New Brunswick’s Remsoft provides digital solutions for land management and planning, improving productivity, and performance of its international client’s land assets. Its focus is on planning and scheduling, using predictive analytics technology that enables land managers/planners to find the best way(s) forward for their assets.
With clients in 20 countries, Remsoft is now expanding its operations to include a new branch in Vitória, Brazil.
Opportunities NB (ONB) spoke with Doug Jones, Senior Vice President, to learn more.
ONB: Let’s begin with your recent announcement. Tell us about that. Why Brazil?
Jones: We’ve done business in Brazil for nearly ten years and have established strong partnerships there. More recently we’ve had actual on-staff representation in country, Dr. Cesar Santana. The next logical step was to open our own office. We have a significant Brazilian client base, to the point where our website is fully functional in Portuguese, along with English and French.
Brazil is an important market and a leading economy, particularly in the forest sector. A lot of recent investments in forestry have been in the Southern Hemisphere. Brazil alone has seen multiple billion dollar investments over the past decade. They have the right climate and soil to establish plantations, so it’s an exciting place to be expanding to.
ONB: Have you had to modify the product to better reach foreign markets?
Jones: There’s been no need for that. Everyone uses the same technology worldwide which has allowed us to scale up easily. Anything we learn and add to the tech to work in the Brazilian market would absolutely go worldwide. The only real change is the ability to offer supporting materials in Portuguese.
ONB: What’s your best advice for other companies looking to do business in South America?
Jones: South America in general has a very different business culture. It’s a social culture; you really have to put the time in and development relationships. You cannot get business done there after a meeting or two; it takes seven, eight, ten meetings before you make real headway. Once you earn some trust, however, they’ll do business with you.
Brazil has been known as a difficult country to do business in. I’d advise anyone to read up on Brazil’s tax structure; it’s very complex. That’s something that has to be navigated, and it can certainly provide a big challenge. It will be easier if you make it a point to work with professional accountants and accounting associations for guidance. That’s the biggest thing you learn when you work internationally.
ONB: What does Remsoft see as advantages of New Brunswick?
Jones: Travelling to various time zones like we do can be a real stress. Luckily, the quality of life here is such that when you wake up after that long business trip, you’re in a beautiful place where commutes are short. There’s a lot to be said for that. We have people on staff from Australia and elsewhere. They’ve been here to Fredericton and have seen the way of life here, and they like it. That’s important for attracting top talent.
We’re in the technology sector, and New Brunswick has done an excellent job fostering that industry. There’s plenty of great collaboration between tech companies here, and a good talent pool still developing. As leaders in the forest sector we’ve benefited from an excellent forestry school at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). We’ve become a world leader because we can attract talent to fill our software development needs, as well as people with the necessary forestry background.
I myself, as well as our co-founders Andrea and Ugo Feunekes, all hold Master’s degrees in Forestry from UNB. The same holds true for many of our staff.
ONB: Let’s move from UNB to ONB. What’s that relationship like?
Jones: There’s been great communication with ONB surrounding how Remsoft can better promote its story locally. It’s a small business, but what we’ve achieved thus far is pretty remarkable. We’re a modest company, and probably don’t tell our story nearly enough. It’s important to us to be familiar to the local community.
ONB has also been helpful with regards to trade mission opportunities, by keeping us informed about different opportunities to expand our business outside of the 20 countries where we currently have clients. Those opportunities to promote our wares to the world have been crucial.
ONB: Let’s wrap with what’s next for Remsoft. Any trends you’re focusing on?
Jones: Sustainability for sure. It’s about both environmental sustainability, and business sustainability; the two need to go together. It’s one thing to do right by the environment, which is critical in forestry, but you need to have viable companies too. The economic output of the forest industry, both here and in places like Brazil, is an important economic driver.
It’s a global economy and everybody is trying to be the most effective with what they have, and get the most from their assets. Those groups that are the most efficient with their land assets are going to be leaders of the future, and Remsoft intends to help them get there.
Doug Jones image via Keith Minchin