Business competitiveness is a goal that any company has to reach to stay in the market. That is, a company remains for a long period of time in the market if it is competitive with the rest of companies. When competitive companies come to mind, we think exclusively of large companies, leaving aside medium or small companies (SMEs). SMEs in Spain constitute the majority of the Spanish business fabric. In 2017, 99.87% of the companies, equivalent to 3,274,924 productive units, were made up of SMEs. This situation is not different when we address the issue of transport and logistics operators. Therefore, can only multinationals be competitive?
Obtaining new customers is always a very complex task, therefore, each company must know how to sell its brand. But what is it what attracts the future customer the most? Here we will detail which are the great characteristics that differentiate the multinationals, and the small and medium companies in the logistics field.
Before digging into the differences between both types of companies, we must establish a series of premises. First, there are three types of transport: land (by road and rail), sea and air. This article only focuses on road transport. Second, within the road transport, in turn, can make various distinctions: courier, parcel, groupage, full loads, container ships, special transport and transport of dangerous goods. And, third, we must clarify that this blog will revolve around a specific truck model: the trailers that have a dimension of 13.6 meters and can carry up to a weight of 24 tons.
We all know what large multinationals can offer because their large volume means they can easily comply with the objectives and needs established by customers. This is a matter of great importance because most of them want to forget about the problems that can generate their loads and only need that their merchandise is delivered within the established deadlines. In addition to this valuable benefit, the large volume of transport that these companies have means that they can lower prices and, therefore, be much more competitive.
In contrast to large multinationals, there are small and medium-sized enterprises with limited resources. Being smaller does not necessarily mean worse, and there are several benefits these companies can offer:
-They have close contact with the customer
-They usually perform an excellent customer care service
-They are great at tracking customer routes
On the other hand, some of the disadvantages we identify are the following:
-They set higher prices
-They have a lower number of trucks and collaborators
To illustrate all this, let’s set an example to see both arguments. The customer Z must choose a provider that covers the route Valencia – Madrid since he must make 200 trips between the months of January to March. Company X has 100 trucks of its own plus 50 employees to cover the route Valencia – Madrid. So they can set a price per full trailer of 340 euros. However, company Y has 15 own trucks and 10 collaborators to cover the same route. Having not so many resources, Company Y must increase the price to 380 euros, in order to compete with Company X and be able to get more collaborators.
What can Dos Aguas Consulting do for you?
Dos Aguas Consulting can help you with our knowledge of the Spanish market and business ecosystem. In our work as a company specialized in advising and supporting international companies that want to invest in Spain, we can help you find clients and make a profitable business in the country. Get in touch with us, our trade advisors will help you!
Instant payments: you may or may not have heard of it, but if you haven’t, you will supposedly notice it in the course of next year. Instant payments is the next initiative of Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) development of the European Central Bank, installed to significantly increase the speed at which (cross-border) payments are made and received, and consequently harmonize payments within the European Union [4,5]. Currently, it takes around one business day for a payment to reach its beneficiary, and instant payments will enable payments to be transferred in real time, 24 hours a day, all 365 days of a year. The transferred funds will be available for use of the beneficiary instantly. Instant payments are going to impact the way we do business in Europe, and each European country has the responsibility to prepare its payment infrastructure in such a way that it will be able to perform these payments ‘instantly’ . What exactly needs to happen for this, and what are the developments in Spain specifically? Moreover, how do we expect instant payments to change the way business is conducted in Spain?
Instant payments: what it is
The Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) defined instant payments as “electronic retail payment solutions available 24/7/365, with a maximum limit of 15,000 euros, resulting in the (close-to-) immediate interbank clearing of the transaction and crediting of the payee’s account with confirmation to the payer, within seconds of payment initiation”.  What exactly does this mean? It means that consumers can make a simple person-2-person mobile payment when buying, for example, a second-hand product at a fair . Also, future personal use of smart devices payments will most likely be better enabled by instant payments. On the business side, cash flow management and e-invoicing or e-billing is made more efficient, which leads to an optimized business. Transferring money will no longer defer a business transaction, and cross-border business within the European Union, as well as business within home-countries, will be stimulated. Although instant payments is partially already available in a few European countries (including Sweden, Denmark and Norway), it will be available in the entire EU from January 2019 onwards .
Instant payments: how it works
Continuing the statement of the ERPB: “the instant payment is irrespective of the underlying payment instrument used (credit transfer, direct debit or payment card) and of the underlying arrangements for clearing (whether bilateral interbank clearing or clearing via infrastructures) and settlement (e.g. with guarantees or in real time) that make this possible”.  As mentioned briefly before, and as emphasized by this quote of the ERPB, underlying arrangements are what enable a payment to be performed instantly. These arrangements must be made by each of the banks of all Member States, so that all payments can be made ‘instantly’, regardless of the bank of the payer or the payee. This ‘instant transaction’ is made possible on the basis of trust within the SEPA, and the obligation for each bank to provide the necessary infrastructure (“SCT Inst”, the so called “scheme” for payments) and liquidity to perform a certain amount and size of payments on the spot . What is more, banks already have to follow the latest regulations for open banking (Payment Service Directive 2, PSD2), in order for Payment Service Providers (PSPs) to be included in instant payments. As it is the bank’s own responsibility to prepare itself for instant payments, competition is fierce: if a bank is not able to participate in the scheme, it will most likely lose a lot of business within a few years .
How Spain is contributing to European instant payments?
Following the above information, Spanish banks have their own responsibility to make instant payments happen. According to several articles, as well as statistics by the Dutch Payments Association (BVN, Betaal Vereniging Nederland), Spanish banks are part of the leading group within the instant payments scheme installation. The below image shows that 72% of Spanish banks are already complying to the European instant payment requirements, which is one of the top percentages of the Member States.
Source: Dutch Payment Association 
The fact that Spain is an early adaptor can come somewhat as a surprise, considering the country’s slow adaption to e-commerce and online payments . However, it shows that the Spanish government and Central Bank recognized the importance of following the SEPA developments when it came to instant payments, in order to not lack behind compared to the rest of Europe. They succeeded: with 86 Payment Service Providers (PSPs) on board, Spain is one of the most advanced of the eight European countries who already participate in the instant payment scheme . In her publicly shared interview, Caixa bank’s Beatriz Kissler, who is also the EPC Scheme Management Board member who represents the Spanish banks, says that “the Spanish banking community understood that the deployment of [instant payments] was critical if banks wanted to play a relevant role in shaping the future of financial services” which resulted in the nation’s leading position, and advised other countries to look at Spain as an “example on how to implement the instant payment scheme”.  In Spain, the most relevant banks that steer the country towards total implementation of the instant payments scheme are CaixaBank, Iberpay, BBVA, Sabadell and Santander. 
How instant payments will affect doing business in Spain
If you are a company, doing business in Spain or with Spanish companies, instant payments will affect your business in various ways. An overview of the benefits of sending and receiving payments instantly, 24/7/365, as made by the European Central Bank  is listed here.
Instant payments will lead to:
Improvement of cash flow and process of payment reconciliation
Increase in efficiency of e-invoicing and e-billing
Optimization working capital management and minimization of need for external financing
Reduction of late payments and speed up the payment of invoices
Improvement of e-commerce, with goods/services released against concomitant payment, thus decreasing the financial risk
Speed up check-out processes at a physical point-of-sale
Increase in efficiency of and integrate tax, social insurance or other government-related payments
Which, overall, will improve the efficiency of doing business and increase the number of small companies that can participate in the economy, as they are no longer limited by funds.  Furthermore, it is generally good to know that instant payments will make your life as a business in Spain (and in Europe) slightly easier.
If you are a Payment Service Provider (PSP), interested in joining the open banking business, many opportunities arise when looking at Spain as opposed to other European countries. As the “SCT Inst” scheme is well integrated in most of the Spanish large banks’ ways of operating, you will find it fruitful to join the financial service world in Spain. For more information about opportunities as a PSP (or business) in Spain, please reach out to the Dos Aguas Consulting team and we will be happy to assist you further.
 European Payments Council (28 November 2017), A very early adopter of the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer scheme tells us about the Spanish experience, Available Online [last accessed: 08.12.2018]
The G20 annual summit brought the world leaders together on Friday, November 31, and Saturday, December, 1 in Buenos Aires (Argentina).
The central axes of this international event were trade and climate change. One of the main challenges of the G20 Leadership Summit has been “to achieve a more consensual dialogue” on international trade when protectionism is increasing.
Before we delve into this year’s meeting, let’s find out a bit more about the G20:
Origin and background of the Group of 20
The G20 began as a forum of finance ministers and Central bank presidents, being a result of the Asian Financial crisis. Its creation dates back to September 25, 1999, at a meeting of Ministers of Finance of the G7.
2008 was an important year for this group due to the “Heads of State” met for the first time in Washington. In this summit of G20 leaders, Western countries asked for assistance to countries with emerging markets. As an example, China had a large budget and commercial surplus, and therefore could avoid the global depression. Thus, it was since the Washington summit in November 2008 and, also since the Pittsburgh Summit, when the G20 became the central instrument in the design and implementation of the multilateral response to the Great Recession. Moreover, since that moment, the format of the summit changed, not only with the participation of the “Heads of State”, but also with representatives from United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Financial Stability Forum.
The G20 meets once a year and works at various levels, being the highest level the G20 leaders meeting at the annual summit. In addition, regular meetings are held by the G20 finance ministers, the central bank governors, and the Sherpas (this is the denomination received by the representatives of the “Heads of State” who meet regularly for the negotiation of the agenda, the analysis of the subjects and the documents of results).
As a whole, the members of the G20 represent 85% of the global gross product, two-thirds of the world population and 75 % of the international trade.What is new in trade and investment?
The issues relating to trade and investment are addressed in the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG), with the aim of strengthening the G20 cooperation in trade and investment. Currently, the primary objective is to find an inclusive trading system that contributes to a fair and a sustainable development.
The three new thematic areas are agri-food global value chains; the New Industrial Revolution; and the dialog of the G20 on current developments in international trade. Special emphasis is also made on the particular situation of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, developing countries and women.
What was decided at the Summit in Argentina?
Certain agreements and positions on trade have been reached during the Summit of the G20, as well as an agreement about the need to modernize the World Trade Organization (hereinafter referred to as WTO). Another element that was discussed was the need to invest in infrastructure that it is resistant to the effects of climate change and natural disasters. According to the final declaration titled “Building consensus for fair and sustainable development” the WTO does not meet these goals and as a consequence there is a commitment to meet them in the near future. The Declaration establishes that the “International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. We recognize the contribution that the multilateral trading system has made to that end. The system is currently falling short of its objectives and there is room for improvement. We therefore support the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functioning”. 
Another element that is emphasized in the declaration is the digitalization in the trade and the economy. In fact, it consolidates the need to continue working on artificial intelligence (AI), emerging technologies and new platforms of business. From that text we would like to stress the following extract: “To maximize the benefits of digitalization and emerging technologies for innovative growth and productivity, we will promote measures to boost micro, small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, bridge the digital gender divide and further digital inclusion, support consumer protection, and improve digital government, digital infrastructure and measurement of the digital economy […]”.
The Summit concluded that there is a large consensus on the idea that international trade and investment are important regarding growth, productivity, innovation, the creation of employment and development. However, commercial relations between some of the participating countries are not at their best. Lets remember here the trade wars between the United States and China, which do not facilitate international trade.
From Dos Aguas Consulting, we work to inform and offer analysis on the events of international trade that may be of your interest. We are delighted to read your comments and suggestions. Don’t forget to subscribe!
 Nancy Alexander (2011) Introducción al G20, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, page: 1. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 5.12.2018]
 Jorge Eduardo Navarrete (2012) Los otros 12: rol de los países energentes en el G20, at Günther Maihold, El G-20 y el nuevo orden internacional, Los cuadernos de la cátedra Humboldt de El colegio de México, page: 13.
 Nancy Alexander (2011) Introducción al G20, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, page: 3. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 5.12.2018]
 G-20 (2018) What is the G-20? Available online (link) [Last accessed: 5.12.2018]
 G-20 (2018) Trade and Investment. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 5.12.2018]
 G-20 (2018) G20 Leaders’ declaration. Building consensus for fair and sustainable development, paragraph 27. Available online (link) Last accessed: 5.12.2018]
 G-20 (2018) G20 Leaders’ declaration. Building consensus for fair and sustainable development, paragraph 9. Available online (link) Last accessed: 5.12.2018]