OMG Dell Edmonton closes!!

After three years Dell abandons Edmonton. As a former employee I don’t know whether to be happy or sad about this…

CTV had this Video link on the subject…

Dell had this note in their news feed…

“Edmonton, Alberta, January 31, 2008

Dell will close its Edmonton Customer Contact Centre this spring as part of company-wide efforts to increase the efficiency of its business, improve performance and provide better value for customers. This is consistent with Dell’s broader business strategy announced earlier last year to reduce headcount and streamline operations. More than 900 employees will be affected and offered other jobs within Dell or severance and career placement services. Customer support will be consolidated in other existing Dell locations.

“Differentiating Dell through superior service and support remains one of the company’s primary strategic priorities and we appreciate the role our talented Edmonton team has played in this effort,” said Dave Vanden Bosch, Dell Edmonton site leader. “This has been a difficult decision. We have a good team of people, and will do all we can to help them and our community partners through this transition.”

Dell opened its customer contact centre in Edmonton in 2004, providing support for customers throughout North America. During this time, Edmonton piloted a number of advanced tools for delivering superior customer service that are now deployed across its global network.

Dell has about 25 contact centres worldwide to support customers anytime, anywhere. The company has opened customer contact centres in Ottawa, as well as in Germany, India, Philippines, Scotland and the United States in the last few years. To learn more about Dell in Canada, visit”

The below article was attained from here…

Edmonton Journal

canada, canadian search engine, free email, canada news
900 jobs lost as Dell bolts
Rising wages offset cheap lease, tax breaks
David Finlayson, With files from Jodie Sinnema and Jason
The Edmonton Journal

Dell is shutting down its Edmonton call centre.
CREDIT: Chris Schwarz/Edmonton Journal
Dell is shutting down its Edmonton call centre.

EDMONTON – Dell Canada will close its Edmonton call centre after only three years, putting more than 900 people out of work.

The computer giant said the city’s hot economy and the strong Canadian dollar were partially responsible for the decision to close the facility.

“This has been a difficult decision,” Edmonton site leader Dave Vanden Bosch said in a news release. “We have a good team of people, and will do all we can to help them and our community partners through this transition.”

Dell came to Edmonton after signing a 20-year lease deal at Edmonton Research Park, and has consistently touted the call centre as a top-performing global facility.

The deal with Edmonton Economic Development Corp. included a $1-a-year lease on 12 acres of land and a five-year property tax rebate worth $1.1 million. It becomes void if the number of employees drops below 500.

Building a stand-alone facility was part of the deal with the city, and the building displaced the Norwesters rugby club and other sports groups using the clubhouse, fields and volleyball courts.

At the time, EEDC said the concessions — a first for the organization — would be worth the extra $30 million a year in economic activity for the city.

EEDC president Ron Gilbertson said Thursday the decision to make concessions was the right one at the time. The Canadian dollar was low and there were many people looking for jobs, he said.

“Since then, the dollar has gone up 30 per cent, unemployment is at record lows and the average wage has gone up significantly.

“Obviously we are disappointed with Dell’s decision, but we are developing an economy that’s moving from $10- an-hour jobs to $20-an-hour jobs.”

Gilbertson said the city will talk with its lawyers and Dell over the next few weeks about how the closure — to be phased in over three or four months — affects the tax rebates and the building.

He said there are certain clauses in the contract that assure the interests of EEDC and the city are looked after, but he could not say if the city will end up owning the facility.

Many companies have expressed interest in leasing space in the park, he said.

At the time of the Dell lease, the land had a market value of $3 million to $3.5 million and lease value of approximately $300,000 to $350,000 per year. The tax concessions to date are worth less than $400,000.

Mayor Stephen Mandel, who said he thinks Dell owes retroactive property taxes, was “quite disappointed” with the news.

He said he thought bad news was coming after Michael Dell’s warning last May of 9,000 company-wide job cuts. “I thought that they could have downsized and maybe taken a look at keeping some jobs here — they have a 120,000 square-foot building.”

Mandel acknowledged a hot economy can have a downside.

“That was one of the big problems they faced here — their turnover was so high that they couldn’t keep people trained well enough to keep the level of service up that they demand from their employees.”

But he said Dell should have had a better contingency plan for the rising Canadian dollar.

Mandel also said he had no regrets about the deal offered to Dell.

Premier Ed Stelmach said the government’s thoughts are with the workers.

“The one good thing is that the staff there are very skilled, and there are so many job opportunities across the province of Alberta, but especially here in Edmonton — many companies that need the kind of skill sets that these people have,” he said.

The Edmonton employees will be offered other jobs in the company or severance packages, the company said.

Dell has opened customer service centres in Germany, India, Philippines, Scotland and the U.S. in the last few years.

Dell laid off an undisclosed number of Edmonton employees in October as part of a global belt-tightening after Hewlett Packard replaced the company as the No. 1 consumer computer seller. At the time, there were about 1,200 employees here.

Dell employees reacted Thursday with a mixture of shock and resignation.

“It’s a little bit in a state of shock,” said Ken, 28, who didn’t want his full name used.

“Rumours have been flying, but it’s just now the reality has hit us.”

He said Dell was a good company to work for.

“Job cuts happen, life happens. I’ve got no hard feelings. It’s been good.”

Ken, who worked at the call centre for almost three years, said employees had mixed emotions as they were told Thursday their jobs will be cut. The jobs paid atleast $25,000 a year.

Another worker, who also did not want his name used, agreed the cuts were expected.

“It’s more an atmosphere of a relief that they told us,” he said. “People are disappointed but we saw it coming.”

University of Alberta computer science professor Randy Goebel said the workers should have no trouble finding jobs in the area.

“One of the reasons Dell came here is a steady and stable supply of educated young people. And there is such a demand for people in the technology industry they won’t be walking the streets looking for work.”

The Dell workers will even probably end up with more technical, higher-paying jobs, he said.

Dell initially leased space in a downtown office building in late 2004 for 500 employees, and within six months had hired 250 more people. The company moved to the current location in the summer of 2006.

Vanden Bosch said at the time the growth was a result of the good results the team consistently delivered.

“What we’ve found is that people here have much broader skill sets than we even thought they would. It’s one of the most successful sites worldwide for customer satisfaction, and we’re bringing in different customers now.”

Initially, the site handled technical calls for business customers in Canada and the U.S. but also added printer and consumer customers.

During a November 2006 tour of the Edmonton call centre, company founder Michael Dell was asked by The Journal if Canadian labour could compete against overseas workers.

“The reason we are here in Edmonton and in Ottawa is because we need skills. What’s important to us is that our customers get the best experience from anywhere in the world. We found that support teams here have a better track record of helping the customer.”

Dell said the Edmonton site was doing excellent work.

“Edmonton has been a lead site for the development of our new Dell Connect (a combination phone and Internet service where Dell technicians can access PCs for troubleshooting),” he said. “We have done close to two million connections — remarkable for something we started less than a year ago. There are certainly a number of things this team is doing here that are the best of breed inside the Dell world. That’s a factual statement, not an emotional statement.”

Earlier this week, the company said it was cutting an unspecified number of jobs at its Ottawa call centre and had cancel
plans to hire up to 1,200 more workers.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Dell will close its 140 sales kiosks in the U.S. and focus on reaching customers through retail chains.

Dell opened the booths, mostly in shopping malls, in 2002 to let consumers order computers for home delivery. About 50 kiosks in Canada and Asia will remain open, Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman said. Kiosk workers will be offered severance and outplacement help, he said.


– It took three years for Dell, from point of first contact, to announce it was locating a 500-staff call centre in Edmonton.

– November 2001: Alberta officials including premier Ralph Klein and other western premiers are among members of a Team Canada trade contingent to Dallas led by then prime minister Jean Chretien. Dell is among 10 Fortune 500 companies delegates meet with.

– April 2003: Canadian Consulate General hosts Innovation Nation book launch and Cirque du Soleil VIP event in Austin, near Dell headquarters. Mild interest in Canada expressed by Dell with followup discussions planned.

– July 2003: Canadian Consulate General in Dallas makes presentation to Dell officials. Dell decides to add several Canadian cities to a list of 153 potential international sites for a new customer technical support centre.

– August 2003: Dell decides to work with consulate general to build business case that would see a call centre located in Canada.

– August-November 2003: Dell outlines parameters for call-centre, linking population size, employment and education levels, real estate availability and business costs.

– December 2003: Based largely on KPMG study and other research, Dell selects three Canadian cities for conference-call presentations. Dell decides to proceed with site visits in three cities, including Edmonton.

– February-June 2004: The first of five visits is made to Edmonton by a contingent of Dell officials. The company is particularly interested in the labour force, post-secondary education and the real estate market.

– July 19, 2004: Dell announces it will locate in Edmonton with a temporary facility in place by November. The first employees will be trained at NAIT starting in August.

– Dell moves into the $20 million facility in Edmonton Research Park in July 2006.

© The Edmonton Journal 2008

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