Diversity is key


Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA), Bobbi McKay wants to see more diversity in the manufacturing sector.
In an interview with the Barbados Advocate, she admitted that there are companies that use BMEX as the opportunity to bring new products to the market, and they are hoping to see more of this in the years to come. But, she acknowledges that to diversify the sector may be easier said than done, as it will not only require a shift in the mindsets of the players in the sector, and more emphasis to be placed on research and development (R&D), but additional finances.
She indicated while there are companies that allocate a portion of their budget to R&D, there are others, who though they can afford it, have an “if it works, don’t change it” mentality, which she noted is likely to hinder their growth.
“Those are the ones that have to recognise that there are times they have to go back to the drawing board and either bring something new or do what they are doing different. But we are not seeing enough of that at all,” she said.
She added, “We have to encourage them to get out of their comfort zones, as doing so would redound not only to the benefit of their companies, but the wider country. So there needs to be whole change in thinking and they need to be challenged to get out of the box.”
McKay explained that R&D is mostly seen within the larger companies, noting that a lack of funding is what usually prevents smaller enterprises from pursuing new ideas. Questioned then as whether there was a part for the BMA and Government to play together to help smaller manufacturers with their R&D, McKay said while such a collaboration would be an excellent partnership, it is not realistic in the current economic environment, given the money such an initiative would require.
“I know that Government is not in a position to do that, so it would be more up to the Association to see if there is an agency that would be willing to partner with us, because research and development is really crucial to the survival of the sector,” she said.
The BMA Executive Director said similar assistance has been discussed internally and it is an area that is likely to be explored in the future. (JRT)

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