Dell to expand Philippine operations

PC maker will increase headcount at its support centers by some 200, with plans to eventually provide high-end services to U.S. customers.
Written by Joel D. Pinaroc, Contributor

PHILIPPINES--Dell Computer has announced plans to expand its headcount and services offerings of the PC maker's existing customer and technical support facilities in the Philippines.

Dell last year opened two customer and technical support facilities in the country, with the aim to provide exclusive offshore services to its customers in the United States. Located in Pasay City and Eastwood City, both facilities provide technical support to Dell's desktop and laptop customers based in the United States and U.S.-based small businesses that use the vendor's products.

Dell currently has some 2,300 employees stationed at the two centers, and is hoping to increase this headcount by another 200 or more before the end of the year, said Michael Garrison, Philippines country manager of Dell International Services.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Garisson said the expansion is in line with Dell's plan to eventually provide "high-end services" to clients in the United States.

He added that its staff will be put through an intensive training program, particularly those who handle technical support services.

"About two thirds of our personnel currently work for the technical support division for Dell desktop and laptop customers," Garrison explained. "We hope to provide more training [also to existing staff] and expand our services offerings."

With the re-training, some of the personnel will be able to provide technical support work for both desktop and laptop products, he said.

The Dell Philippine facilities will also offer services beyond its core desktop and laptop support in future, he added. "Eventually, we are looking at providing more services for more Dell product lines," he said.

Garrison said the PC manufacturer hopes to offer services to other Dell product lines, particularly high-end servers and other enterprise-class products "toward the tail-end" of the year.

The company is looking to scale up its operations in the Philippines, he noted. However, he was quick to add that like other BPO (business process outsourcing) facilities, Dell has had to contend with the challenge of finding technically-skilled manpower in a dwindling talent pool.

"In relation to industry estimates, there is indeed an issue on the talent pool for technical personnel," Garrison said. He added, however, that Dell remains unperturbed and is confident its employee retention programs will be effective.

Industry group Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), predicts that as many as 500,000 various customer and technical support-centric "seats" will have to be filled up by 2010.

The CCAP, however, said only a small percentage of college graduates and professionals may make it as a BPO worker, due to the lack of basic technical and communications skills.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.

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