Outsourcing Moves Back InBy Cade Metz | Print
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Computer manufacturer MPC moves its entire technical support operation inside its own walls.
Early this month, MPC Computers took an unusual step. At a time when so many companies offer technical support through third-party, often off-shore, facilities, MPC is moving its entire technical support operation in-house. All support duties will be handled by MPC employees working at the company's Nampa, Idaho headquarters. "Thirty new employees will be on the premises and in training the first Monday of January," says Jeff Fillmore, vice president of services and supply chain operations at MPC.
Currently, a portion of MPC's technical support operation is handled by DecisionOne, a dedicated support company headquartered in a suburb of Philadelphia. But recently, when MPC asked for improvements in DecisionOne's performancehow long it took support reps to answer each call, how often customers were satisfied with the help they received, and so onthe two companies reached an impasse.
"When I tried to hold them to certain metrics, they said they would have to raise our rates significantly or move our support off-shore," Fillmore says. For MPC, neither was an attractive option, and the company decided that the best thing to do was to move everything in-house, where it was already supporting its leading corporate and government customers.
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In a move that may have resulted from such complaints, Dell recently shifted technical support operations for two of its corporate computer lines back to the States. Calls involving the company's OptiPlex desktops and Latitude notebooks, previously routed to phones in Bangalore, India, will now be handled in Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee. Consumer and small business calls are still handled in India.
MPC has gone one step further, giving all its support reps the added advantage of working alongside the people who design and build the company's products. "They'll sit right next to all our product development, installation, engineering, and new product introduction groups," says Fillmore. "People they can use in a pinch if a particularly difficult problem comes up."
Is a trend developing away from out-sourced, off-shore technical support? Maybe not. According to a recent report from research firm IDC, 23 percent of IT services will be delivered from offshore centers by 2007, compared with only 5 percent this year. But some companies clearly see reasons to take a different path.