If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

In my discussions with local economic development folks, inevitably many will bemoan the rise of the ‘offshore’ and how India is taking away call centre jobs and China is taking away manufacturing jobs and ultimately the question is asked “how can we compete?”

Good leaders turn challenges into opportunities. How’s that for a cliche?

But it’s true.

Let me give you an example.

It is definitely true that India and other cheaper offshore locations will, in fact, skim off much of the basic call centre work that would have previously been done in North America.

But there is still a need for North American-based customer contact centres and back offices.

Consider ExxonMobil. I had a chat with an employee over there last weekend. ExxonMobil runs four global customer service centres (at least for one line of business): one in Brazil, one in Bankok, one in eastern Europe (I think Bulgaria) and Moncton.

That, I think, is where we need to be. Globally connected. Part of “follow the sun” global operations for world class firms such as ExxonMobil.

Consider as an other example, Canada’s AIM Trimark. This company is a subsidiary of the global financial services firm London-based AMVESCAP. This firm recently setup a financial services centre in Charlottetown and said in its public company filing that this facility was one of three global centres for the company.

There are a number of examples of this right here in Atl. Canada.

So instead of moaning and complaining, my advice to economic developers is get out there and get connected. Go to India. Go to Eastern Europe. Ireland. Build these relationships. Position New Brunswick as part of a global solution.

India’s consul general was in Timmons last week. Timmons, Ontario – talking about investment and trade.

When was the last time he was in Bathurst? Tracadie?

That’s my point.

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0 Responses to If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

  1. Anonymous says:

    I remember I was trying to book a flight on Air Canada last year. I phoned the toll free number and was speaking with a girl when it emerged that she was located in Florida. Why do I have to talk to someone in Florida if I am in Canada wishing to purchase a flight from a Canadian airline. I realise that airline is a bit of an overstatement here but still …..

  2. Trevor says:

    Little known fact but ExxonMobile employs over 2000 people in Moncton and pays for any post secondary education for their employees. They even pay for some of their employees children.

    I have 12 people in my class at University that work there. That’s just one cohort class. Many of these individuals will either move up or leave to start their own endevours or work for other local employers.

    The reality is that MNC’s do invest in the community. I could mention all the things I find disheartning witht he organization, but they are investing heavily in NBers. We need more, not less.

  3. David Campbell says:

    The truth is that we are in a global economy. We have a couple of choices. We can fight it with all our might or we can find a way for New Brunswick to find a niche. Given our language skills, telecom infrastructure, cost structures, etc. it makes sense for New Brunswick to be part of an ExxonMobil global customer service system. But it doesn’t just happen! I worked on the original ExxonMobil file and it took over two years and a lot of sales and effort (including the biggest gun the Premier).

  4. Anonymous says:

    And there lies the rub! The last Premier we had was God awful and this one is shaping up no better. Can we slip Mr Graham a McKenna pill in his bed time drink? The focus on investment needs to be broadened to include as many facets and locations as possible. Nothing should be excluded that generates income, no matter how long it takes to entice someone here. Confidence generates confidence and dollars generate dollars.