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Puerto Rico Products Association steers members to new global markets

New business creation is key to reducing overloaded government payroll


April 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

The Puerto Rico Products Association’s (PRPA) 2005 convention highlighted the necessity for local manufacturers to learn the how-tos of marketing and selling their products to not only national retailers but, most importantly, international chains as well.

This is the message that PRPA Chair Francisco Martínez wants to disseminate during the coming year. "I have asked the different retail chain stores serving Puerto Rico to tell us specifically what information they need from manufacturers so they can consider adding local products to their stores, not only on the island but outside as well," said Martínez. "The government is facing a huge economic deficit, it continues to be the largest employer on the island, and this situation can’t continue. It is the private sector that should have the opportunity to create more new businesses and become the largest employer. University graduates must begin to think in what private enterprise they are going to work or what kind of new business they are going to set up, instead of depending on a government job."

PRPA Member Evaristo "Tito" Freiría, president of Universal Manufacturing Corp. and developer of Dr. Mecánico automotive and household cleaner under the new brand name DMX, provides an example of how a local product must transform and adjust to the changing global times. After 10 years in operation, Freiría identified the crossover qualities of his automotive engine cleaner Dr. Mecánico and began marketing it as a multipurpose household cleaner. To adapt to the markets and allow for penetration in U.S. mainland stores, the company is now brandishing the product as DMX.

"Manufacturers must actively look for new product developments based on market globalization," said Freiría. "Local manufacturers must start to produce with other [U.S. mainland and foreign] markets in mind, not only Puerto Rico."

As a means to increase PRPA members’ sales to retail chains, the association invited Wal-Mart Inc. executives on the first day of the convention to talk about their purchasing procedures. Instead of setting up meetings to look at products that may not initially conform to the retailer’s regulations, presentations were set up to orient manufacturers about specific procedures the company requires from its suppliers.

Business as usual took place during the convention, with manufacturers showing their products at the fair and holding meetings with potential buyers. Representatives from the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank, Scotiabank of Puerto Rico, and Banco Popular were also present to orient participants on the different financial programs offered to small and midsize businesses.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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