Flatworld Solutions: Investing in Davao's BPO sector

LAST 2010, Indian-based ICT-BPO company Flatworld Solutions (FWS) established its first office in the Philippines in Davao City.

"We strategically wanted to focus on Davao, we didn't want to go to Manila, Cebu because the BPOs there are already saturated," said Ajit Sivarajan, general manager of Flatworld Solutions-Philippines Inc. (FWS-PH).

He said they started FWS-PH with a small team of five people doing back office work for real estate brokers in the United States (US).

"We always identified locations which are starting up in terms of development," Sivarajan said, adding that it will be easier for them to get and retain people in locations like Davao City.

He said Davao City allows them to also be cost efficient in terms of providing better prices to their clients.

Sivarajan said while there were some challenges met at the beginning, the Bureau of Investments (BOI) has been very helpful in the building up FWS-PH.

He also said in terms of resources, investing in Davao City is not that different like having it in Metro Manila.

"But I think it is easier to get it done in Davao City compared to Manila," Sivarajan said.

From a team of five people, in the last six years FWS-PH grew to 500 people. By the end of 2017, they are eyeing to double their numbers.

"Ever since 2010, we grew as the years go by and received more clients," Sivarajan said, adding that they are currently handling around 40 clients from the US, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia.

The company provides provide both voice and non-voice services like inbound and outbound call center services, customs brokerage and logistics, software development, data entry, email support, and chat support, among others.

Sivarajan also said FWS-PH is moving towards becoming a multi-lingual ICT-BPO company. Currently, they offer voice and non-voice services in Spanish. They are also looking into providing their services in Mandarin, French, and German. At present, they have around 30 Spanish-speaking employees.

Aside from their services, Sivarajan also highlighted how the company was able to retain many of its employees for a long period of time.

"We've got people who have been with us since day one. Also, a substantial number of people have been with us for more than three years. Retention is very big for us, we want to make our people stay with us, grow with us, and reap the benefits being with us,' he said.

One of the key initiatives that allow them to retain their employees is by helping them grow.

"It is imperative you upskill your people, otherwise they won't stay with you," Sivarajan said.

He said one of the things they consciously do is whatever project the company is in they have a refresher training for the assigned employees to constantly upskill them.

"People who got tenure or experience we let them shadow with the team leads and the managers; so they will be able to gain the leadership skills other than the constant leadership trainings," Sivarajan said.

They also have an open door policy to allow proper and constant flow of communication between the company and the employees.

"We want to make sure they enjoy a very homey, family atmosphere," Sivarajan said.

Based in Bangalore, India, FWS is a global corporation offering solutions in IT, business consulting, and outsourcing Services. The company was founded in 2002 and incorporated in 2006. The company has delivery centers in India, Kenya, Bolivia, Columbia, and Philippines.


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