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Amazon still a part of the BPO sector in Jamaica

Published:Friday | November 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham
Workers at a business process outsourcing centre.

United States electronic commerce and cloud computing company Amazon is still very much a part of Jamaica's business process outsourcing landscape.

Questions arose in the early part of the year as the business process outsourcing arm of Xerox International, a division which has been rebranded Conduent, sent home or redeployed approximately 1,000 workers in the wake of losing the Amazon contract. While Conduent shuttered a unit which provided back-office and customer-service support for the online retail giant, the jobs have been secured in Jamaica.

Reliable sources say that the Amazon account has been split between Sutherland Global, IBEX International and Collective Solution, and another BPO outfit that operates at the former Jockey factory at Sandy Bay, Hanover.

"IBEX, which is here, I know they got about 300 (of the workers) and there is another BPO company called Collective Solution in Hanover that took another small part. The bulk of it, though, went to Sutherland," said a source, who asked not to be identified.

Bigger things

Industry players are usually tight-lipped about their operations and client composition, citing the need for confidentiality. Indications are that Amazon represents important blocks of business for both IBEX and Sutherland.

IBEX had signalled that it was getting ready for "bigger things" when it declared in December 2016 that it was operating at full capacity, which had earlier been put at 1,600 workers. This came after an aggressive hiring programme which saw the company doubling staff in six months.

Sutherland currently employs more than 5,000 persons with multiple locations in Kingston and Mandeville.

Sutherland is an American company formed in 1986 and is one of the largest BPO investors in Jamaica, employing more than 5,000 people. Its clients include Fortune 500 companies. Its website says the company operates in 19 countries, employing 60,000 persons who execute 43 million transactions monthly, and pulls in US$1.2 billion in revenue.

Collective Solution has operations in Honduras and the Philippines. It is spending US$2 million in phase one of its project at Sandy Bay to build out 90,000 square feet of factory space for its BPO facility. Phase two of the project is expected to commence sometime next year. It started with 200 people employed at an incubation site located in the Montego Bay Free Zone. Those workers were relocated to the Sandy Bay site in time for the commencement of operations in September. The company is hoping to fill roughly 400 seats by the end of the year.