Issue - March/April 2022

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

In Colombia, Flexibility and a Commitment to Service are Key

By Miguel Florez, General Manager, Aviomar

One of the most unique challenges we face here in Colombia is regulations. Because of the pandemic conditions, in some cases our customers have had little to no flexibility. Locally, we have also experienced instability due to social problems, which has increased internal transport costs considerably. Now, in a generalized way for the region, we find challenges in terms of sea freight due to its high value and lower availability. Air freight tariffs are more steady, but availability is very limited due to connectivity restrictions.


On the other hand, availability of packing material is another issue; at times we have had to buy it from Asia, where prices were as much as 30% higher. Inflation has impacted all of our cost structures, and last but not least, an issue that is happening globally: remaining in just one place is not as attractive anymore. The workforce market has become very competitive, and qualified personnel have been assessing new opportunities for more competitive salaries and advanced markets.


Experience has taught us to handle conflicting regulations, customs requirements, and cultures with communication and management of expectations. It is important not to promise what you can´t accomplish, but unfortunately there are competitors in the market who make false promises on services with not-very-sustainable prices, resulting in unhappy clients.


It can be very difficult to manage business involving other cultures where the logistics chain has been relatively stable. Customers expect our behavior to be the same, not knowing the reality of what´s happening internally, in spite of being advised of the current condition of our market.


To connect with and retain loyal customers, we have developed a comprehensive system of answering questions, guiding clients through the whole process, and providing our customers with all relevant information about their opportunities, along with providing solutions to the exceptions in each service.


It is always preferable to let the client know of forthcoming events that may happen. The market has changed—Aviomar´s Clients don’t look just for the lowest price, they look for solutions for what they need and right there is where our professional team generates added value.


Colombia and other countries on our region, live in a kind of permanent “crisis” where the obstacles to business are variable. In our experience, this requires us to be flexible—always ready to adjust our plans and align our objectives. This is an advantage that has helped us as a team and as a company. What is important is not to lose view of the fundamentals, such as the service, clients and of course the cash flow. Nowadays, it is important to always inspect our margins in such a variable environment and where inflation heavily pressures our costs. 


It is a great reward to see that in moments of crisis, the teams you have created show their value and creativity in solving problems, all focused on the same goals. I have been very lucky to see our processes evolve and grow, and to be on hand when the customers, in spite of all the difficulties, show their gratitude for how well we respond to difficulties. On our social media, we regularly publish accolades sent from customers, for our services and for accomplishing solutions with innovation to make our processes and their moves smoother and more efficient.