UPS, in collaboration with Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PhilExport), hosted a conference on the international trade opportunities available to Filipino businesses looking to boost their future growth prospects.

Titled “Taking businesses beyond the challenges of the pandemic”, the event took place in the Clark Freeport Zone and brought members of the small business (SMB) community together with trade and logistics experts to discuss the path forward as the world continues to look towards recovery.

“Partnering with CILA and PhilExport gives us an opportunity to personally connect with our customers and the community to listen to the challenges they’re facing so we can provide the logistics solutions they’re telling us they need,” said Albert Sapaen Jr., UPS Philippines’ special projects and package planning manager.

“The experience of the pandemic has shown why it is important for businesses of all sizes to build resilience and flexibility into their supply chains. Whether that’s in the form of digitalization and technology, e-commerce strategy, or exploring new trade lanes and customer bases, UPS is here to help the country’s SMBs remain agile, innovative and, ultimately, sustainable.”

The switch to digital
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many businesses have turned to digital platforms to survive, in particular accelerating or expanding e-commerce strategies. Buying and selling online has never been more accessible, and a positive customer experience is vital when shopping online.

Digital visibility and tracking solutions such as UPS My Choice and My Choice for Business help with this from the perspective of both the buyer and the seller. UPS My Choice allows consumers the flexibility of rescheduling deliveries, even when the parcel is already in transit. My Choice for Business meanwhile allows businesses to manage outbound shipments, returns, claims and all connected tracking and delivery management tools within a real-time interactive dashboard. This allows for more accurate monitoring of the status of all deliveries which in turn makes proactive communication with customers easier.

Exploring the unexplored

A centerpiece of the effort to boost trade among Asia Pacific nations is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the biggest free-trade agreement ever signed. Once in force, it could benefit Filipino SMBs across a range of industry sectors, including in the form of cost savings via tariff reductions and simplified manufacturing and supply chain processes.

However trade agreements on the scale of RCEP can be complicated, and success is not a given. SMBs should consider talking to solutions experts to uncover strategic opportunities to cut costs, improve efficiency, and streamline cross-border operations as ensuring that businesses are able to get the most out of the deal will require careful logistical planning.

A Vital Partnership

“We understand that businesses are under a lot of pressure, so we ensure that the support we provide is comprehensive, crisis-responsive and flexible,” said Russell Reed, managing director of UPS Philippines.

“In the Philippines as in many countries across Asia Pacific, most businesses are small and medium-sized, but they contribute to more than half of the region’s economy. Because SMBs are the backbone of local economies and critical to local employment, we are committed to helping them optimize their supply chain strategies and capitalize on opportunities that will help them achieve their ambitions.”

The collaboration between UPS, CILA and PhilExport is born out of shared goals in building and empowering SMBs to achieve business growth, through the implementation of resilient technology-based solutions that spread the benefits as well as the risks among stakeholders.

PhilExport is a non-profit umbrella organization of Philippine exporters while CILA assists member-locators at the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone to become globally competitive.