UP ISSI ramps up its expertise on MSME productivity with an echo workshop

Reviving the Philippine economy has been unimaginably difficult for key actors like the government, private sector, and relevant civil society organizations. To date, the pandemic has been on the upsurge for the last 19 months now. It has claimed millions of jobs, taken more than forty thousand lives (and still counting), impaired most formal social institutions, turned the lives of families upside down and these turbulent times also led to indefinitely halting the growth of MSMEs which contribute to almost 40% of the country’s gross domestic product and provide 62% of its workforce.

Before the pandemic, the Philippines was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. However, it is now barely recuperating from the damages of this global health crisis. Being cognizant of complex disruptions of this pandemic to the MSMEs and other related industries, the University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries became more driven more than ever in personifying its dedication as a prime mover in helping the MSME sector to be resilient, relevant, and responsive to the times. up issi echo workshop

The UP ISSI sent a delegation to the recently concluded Workshop on Enhancing Productivity of SMEs sponsored and organized by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) held last August 11-13, 2021. The delegation is composed of Mr. Reynold Fedinand G. Manegdeg, Head of the Business Enterprise Development Division, and Mr. Jeffrey C. Sumalabe, University Extension Specialist II from the Research Division.

The said workshop was participated in by practitioners, entrepreneurs, economists, academicians, and experts from the 21 APO member economies which include the Philippines. Distinguished and seasoned resource speakers from Fiji, Malaysia, and Singapore shared their knowledge and expertise on enhancing business productivity. Moreover, the workshop focused on practice-based and data-driven strategies in navigating the volatility of the MSME sector worldwide while excellently and innovatively meeting the needs of the customers and at the same time maintaining a culture of productivity.

After the said APO-sponsored workshop, Mr. Manegdeg and Mr. Sumalabe took the center stage of cascading their pieces of learning and insights to the rest of the institute last October 7, 2021. They have facilitated a virtual echo workshop participated by staff from the four ISSI divisions. The session focused on localizing the productivity strategies and interventions that can be helpful for businesses and entrepreneurs in the country that ISSI works for and with, specifically in harnessing their operational efficiency, institutionalizing technology-mediated business processes, and expediting decision-making.

up issi staff
ISSI staff

The half-day echo workshop kicked off with a session on the emerging economic issues and trends in the Asia-Pacific region and productivity concepts that can bring about value addition, business excellence, and productivity to MSMEs. The first session allowed the participants to be mindful of the prevailing disruptions and risks in this day and age like the COVID-19 pandemic, hence take note of possible interventions and strategies in helping MSMEs circumvent costly business inactivity due to lockdowns while safeguarding its resources, employees, assets, and customers.

The second half of the echo workshop focused on applying the productivity concepts, tools, and techniques to a given scenario. This session paved the way for the participants to understand the importance of adaptive and proven strategies in surviving unforeseen events that may disrupt the operations of a business. Since the participants were provided with the necessary productivity tools and techniques, they need to provide their collective findings and recommendations to the management of a crisis keeping in mind that it must lead to productivity and quality improvement. In order to do this, a breakout session was conducted in order for the participants to share their ideas and thoughts on the case study. The groups shared their output at the plenary where they presented their key findings, productivity indicators (e.g. value addition in resource management, labor productivity, capital productivity, etc.), and their respective action plans in addressing the productivity challenges based on the data provided. Mr. Manegdeg and Mr. Sumalabe provided their feedback to the participants afterward.

The MSME productivity tools that were echoed by the speakers are considerably helpful in overcoming serious consequences of this global health crisis and other disruptions in the future. Also, these tools will be of value in setting forth the vital elements of resilient, sustained, and profitable approaches suitable for the post-COVID-19 world. The echo workshop on MSME productivity is a concrete expression of ISSI’s commitment to the promotion and development of MSMEs especially as they build back better and contribute to galvanizing the economy amid the pandemic.


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