Thu | Dec 14, 2017

BPO operator Advantage expanding to Portmore, plans to double workforce

Published:Wednesday | September 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Peter Melhado, President and CEO of ICD Group Limited.

Business process outsourcing company ADV Communications Limited, a joint venture between ICD Group and Advantage Communications Inc of Canada, plans to increase its number of seats by 500 by the end of next year.

It would double the 500 seats that Advantage currently has in operation to 1,000 and expand the company's footprint outside the capital.

"Our expansion has been fuelled by organic growth from existing customers as well as the acquisition of new customers, mostly from the US/Canada," said ICD President and CEO Peter Melhado on Monday via email.

ADV started four years ago with 50 seats. Today, the company operates from two locations in New Kingston The Towers and the Caldon building with 500 seats and more than 700 employees. And the company is also finalising plans for construction of another facility in Greater Portmore.

"As a Jamaican-based company, we noticed a number of foreign firms moving into Jamaica to provide BPO services to offshore clients. We liked the space as we believe it leverages a number of our country's competitive advantages, including proximity, service orientation, western culture to name a few," said Melhado, explaining ICD's plunge into the BPO market.

"Additionally, one of ICD's investment criteria is to create jobs where we operate and the labour-intensivity of BPOs was extremely appealing," he said.

At the start-up of ADV, Melhado said the company was determined to build an operation whose agents were capable of doing more than just answering phones.

"So our primary concern was finding the right partner," he said. "Investing in Advantage Communications and bringing their considerable knowledge of the space to our service offering has made all the difference."

At the time the first Advantage centre was established, it was announced as a $36 million investment. Melhado said the Greater Portmore facility will deepen the company's BPO investments, but declined to say how much has been poured into the joint venture operation over the four years.

"We are now profitable and growing," he said. "We expect to grow by 20-25 per cent in 2018, based on a mix of organic and new customer acquisition."

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com