Quality vs. Quantity

As technology gets more advanced and becomes more available to the companies of Costa Rica, the coffee markets can change drastically. The use of machinery in the workshops has the potential to process and manufacture products much quicker and in greater quantities than previous processes have been able to. For example, drying of the coffee beans takes roughly 5 days when workers rake them in the sun, whereas a machine could dry them in a few hours. Technological advances also make the logistics of the companies much more efficient. As we have seen, there are many stages in the production of coffee- from planting the coffee plants to packaging the roasted beans. Usually, it’s not just one company that goes through all the stages, but there’s much transferring between multiple companies. That being said, efficiency is imperative when it comes to all the paperwork, transportation, and other logistics. Communication becomes much easier and quicker, which allows for more orders to be placed. It also enables better and faster solutions to come about if something changes or needs fixed throughout a transaction or during transportation. Products of a company can gain more security if advances are made through use of trackers during transportation and better testers of products to meet regulations. Transportation itself becomes much more efficient and can help the environment rather than using some of the older, more harmful ways.

Although there are many advantages that come from technological advancements, there are also many drawbacks that need to be considered, especially for smaller companies.  The use of machinery requires a strong energy source, which gets very costly very quickly. If the energy source comes from burning fossil fuels, there’s also the environmental issue to consider. In the current coffee production process, the use of the wet mill significantly decreases the impact on the environment and saves companies a great deal of money. Since Costa Rica has a focus on sustainability and a current goal to be carbon neutral in a few years, it’s not very welcoming to increased use of energy sources that produce carbon emission. Another issue to consider is the quality of the products. Many Costa Rican coffee companies still use older processes because it produces better coffee. Like the drying of the beans as I mentioned earlier, because the natural sun drying gives much better quality to the coffee beans than the machine does. Many of the decisions of whether to make advancements or not depend on whether there’s a focus on quantity or quality within the company.

Since many Costa Rican coffee companies pride themselves on the quality of their coffee, they are more likely to stick with the original processing techniques rather than upgrade to the new automated techniques. Further down the line though, advancing the distribution techniques would be very helpful to the companies and would make them better off. However, the companies must pace their advancements because they cannot upgrade their selling and distribution without falling behind in production. There is no easy answer to these decisions, but every company must take much time and effort when it comes to choosing how they wish to run their company specifically.


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