High quality, timely, accurate and relevant information that addresses the real needs of clients (whether public or private sector) is the key to success in today’s global trading environment. However, for information to be of use, it must be carefully processed and delivered to clients in a manner commensurate with their needs and capacity - an overload of information can be counter-productive and as detrimental to a client as a shortage of information.
In this respect, Export Development agencies have an important and influential role to play in supporting clients with added-value informational services that are tailored to their needs. We support Export Development agencies to increase value addition in the provision of information services by assisting them to establish Trade Information Centres, or to improve or expand their existing information services to maximise the impact upon the performance of their clients.
The value of information provided by a Trade Information Centre increases substantially when used together with export promotion tools. In such cases, clients benefit from comprehensive and integrated service packages, which significantly increases their chances of market success.
Our strategy when working with Trade Information Centres is to realistically tailor our support based on the overall objectives and existing structure of the organisation, their current range of services, their existing and target client base and their available human and financial resources. Typically, we work on the following organisational issues:
- Vision, mission and functions
- Structuring information services
- Defining the resources required in terms of staff, IT equipment and systems
- Services structure
- Costing and pricing of services
- Promotion of services
- Systemisation of standards and procedures for service allocation and delivery
- Monitoring services delivery – registration, scheduling, supervision and evaluation
Training programmes are a key element of the process, since it is essential that staff acquire the necessary skills to identify information needs, access the information, process the information into user-friendly formats and deliver it from a sound technical knowledge base.
Finally, we work to build synergy and inter-connectivity between the centre and other governmental trade support services such as the network of trade representatives abroad.