Week of June 3, 2002
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First Indian Firm in Uruguay
TCS Projects 500 Jobs at New
Montevideo Software Center
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay National presidents aren't wont to turn out for ribbon-cuttings for modestly sized 17-employee operations. Yet there was Uruguay President Jorge Batlle, prominently front and center at the opening of Tata Consultancy Services' (TCS) new operation in Montevideo.
Work-Force Quality, EducationThe Montevideo operation continues the concerted push that TCS announced last year to expand its operations in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world regions. The company has established a major presence in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Spain. TCS targeted those nations because their domestic markets are demanding a migration to higher quality information-technology products, company officials explained.
Levels Played Major Roles
The new Montevideo operation represents the ninth software development center that TCS has set up outside of India. The others are in Australia, Canada, Hungary, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The quality of Uruguay's work force was a major reason that Montevideo was tapped for the software center, TCS officials said. The country has a 97 percent literacy rate, highest among South American nations, according to United Nations statistics. In addition, about one-third of Uruguay's college graduates major in sciences.
The center in Uruguay's capital city will focus on systems development, maintenance and outsourcing, plus testing and certification of third-party software. The new operation's service area, TCS officials said, will include "most of the Latin American countries"- among them Argentina, Brazil Chile, Uruguay, and Venezuela - as well as parts of the United States. The Montevideo center's clientele will include AIG, BCI Bank, Compaq and Eli Lilly, and its customers for third-party testing and certification will include Microsoft.
A subsidiary of Tata Enterprises, India's largest industrial conglomerate, TCS employs more than 19,000 people worldwide. Revenues for the company's most recent fiscal year totaled $689 million. Other major client firms include General Electric, Nortel and Lucent Technologies.
GC Services Bringing 400-Employee Call Center to Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. GC Services has brought some large job-creation news to Little Rock, Ark. The Houston-based debt-collection agency has announced that it will open a new, 400-employee call center in west Little Rock.
Gov. Mike Huckabee praised Arkansans' work ethic at the announcement. "I like to say that I always like to see headlights coming our way rather than headlights leaving us," the governor said at the ceremonies held in the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.
GC's announcement came only 10 days after Transamerica announced that it was transferring 200 jobs to Little Rock from its Los Angeles office. (For more details, see Project Watch for week of May 27.)
Local College Will Provide TrainingGC Services, said Schordock, has applied for state tax credits and "other incentives." Specifics on the incentives that the company is seeking weren't disclosed at the project announcement. Pulaski Technical College, which has some 4,500 students, will provide the training for new GC employees. Hiring will begin hiring immediately, the company said.
GC also received a $25,000 donation, earmarked to help with its move to Arkansas. The donation came from Fifty for the Future, a civic group affiliated with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce,
Further expansion is a possibility, GC officials said. The company is moving into the 36,000 sq. ft. (3,240 sq. m.) of space that comprise the first floor of a facility that was once occupied by local resort developer Fairfield Communities. The building's second floor currently remains unoccupied. GC might consider expanding into that second-floor space if customer demand warrants enlarging the operation, Schordock said.
The company's clientele includes American Express, AT&T, GE Capital, General Motors Acceptance Corp. and WorldCom, according to GC officials in Houston. Founded in 1957, GC currently employs more than 10,000 workers in 35 U.S. locations.
The new Little Rock center's agents will contact individuals and businesses that are from one to 45 days delinquent on bill payments.
Collectively, GC's operations handle more than a million telephone calls each day, according to company statistics. GC's call-center operators speak a range of languages that includes Cantonese, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Cheaper Power a Big Turn-on
in Riverside, Calif.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. Lower power costs were a major turn on for Quebecor World, playing a major role in the Canadian printer's decision to open a new 196,000-sq.-ft. (17,640-sq.-m.) retail offset production facility in Riverside, Calif. The project will create 220 new jobs in Riverside. Company officials cited Riverside's "strategic location" as a major site-selection factor. The new Riverside County plant represents a major plank in Quebecor's drive to become a bigger player in the West Coast market. The Riverside production facility will supply a Southern California market that accounts for almost half of the West Coast's newspaper circulation. "In conjunction with our other western retail facilities in Arizona, California, Nevada, British Columbia and Alberta, Riverside will provide Quebecor World with the ability to service any retailer requiring circulation on the West Coast," explained David Boles, president of Quebecor World's Retail and Sunday Magazine Group.
Relocation Boosts Employee-Retention EffortsRiverside's location was also a major consideration in Quebecor World's employee-retention strategy, company officials. The company had already established a smaller offset production plant in Southern California. Located in the city of Ontario, that existing facility currently employs 110 workers.
One hundred and ten of the jobs at Quebecor's plant in Riverside will be newly created positions. Employees relocated from the Ontario facility will fill the new operation's other 110 slots. Riverside sits some 24 miles (38.4 km.) southeast of Ontario. That proximity will boost employee retention, Quebecor officials said.
The operation in California's Inland Empire will be almost four times larger than Quebecor's Ontario plant, which spans 55,000 sq. ft. (4,950 sq. m.). Quebecor World Logistics (QWL) will occupy 50,000 sq. ft. (4,500 sq. m.) of the much larger Riverside plant. The QWL operation will enhance Quebecor World's distribution capabilities in Southern California and Arizona, company officials said.
"This state-of-the-art facility will utilize all of QWL's latest technology to provide our customers with time-definite delivery of mail, retail inserts, magazines, books and commercial products," said Quebecor World Logistics President Dan Scapin.
QWL's space inside the new Riverside plant may, however, turn out to be temporary. Business growth might eventually displace the distribution operation, Quebecor World officials said. Print production functions would then fill the space that QWL occupied, they explained.
Enron Collapse TriggeredThe deal had an Enron connection. Or disconnection, as it was. Power considerations became a major concern for Quebecor after Enron filed for bankruptcy. Until then, the printing company's Ontario plant had been buying power from the Houston-based company. Quebecor then switched to Southern California Edison (SCE), which "almost doubled our power rates," Georg Decker, Quebecor's vice president of West Coast operations, told the Riverside-based Press-Enterprise. That, in turn, scuttled the company's initial plans to expand its Southern California operation in SCE-served Fontana, Decker said. The Montreal-based company will save 40 percent to 50 percent on its power bills by relocating to the Inland Empire, Riverside Public Utilities Director Tom Evans told The Press-Enterprise. Vertis, a major Quebecor competitor, already has a plant online in the Riverside County seat.
Search for New West Coast Site
The city's savvy purchases of reasonably priced power have attracted a number of energy-intensive operations in the last 15 months, according to Riverside Public Utilities officials. AFG Glass, AME Manufacturing, AmericanMaid Plastics, Magnussen Furniture and Sabert Plastics have all come to the area in part because of cheaper power, they said.
"Quebecor World represents the exact kind of business partners that we want to attract," said Kevin Palmer, manager of the Riverside Economic Development Agency.
Seven web-offset heatset presses will be installed in Quebecor's new Riverside operation. Three will be installed by fourth-quarter 2002. The remaining four presses will be installed during first-quarter 2003. The Riverside operation will begin partial operations as early as November, Quebecor officials indicated.
Quebecor's production operation will be located in Sycamore Canyon Business Park. The company has signed a long-term lease on the space. Terms of the transaction haven't been disclosed. The Riverside plant will be one of Quebecor's 160 business operations in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. Those operations house some 40,000 employees.
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