – said Adam Manikowski.

However, he pointed out that the problem is broader and that generally large, developed economies are starting to struggle with the “Japanese disease”.

– They have had lethargic growth like Japan since the early 1990s, due to an aging population and falling productivity – he said.

The discussion also included topics directly related to business. Adam Manikowski drew attention to the industrial revolution related to green energy and the implementation of ESG strategies. In his opinion, this may be a factor that will influence the economic map of the world.

– This may cause a change for some countries that are not currently on top, not a power, but thanks to the fact that they are already investing in green energy, they have a chance to strengthen their position – he said.

Another important trend that the representative of the Żabka Group encountered while working in North America, and which is now becoming visible in Europe, is demand-driven trade, i.e. trade focusing on demand.

– It has several implications. This means that businesses and organizations that really want to operate competitively on the market must pay even more attention to how they identify the demand of their customers, individual or business. There are already tools for this purpose and more and more companies use them, said Adam Manikowski.

These tools allow you to analyze market data in real time and better identify demand.

– We see that many organizations are changing their supply chains due to this trend. They must be more flexible and more effective, which allows them to meet the changing demand of individual and business customers – explained the vice-president of the management board of the Żabka Group.

– We talk a lot about AI, big data, machine learning, robotization – organizations that are able to skillfully integrate them into their business model gain competitive advantages thanks to the fact that they not only recognize the demand of their customers better, surgically, but are also able to will be able to anticipate it properly and, thanks to the flexibility they have, adapt to this change – said Adam Manikowski.

He drew attention to another technology-related trend. This is about hybrid trade, replacing the idea of ​​multichannel, i.e. combining the offline and online channels and, additionally, all the tools that support them.

– Hybrid trade is an interesting trend that is difficult to implement, but there are organizations that do it successfully and are present in various channels, using technologies. Thanks to this, they gain very strong competitive advantages – emphasized Adam Manikowski.

The discussion led by Anna Gromada, a sociologist and economist, alongside Marek Belka and Adam Manikowski, was attended by: Marcin Gadomski, vice-president of the management board of Bank Pekao SA, supervising the risk management department, Maciej Reluga, member of the management board of Santander Bank Polska SA, managing the financial management department and chief economist of the bank , and Piotr Arak, chief economist at VeloBank.

photo: press materials


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