Saving Eaplcoms: a Consultancy Project
Eaplcoms needs to experience positive transformation. Over the years, the place has shut itself inwards, shying from the ever changing world. Rondinelli, et al. (1998) made the observation that in the 21st century, global economic forces interaction would influence economic development increasingly in cities. Eaplcoms therefore must do what it failed to do in the last couple of years; turn to and interact with outside world as well as aim to improve on benchmarks of global success.
The 5 most Significant Trends in Urban and Economic Change that Impact on their City over the next 10 Years
Over the years, for instance, cities throughout South America, like Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, have embraced new trends of economic and urban development and though they still have a long way to go, they have witnessed significant growth. Eaplcoms therefore ought to follow suit.
- Improvement and Optimum Utilization of Infrastructure
The major key driver of integrative processes of production and management is none other than technology. According to Rondinelli, et al, (1998), “ the primary engine of urban economic development has shifted from one that is based on industries mass production and low-skilled service jobs to technology that is more sophisticated-and knowledge-based systems of service and production” (p. 72). The refusal of Eaplcoms to adopt technology in the processes of production is part of the reason the manufacturing industries died. Ultimately, technology, is the link to global marketplace, global benchmarks, business partners, source of ideas and investors among others.
Brazil government, for example, promoted adoption of technology in different areas of its economy. The IBM-developed data center which is in the city is one of the most ideal examples. Thirty government agencies are monitored by the command center as such, coordinating the work within this city in differing economic facets: weather forecasts, transport system, and power supply among others. According to Singer 2012), this “could lay the groundwork for multi-billion dollar business” (p.1).
- Investment in Human Capital
Eaplcoms faces the urgent need for a workforce that is skilled and energetic. With the current workforce increasingly aging, the city is supposed to find ways of using the people it has. For one, it needs to direct efforts into finding young people (prevent them from fleeing through creation of job opportunities) and women to join the workforce. Having a workforce that is diverse, for instance, brings several advantages to the organization (public and private. Generally, men and women have different strengths. Young people are innovative minds. Young people are educated in modern ideas and they are up to date with modern trends and concepts which are applicable in today’s context. What is more, young people also provide continuity for the future. The city therefore must invest to encourage young people. The city, nevertheless must as well invest in development of a workforce that is conversant with modern concepts that can facilitate in the global marketplace.
Heinrich (2010) suggests adoption of policies that are incentive-compatible in order to promote human capital development. Therefore, the city has to invest in education. Education has proven to be vital in acquisition of skills which contribute to the growth of economic mobility and productivity (Heinrich 2010). Through social, corporate responsibility, Eaplcoms should invest in education in order to develop sufficient human capital base. Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program, for instance, offered students scholarships which in turn reduced “out-of-pocket expenditures and opportunities costs for the low-income families” (Heinrich 2010, p. 84) to increase schooling demand. What is more, the city is supposed to work with its institutions for higher learning and schools in order to develop a curriculum that is up-to-date.
The global marketplace is one that is highly competitive. It should be ‘special’ to attract the attention of the market from competitors. Innovation sets one player apart from another. Also, innovation is improving the lives of people and increasing the convenience of doing things.
Adoption of technology in Brazil is part of the general innovation culture which is promoted by government. The adoption of technology is never enough. It should be more about using it like other resources in an innovative manner. The data center in Rio developed by IBM is quite an ambitious project. IBM never made that admission while it was building the data centers before but just for single agencies (like the police departments).
Therefore, innovation involves several issues: organization culture and structure; knowledge and ideas management system through appropriate ICT use. This as well takes into account elements of operational business management: flexibility, agility as well as the capacity for innovation and others.
Eaplcoms is supposed to begin by establishing a culture of innovation. For instance, the city is supposed to establish a system of reward that promotes innovative ideas from, for instance, young people.
- Economies of Agglomeration (Creating Centralized Urban Cores)
Every city has its core commerce centers. Economies of agglomeration rests on premise that, even as a city improves, it should be able to concentrate its commerce in core areas (Glaeser & Gottlieb 2009). Research studies as well demonstrate there are numerous benefits of an increase in commercial development density in urban regions. They offer benefits that are sustainable such as: increased specialization, inter-and intra-sector knowledge spillovers, facilitation and boosting innovation; competition; larger labor markets as well as economies of scale among others.
For instance, Sao Paulo, transformed from a minor commercial center in 1890 to be the largest urban agglomeration in Brazil. The region has also managed to be the country’s center of industrialization. The city, today contributes about 50% of Brazil’s entire industrial output (Cohen 2003, p.23). Perhaps Eaplcoms should use its history for purposes of restoring its manufacturing power.
Benchmarking the City’s Performance against its Competitors in the Global Economy
Luque-Martinez and Munov-Leiva (2005, cited in Holloway & Wazjer 2008) define city benchmarking as “ the systematic continuous method that consists of learning, identifying and implementing effective capacities and practices from other cities with the purpose of improving one’s own city so as to improve what it offers” (p.3). Once Eaplcoms makes the decision to benchmark city and/or country there are three key benchmarking levels. The first level is the processes and policies that facilitate performance improvement (Holloway & Wazjer 2008). The second level is one that looks at results the benchmarked city/country achieves. Finally, Eaplcoms makes the decision on what to do (improve or imitate on) in order to enhance competition and growth. In this instance, let us look at how Eaplcoms can learn from the tourism and travel sector in Brazil.
Public Policy, Processes and Projects
The public policy in Brazil is applicable in all areas of economy which makes it favorable to development. The public policy in the country is ‘aligning innovation with strategy’. In other terms, the country recognizes being innovative is never enough. Innovation requires the appropriate strategies to have an effective that is positive.
For instance, the government adopted technology use culture which it uses modern communication technologies for purposes of selling itself (that is, an image) as the perfect destination for tourism and promoting business like in the tourism and travel distribution system. There are 10,000 travel industries in the county. Out of these, 60% issue international tickets. With stiff competition in this industry, the agencies always strive to improve efficiency as a competitive factor. In this case, they use technology in order to promote more quick and efficient online network. Majority of the tourists in Brazil also use these travel agencies. Some even buy tickets online. The country also has active and creative advertising agencies reputed for ‘extensive experience in development of successful domestic brands” (Marriutti 2013, p. 13). Also, Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup which will further market the country. The tournament has helped the country gather internal attention, which is excellent for tourism (Especially if the tournament proves to be a success.
Due to the processes and policy the Brazilian government adopts, its travel tourism industry has enjoyed great growth in recent years. The country’s travel and tourism sector has enjoyed international exposure. This attracts a large number of investors but also increases the number of tourists. Brazil, today receives about 5 million foreign tourists every year. This number might seem small, taking into consideration what other countries (like the US and France among others) get but from the past, it is a huge improvement. Growth in this industry also has positive impact on other areas like revenue generation (foreign income) and job creation. For instance, projections indicate the industry will create 8.9 percent of total employment (indirect and direct) by 2021 (Mariutti 2013, p.14)
What Eaplcoms should do
Eaplcoms should learn from Brazil. It should not simply be innovative but rather, use innovation strategically and creatively. It is supposed to market itself and its tourism sector in order to attract both investors and tourists. In the case of Brazil, technology has done a lot to boost this goal. However, Anholt (2007, cited Mariutti 2013, p.13) writes “Almost every place on Earth gets the image it deserves”. The idea is not imitating the benchmark country’s (Brazil’s) image. Context is vital consideration. As such, Eaplcoms should customize marketing strategy, create unique identity and promote tourism in its region. The city, for instance, has become increasingly famous football clubs taking part in Europa League. This provides amazing marketing opportunities.
Eaplcoms situation is not hopeless. However, simply knowing these new economic development and urban concepts does not guarantee automatic success. It begins with true will to transform and change the city for the better in global context. The management as well should establish the right framework and mindset to facilitate change. This is an issue of culture.
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