Issue - March/April 2022

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Building Strong Relationships in Ecuador

By Carlos Enrique Avalos, President, Sandhill Global Relocation and Moving

Moving into Ecuador or other countries in the region can be a real challenge due to laws and regulations constantly changing. To mention an example, the list of restricted/quantity items for Ecuador imports has changed three times in the past two years. There is also no standardization of the supply chain, which makes the interpretation of these changing laws and regulations a crucial part of our service.


In Ecuador, the national regulations require a detailed description of the items to be brought into the country as household goods, almost as if the client would be importing commercial cargo. The SENAE, or customs authority, reviews the packing list with extensive and meticulous details that the law requires, which adds a layer of complexity depending on the criteria of the official in charge. Lack of correct guidance could lead to customers thinking that the country will not pay attention to detail, ignoring the idiosyncrasy of the civil servants. This can lead to delays in delivery and extra costs that had not been contemplated from the beginning by the importer. 


It is important to understand the laws and local procedures to make sure the information is transmitted through the whole value chain. At Sandhill Ecuador, we handle this complex environment by promoting transparent relationships with authorities and staying in touch with foreign affairs and members of the diplomatic corps, so that we can ultimately favor our clients and Ecuadorian returning migrants, and develop fruitful commercial relations in our country. 


From a strategic point of view, at Sandhill Ecuador the focus is on the people at all levels of the supply chain, beginning with our own. Promoting innovation and challenging the status quo are part of our core values, creating a ripple effect that positively challenges our complex cultures. Within our company, we reward strong leadership principles such as commitment to operational excellence and people who seek win-win strategies and solutions. How can we be better partners? How can we be that positive connector and communicator between clients, agents and government institutions? These are questions that we constantly ask ourselves to keep elevating our standards.


Most of our clients at Sandhill Ecuador come through referrals, our own lead generator, and strategic commercial campaigns. Once we have the great honor to serve a customer, our collaborators work hard every day to deliver exceptional service. Customer retention at its most basic level is achieved through personalized service, timely communication and traceability of all shipments.


Additionally, we pride ourselves in building long term relationships with our customers. Today's competitive landscape and evolving technology allow customers to seek the partner and company to which their values align. Customers today know what good service looks like and that is our highest standard. Our purpose-driven company promotes respect, loyalty, transparency, appreciation, with the compromise that we will keep on delivering high quality and provide optimal service to our customers.


Sandhill was born during the pandemic, so I would say that Covid has been our biggest obstacle so far. After that, compliance with bureaucratic regulations and of course competition are constant obstacles that help us improve. The most rewarding thing about our work, on the other hand, is receiving our clients’ positive evaluations and reviews.


Sharing these with our collaborators, while celebrating achievements small and large, and watching them grow and smile fills my heart. Meeting and exchanging experiences with all our friends at conventions, too, has been very helpful. Last year, IAM welcomed Sandhill Ecuador as part of the family and we are very proud to be here. At the moment these are the accolades received; now, we focus our path into becoming leaders in the moving and relocation industry.