Logistics firm help SMEs in ecozones weather pandemic

·4 min read

A GLOBAL shipping and logistics firm has been helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Cebu’s Mactan Export Zone (MEZ) weather the supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and get over the hump into the new economic normal.

“While the global pandemic severely disrupted the operations of our valued Peza locator enterprises, we are happy to highlight that the continued operations of our locator-partners, particularly in the manufacturing sector, have continuously contributed to the country’s economic recovery by maintaining jobs and contributing to export income. With Peza’s balancing act, 98 percent of our locator-partners remain operational and are now adapting to the ‘new normal’,” said John Arffy Ceniza, MEZ information officer, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

Logistics providers like UPS have weighed in with their capability to help SMEs deliver to international customers during the pandemic. They continue to play a vital role in ensuring continued cross-border commerce and in providing valued support to overcome pandemic- or customs-related issues that arise in the course of doing business with foreign markets.

“We aim to deliver quality service for our Filipino customers at the forefront of international trade as they continue to navigate on-going challenges from the pandemic,” said Chris Buono, managing director of UPS Philippines and Indonesia. “We achieve this by putting our customers like Hatquarter Inc. and TMX Philippines first, helping them reach their business goals through innovation-driven solutions to deliver what matters for their businesses and their customers.”

Two of Cebu’s premier locator firms, TMX and Hatquarter, exemplified how Peza-registered enterprises have stepped up to overcome the unique constraints imposed by the lingering Covid-19 pandemic.

Broad challenges

How TMX responded to the broad challenges of the ongoing pandemic is a lesson worth learning.

“With this pandemic being with us for almost two years already, logistics has been one of our major concerns. Logistics here encompasses the availability of our human resources in coming to the factory and our access to raw materials coming from different suppliers worldwide, to shipping of our finished products to our customers globally. The many restrictions and controls in place have certainly limited the movements of people and goods globally,” said Jing Arcamo, Cebu Distribution Center manager, explained.

TMX Philippines Inc. was established in Cebu as the first locator of the MEZ. Over the past 42 years, its operations have evolved from simple assembly of finished watches to include assembling its own movements and modules, manufacture of components such as hands, dials, stick-on markers, plastic injection operations and plastic case decorations.

Eduardo Odgien, Transportation manager, attributed such successful adjustments to the company’s long-standing partnership with UPS. “UPS gives options where TMX can effectively and efficiently deliver finished products to global customers in a timely manner. UPS’s established global network also allows us to ensure we continue to get the critical support needed even through the peak season.”

Changes in manufacturing process

Meanwhile, Hatquarter Inc. rolled out some changes to its manufacturing process to survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since our business entails skills-driven activities such as fabric cutting, digitized-embroidery, sewing and packing, 90 percent of our 815 employees work on-site. This means the risk of transmission is high. So to be as safe as we can, we decided to do multiple break times for a smaller group of staff, observe strict social distancing, as well as implement other restrictions and arrangements across our facility,” said Amabel Cale, Hatquarter shipping manager.

Hatquarter Inc. is the sole manufacturer of the Puma brand for head accessories and caps. The company has been in business for more than 30 years. It produces 18,000 to 20,000 caps daily, and up to five million to six million caps a year. Its products are directly distributed to more than 80 countries around the world.

Cale also credited UPS for her company’s success.

“UPS is very visible in the international market. That is why the majority of our clients choose to ship with UPS, particularly our samples and bulk shipments every season. Moving our goods to our clients on time is very important as this is one of the metrics for our delivery performance, and UPS delivers it well with prompt and real time updates allowing our supply chain activities to be truly effective and sustainable to our business,” she said. (KOC with PR)

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