MONTEGO BAY — Some say the investment climate is hostile because of the poor state of the Jamaican economy, but a group of Canadian and Jamaican investors have taken the bold move to put their money where their mouths are and go into the out-sourcing business.
An idea that started some time ago, finally materialised last year when SynchroSource Offshore Solutions (SOS) started operations, taking inbound order entry calls for Pizza-Pizza, the largest pizza restaurant in Canada with over 700 locations nationwide.
Even without the financial backing from any major banks, the group, mostly based on Canada -pooled resources and a “vision” jumped feet first into the market.
Two weeks ago, SynchroSource had their official launch at their offices on Fort Street and while the ceremony was short the optimism was palpable.
Currently the company with a staff of seven has one client, but the dream is to grow exponentially by the end of the year, to 75 staff members.
Omar Massey, the call centre manager said at the launch “Until recently these calls were managed by agents in Canada,” and added that presently they were working “Thursdays to Sundays in the afternoon, starting at 4:00pm”
At present, SynchroSource has seven staff members and 15 work stations but there are plans according to founder and Managing Director Debra Fraser to acquire additional space to accommodate a work force they hope to grow to 75 by the end of the year.
Massey who worked with Fraser at another outsourcing centre with head offices overseas reported that their “client is impressed with the rate we have learnt their system and the quality of calls” and said the scope for growth was tremendous as in a few months they would be taking calls seven days a week and working up to 14 hours a day.
The culture at SynchroSource Massey said was one that “acknowledged and reward hard work, commitment and dedication to the vision of the company” and said the “highly trained staff (had a) lot of call centre experience,” and was a “humorous and lively bunch and proficient in their job.”
Fraser who was born in Canada to Jamaican parents and who has lived here for more than 10 years said the idea behind the company was to make it easier for overseas companies “who are coming to the Caribbean off-shore market to operate contact centres, to do so seamlessly and with minimal investment risk.”
With the investment group made up entirely of Canadians at this time, she said the idea was to “target Canada business and the many opportunities for us to provide remote teams or remote services for Canadian businesses and it is our intention to do so successfully in the days to come.”
Internet technology, Fraser said had caused the world to “become a very, very flat place and a company that wishes to build a customer service or sales team of say 10 telephone agents or any where between five and 10, they can recruit from anywhere in the world and companies are taking advantage of that because if they don’t, their competitors will and if their competitors do, they have to follow suit.”
This she said has led to “A mad rush (by companies) to build remote offices all over the globe where they can find staff who can do the work and do it more efficiently so their costs are lower and that’s basically what is under girding this fast growing business of out sourcing.”
She emphasised that “it is not easy” due to the cost of setting up business. Also “Tapping into those markets can be a very difficult and risky task.”
The decision to set up SynchroSource had come from the recognition that setting up offices in another country was often “full of risks and pot holes…”
Said Fraser: “…that is where the idea of SynchroSource came from, how can we make it much easier for them to come here and find the staff they want to get operational very quickly without having to overspend or make mistakes and just to learn the environment which takes a lot of time, so we are here to help them…”
SynchroSource would be aiming to “Create quality jobs locally, provide value to customers and to do so in a profitable manner.”
Fraser said both herself and Massey had been offered jobs in other companies since leaving their former employers but “we passed them on as we did not think they were good for the community or the environment.”
SynchroSource has also partnered with the Montego Bay-based Youth Enhancement Services (YES) programme and according to Massey “will be offering work experience to grads on a regular basis, the goal is to provide jobs to young people who have taken the initiative to become trained in customer service and at the completion of that we hope to employ some of them.”
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