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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the May 7, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Facing a Downsizing, a Firm Re-Focuses

A 10-year-old programming firm, Allserve Inc., responded

to the economic downturn by restructuring to focus on its new business

line — call centers, says its COO Prime Joseph. With 20

employees here, the company has also closed a handful of its other

United States offices and now has five, inclulding one at 204 North

Center Drive, North Brunswick (732-297-9977; fax, 732-297-9382,

His financial goals have been rearranged. "We can reach our objectives

and have better than anticipated revenues if we concentrate on call

centers. It’s all part of the business process outsourcing (BPO) trend

in order fulfillment, mortgage processing, and payroll processing,"

says Joseph. Some of the BPO activity can be done from cost effective

locations like India, he points out. AllServe has a center in Chennai

and is starting new facilities in Bangalore and Delhi.

Based in London, the firm has retained three of its eight locations

in India and the United Kingdom. Four of the company’s programmers

in North Brunswick are devoted to working on software products for

call centers, and others do general IT consulting at such client sites

as BMW and Volkswagen.

Joseph, 33, studied engineering in Bombay and came to this country

to work in Santa Barbara. He lives with his wife and preschool daughter

in South Brunswick.

He consolidated his Michigan and Wisconsin offices that did engineering

and CAD/CAM design into one office in Chicago. "The main client

was in Wisconsin, but the manager lived in Chicago as did a good number

of employees. It was easier to shuttle to Wisconsin from Chicago."

He combined software product offices, keeping an office in the California’s

Bay Area (again, where the manager was living) and moving employees

who lived in Seattle and Los Angeles.

"Here in the eastern office we decided to focus on select states.

There is enough business to be taken from fewer of the states, where

we can manage the cost of operations more efficiently. We are working

in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and we

have left out states like Delaware, West Virginia, Maine."

"We outsource customer service offshore to get 50 percent savings

for a company," says Joseph. "If the calls are taken in London,

you don’t have to pay overtime for night shifts." In two months

he will be hiring call center personnel for the North Brunswick facility,

where the network infrastructure has been installed.

— Barbara Fox

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