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Now, forgive me for my simplistic understanding of these concepts. While I work with the supply chain sector I am approaching this from the viewpoint of the consumer, the guy who benefits from all of this.


My understanding is this: what works in one part of the country should work for all other parts.


Now, this isn’t always doable. Circumstances in Manila, say, are different from circumstances in Iloilo, or in General Santos, or in Tuguegarao. The complex geographical nature of the country means we cannot rely on one form of transportation for everything. Sometimes it’s best to transport goods by sea; sometimes by air. Most times you’ll have to craft a route that involves two or three forms of transport, and even that wouldn’t always be applicable: you can’t go on sea if there’s a typhoon; you can’t go on land if the roads are not passable.


But these circumstances are ones that are easily managed, for the most part. Those in charge of delivering every sort of product—necessities, luxuries, and everything in between—would have had that sorted: made contingency plans, prepared for any eventualities, just to mitigate any delays and, thus, soften any impact on the bottom line. They’d want any potential hassle to be sorted out before the system starts running, both to ensure that no problems prove to be disruptive enough for the entire supply chain, but also to allow them the freedom to do what matters most: deliver a better product through collaborating with internal and external stakeholders.


Thing is, bureaucratic requirements are not unified. My understanding is they should be, but in reality, they aren’t. Different agencies require different accreditations; a manufacturer, say, or a logistics provider, would have to submit the same requirements to different organizations just to be able to operate. That has two significant effects. One, there is a hit in productivity: the time, manpower and resources spent on fulfilling these requirements—and often —takes time, manpower and resources away from delivering a better product. Two, there is a window for corruption: the bureaucratic burden can compel some to look for shortcuts, whether it be a legal loophole or an under-the-table transaction—and that does not make for a world-class supply chain.


Also, that restricts the growth of supply chain stakeholders all over the country. If I am a trucker, say, who’s fully accredited to operate in one of Manila’s ports, why is it difficult for me to expand my operations to Subic or Batangas? Why do I have to jump through all those hoops again?


These concerns were raised in one of our recent meetings with the government and other industry stakeholders. I hope this becomes one of the priorities of this administration. The Ease of Doing Business Law includes a provision for allowing various government agencies to share documentary requirements to prevent stakeholders from having to submit the same materials over and over again; I hope this becomes a reality. The proposed Joint Administrative Order includes a plan to unify the port districts of Manila, which should simplify things here—but how do we encourage port users to move to Subic or Batangas (and decongest Manila) if the barriers to entry are still steep? Can we enable players to step up their services by expanding to other parts of the country as easily as possible?


I am certain many supply chain stakeholders in the private sector want to elevate their game. The bureaucracy must be simplified (within reason) to allow them to do so.


Supply Chain Immersion: Join us on 17-19 May for our annual Supply Chain Immersion, which this year will be held in Bacolod City via MV St. Michael the Archangel. Explore and understand supply chain from end to end through immersive workshops, seminars and site tours—including a visit to important parts of the country’s sugar supply chain. Visit scmap.org to register and to learn more.


Henrik Batallones is the marketing and communications executive of SCMAP. A former board director, he is also editor-in-chief of the organization’s official publication, Supply Chain Philippines. More information about SCMAP is available at scmap.org.

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