Executives of the region expect their country’s trade to grow mainly with other countries of the Latin American region.
MIAMI, October 14th, 2013. The sixth edition of the UPS Business Monitor Latin America (BMLA), a study commissioned by UPS, revealed that Latin American executives agree that finding and retaining qualified personnel, as well as government support are key in fostering competitiveness among businesses in the region.
Surveyed executives identified that their local governments should focus primarily on improving access to capital and financing as well as education and training. Furthermore, when asked about the factors that contribute to the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their respective countries, the majority of executives affirmed that skilled labor and adoption of new technologies were crucial to improving the competitiveness of their business.
Offering insight into the evolution of SMEs in Latin America, the BMLA study revealed that 47% of the surveyed executives consider that they are in a better economic position than they were a year ago, especially those in Chile, Mexico and Colombia.
“The BMLA study clearly demonstrates that Latin America is at the forefront of growth and we see that SMEs are predominantly optimistic about the next months,” said Jose Acosta, president of Latin American operations and public affairs for UPS Americas Region.“To continue advancing this progress and improving competitiveness in Latin America, executives points out that local government support is a priority in order to improve global trade opportunities. The search for suppliers and efficient customs processes for exporting and importing are the main barriers for global expansion of Latin American SMEs,” Acosta added.
Finding and retaining qualified personnel is the top concern regarding workforce issues. Lack of skilled labor and increased labor costs are other areas of concern, especially in Brazil and Argentina. Almost half of the interviewed executives plan to incorporate personnel in their company; however they expressed the difficulty of finding the right personnel with adequate qualifications.
Executives of the region expect their country’s trade to grow mainly with other countries of the Latin American region. They also point out North America and Asia-Pacific as the regions with which trade will increase. The prospects for growth in exports are higher in Colombia and Mexico. On the other hand, Argentina and Brazil are the ones showing the most pessimistic views regarding export.
However, most SMEs in the region that participate in global trade do so through importing goods into their countries. The Chilean and Dominican Republic SMEs are the most active regarding international trade. Imports are predominant over exports but in Argentina and Mexico both activities are somewhat more balanced. Most of the SMEs especially in Chile, Colombia and Mexico that carry out international trade consider that global trade has been beneficial for their business.
The role of technology
When it comes to technology use in the region, it was found that most SMEs have incorporated it into their operations. The majority of surveyed enterprises still use a mix of both online and offline platforms; only one out of 10 SMEs work entirely offline.The study also shows that this adoption of new technologies has allowed for the improvement of customer service and overall productivity among SMEs.
“Technology has not only provided SMEs with new opportunities for growth, but has undeniably provided efficient new ways to manage a business,” said Eduardo Gamarra, professor of Latin American and Caribbean politics at Florida International University.“With the growing use of technological solutions in more countries in the region, SMEs will see improvements in the productivity of their business, which will contribute to the competitiveness and growth of the region that these executives have said to foresee in the horizon.”
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