Marketing, promotion hurdle
LOCALLY PRODUCED GOODS’ COMPETITIVENESS in both Barbadian and overseas markets is expected to be a major challenge for the manufacturing sector this year.
Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) executive director Bobbi McKay told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY while the quality and craftsmanship of local manufacturing was first-class, many producers will find it difficult to compete against foreign goods.
“There are a number of hurdles to overcome and these include marketing and promotion. The reality is that most small and medium enterprises cannot afford the cost of marketing to promote their products.
“The result is a lack of awareness and less than optimum sales turnover,” she said.
McKay added that manufacturers who are able to land their products in an export market often do not have the human or financial resources to further promote those goods, resulting in products that “sit on a shelf without much brand awareness”.
The executive director also said there are a number of challenges with respect to shipping and importing that impact the competitiveness of manufacturers.
“Certain inefficiencies within the Port system create delays when importing raw materials [which] result in unnecessary added costs.
“Freight costs and inter-regional transportation continue to challenge us when exporting locally produced goods,” McKay said.
One immediate solution, she said, would be to use the network of schooners that ply their trade within the region.
“There are over seventy of these which currently operate on a regular basis but only four come to Barbados because of what they consider to be prohibitive port charges and policies,” she said.
McKay noted that the BMA will be focusing on manufacturing standards and compliance during the year through partnerships with the National Council for Science and Technology, the Barbados National Standards Institute, and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation. (NB)