AT LEAST 225 small and 25 big enterprises, including exporters, have benefited from participating in a program designed to increase their productivity and competitiveness.

This was bared by Dr. Miraflora Gatchalian, governor of the Institute for Productivity and Competitiveness Foundations Inc., the productivity arm of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop).

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Gatchalian said industries covered by the ECOPs Big Enterprise Small Enterprise (Ebese) program include the automotive industry, food, agro-industries, semiconductor, printing and packaging, fashion accessories and furniture and decors.

These companies are located in Pampanga, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.

"We are looking forward that there are (more) big enterprises that will be interested to join us so they can help move up the status of SMEs," Gatchalian said.

Through the program, Gatchalian said small enterprises are assisted by the big ones to improve their quality, cost and delivery to effectively respond to demands of customers and buyers.

"Small enterprise suppliers need assistance because they find difficulty in pursuing the modern approaches in business survival," she said.

She added there is also limited time and resources for the SMEs to focus on quality and productivity programs that can greatly affect their performance in terms of ensuring product quality, cost and delivery.

Gatchalian pointed out that the EBESE program approach involves action training or "learning-by-doing."

She explained that a consultant acts as a mentor to the company's productivity team during the actual implementation of improvements within three months.

Gatchalian said improvements will be applied only on three areas: 5S or good housekeeping, plant layout and production process.

She said key result areas include increase product or service quality, on-time delivery of goods/services and reduce cost of doing business.

"The most important very clear indication of change is the increasing relationship of employers and employees who are working together solve problems, and the satisfied customers," she noted.

With this, Gatchalian said the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) concluded that the Ebese program was effective and has met its objectives.

"The BE-SE relationship was enhanced. The Ebese has upgraded the skills of the SME beneficiaries (management and employees)," she said. (PR)