When did Yobel decide to come to Ecuador, and why?
Yobel came to Ecuador 45 years ago, and from the outset, our goal has been to be a regional player with the support of our partners. Our strategy has been developed with BELCORP, a strategic business ally. We offer outsourcing in supply chain management in 13 countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the US. We first came to Ecuador because one of our partners wanted us to drive their expansion. Our first services in Ecuador included warehouse and door-to-door distribution, and 13 years ago we began offering direct sales services.
What services does Yobel currently offer?
The company has gradually expanded to include commercial activities of the sector. Our top priority is to support the expansion and growth of our customers through the services we provide: distribution, warehousing, goods monitoring, assembly and packaging and promotion. Currently, Yobel works with 12 companies in Quito and Guayaquil.
What are the largest companies working with Yobel?
All the companies we work with are integral to our business, as they have each taught us lessons about the local market. We lead the assembly and packaging activity for Colgate and Pronaca, and we distribute for Nestle and Kimberly-Clark. We support these latter two customers with warehousing services in Quito and Guayaquil. We provide warehousing for 4life, and are currently in discussions to launch a partnership with Cerveceria Nacional, which would represent an important step forward for our business volume. We also work with Calzacuero supplying warehousing and distribution. It is standard for customers to come and go, but these customers represent our main focus and activity.
In your opinion, which economic sector offers the greatest opportunities for Yobel to consolidate its activities?
For a developing country, BELCORP offers considerable potential in terms of volume. In this context, we are interested in working with high-volume mass consumption companies such as Unilever. We would also like to expand our partnership with Kimberly-Clark. In terms of food and beverages, we are nearing the closure of a deal with what we believe to be the largest, most attractive partner we could work with, Cerveceria Nacional.
How would you describe the supply chain management of Yobel?
Yobel provides this service to Peru and Mexico predominately, though we work with companies from India and the US to implement supply chain management as well. We support the entire process: import/export, customs clearance, production, packaging, etc. This is the kind of supply chain management Yobel offers to its customers. Our aim is to incorporate more services into our portfolio and be a 4PL service provider.
What is your outlook for Yobel's development in 2015 and onwards?
For us, 2015 has been an interesting year in which we saw great development in the assembly and packaging segment that has opened doors and led to interesting business opportunities. It is difficult to talk about overall volumes for 2015, as it depends on the production segment being discussed. We expect to close the year with several new customers. In terms of direct sales, volumes have slightly decreased, but if we look at mass consumption volumes, assembly and packaging and distribution, we will close 2015 with a 22% growth compared to the previous year. This is due to our efforts to diversify our business portfolio. As for 2016, we aim to continue growing and creating more direct and indirect job opportunities for Ecuadorians. It is a great country to invest in and the workforce is highly skilled, hard working, creative and has a growing talent pool among graduates.