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  • DEVELOPING YOUR SERVICE PORTFOLIO

  • developing a service portfolio
    Trade Support Institutions are of a diverse nature. They offer a wide range of services from trade intelligence to export development, business promotion, trade facilitation and lobbying. This module examines the processes necessary to design, develop, improve and deliver the service portfolio of a TSI.

    Information

    The strength of a Trade Support Institution (TSI) directly impacts its business sectors’ ability to grow. Delivering quality services is among the most important aspects of a TSI’s work. “Developing a Service Portfolio” is designed to improve all aspects of the services. For more information about this work and to access online resources, please expand this section. 
     The four main types of services that TSIs provide are:
    • Trade Intelligence
    • Export Development
    • Business Promotion
    • Facilitation and Advocacy

    Each of these four areas cover various functions, as broken down in the following table.

    TRADE INTELLIGENCE 

    EXPORT DEVELOPMENT 

    BUSINESS PROMOTION 

    FACILITATION AND ADVOCACY 

    DISSEMINATION

    EXPORT READINESS

    BUSINESS GENERATION

    EXPORT PROCEDURES

    BUSINESS CONTACTS

    EXPORT COUNSELING

    MARKETING & BRANDING

    BUSINESS IN TRADE POLICY

    MARKET INFORMATION

    EXPORT ENVIRONMENT

    INVESTMENT PROMOTION

    LOBBYING/ ADVOCACY

    MARKET ANALYSIS

     

     

    INFRASTRUCTURE

     

     

     

    HUMAN RESOURCES

    Each of these services include sub-categories of specialized services.

    Links to ITC documents: Illustration of the five TSI capacity building modules of ITC
    Tentative list of services delivered by Trade Support Institutions (TSI)

    Advisory Services

    ITC provides consultancy services to TSIs interested in redefining their portfolios of services. The approach followed usually involves several steps.
     These steps are:
    1. Clearly identify and prioritize the TSI’s target customers.
    2. Assess and understand their needs.
    3. Identify the wide range of potential services offered by a TSI, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the present portfolio of services, and position this portfolio in the trade support network of the country.
    4. Identify which critical factors are key to ensuring quality.
    5. Determine how to deliver services so that they reach the people who need them.
    6. Review the options for promoting and marketing the services of a TSI and select the more effective ones.
    7. Identify practical ways of monitoring the progress of individual services, evaluating client satisfaction, and assessing the impact of the portfolio of services on the country’s trade conditions. 

    Various parameters are considered when developing a service portfolio. Delivery modes and performance measurement options are two of the dimensions involved in ITC’s approach to TSI service delivery:

    a) Delivery modes:

    • Provision of information
    • Advice / Consultancy
    • Training
    • Methodologies, guides, guidelines
    • Charged services
    • Services highlighted in the website of the TSI
    • Important role played by Foreign Trade Representations / overseas trade offices 

    b) Performance measurement options

    PERFORMANCE CRITERIA AND MEASUREMENT OPTIONS APPLIED TO SERVICE PORTFOLIOS

    Measuring... 

    Measures are mostly ... 

    Applied to... 

    Through.... 

    Levels of difficulty 

    Usage

    Quantitative

    Users, Activities

    Outputs, Revenues

    Regular reporting

    Easy

    Efficiency

    Quantitative

    Ratios (e.g.: output per resource)

    Reporting and calculations

    Easy

    User

    satisfaction

    Subjective

    User expression

    (individuals)

    User feed-back, surveys & polls

    Time

    consuming

    Recognition

    Subjective

    Business circles

    (groups)

    Surveys with TSI,  media, etc

    Difficult

    Impact

    Quantitative & Subjective

    Sales generation, other changes (in behaviour; in trade environment)

    Measures and surveys applied at a later stage

    Very

    Difficul

    Training

    Training sessions can be valuable for a TSI’s staff. The sessions are offered to individual TSIs.
     The sessions are designed to:
    • Introduce staff to the full range of services delivered by TSIs around the world, using examples, and developing a comprehensive list of such services.
    • Identify who are and who should be the priority target users of the institution, as well as ways of assessing their priority needs for services. Assess the gaps between
      • target users and actual users
      • services provided by the institution and services expected by its target users
    • Check which services are provided by other TSIs in the country, in order to avoid useless duplications and to detect gaps in service
    • Define a limited selection of feasible services (both existing and new services) which should be provided by the institution in the future as part of its “core portfolio of services”
    • Assess the resource implications of creating or strengthening these services

    Training workshops can also be organized at the national level, with participants from major local TSIs. The emphasis is on streamlining and expanding TSIs’ portfolios, with particular emphasis on:

    • Providing full transparency on existing services in the country
    • Encouraging service specialization between TSIs
    • Avoiding duplication

    Meetings can also be organized at the regional level for major institutions providing services to exporters. These allow the TSIs to exchange good practices, benchmark their respective portfolios, and analyse in detail practical ways of achieving success in service delivery.

    Projects

    In most cases, ITC’s work in assisting a TSI to develop a strong service portfolio is only one aspect of larger programmes dedicated to institutional strengthening.
     All of ITC’s larger programmes such as ENACT and PACT include institutional strengthening components. ITC’s methodology for developing TSI service portfolios is an important part of these programmes.