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Genpact Guatemala Contact Center Becomes BPO Operation

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Genpact Guatemala Contact Center Becomes BPO Operation

February 10, 2009
By Brendan B. Read
Senior Contributing Editor
A Guatemala contact center, owned by Genpact that opened in mid-2008 has expanded to become a business process outsourcing (BPO) facility, supporting U.S. clients on a nearshore basis.

The site, located in Guatemala City, the country’s capital and largest city, has begun to handle finance and accounting (F&A) processes such as accounts payable and accounts receivable (AP/AR) this year, as an extension of Genpact’s (News - Alert) Mexico operations based in Juarez, Mexico. 
Steve Rudderham, Genpact Business Leader for Latin America Operations, explained that his firm is positioning itself for expansion and providing its services to other Latin America companies.
Genpact is able to receive mail and invoices at their BPO facility based in Juarez, due to the proximity to the U.S. border (across from El Paso, Texas), and the ability to still utilize U.S. mailing addresses. The site’s associates open and scan documents or intakes from clients and either process them, or transmit them to other Genpact global facilities, now including Guatemala City, for processing.
The company, formerly owned by General Electric, handles a wide range of outsourced functions. These include, analytics, collections, customer care, IT services, and supply chain management. Genpact also has operations in India, China, Philippines, Romania, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, and the U.S. Genpact also recently opened a facility in Morocco.
Genpact had acquired the Guatemala contact center from GE Money, a GE division in August, 2008 almost immediately after GE Money had opened it, in July, 2008.
Enabling the promotion of AP/AR tasks in Guatemala is an abundance of graduates with accounting and finance degrees but which have had, until now, limited employment prospects. Genpact is currently focused on ramping up its hiring in Guatemala and expanding the talent pool there.  
The AP/AR transaction capability is helping the Genpact Guatemala City site gain an edge over other contact centers in recruiting and retaining top talented staff, says Rudderham. The new operation establishes the socially desirable 9am to 5pm hours, offers competitive wages and benefits, requires a high level of computer skills and gives employees the opportunity to work in a global environment.
Also assisting the center in employee attraction is its close proximity to some of the region’s largest public universities. That has enabled Genpact to become an employer of choice, says the firm. As such the company’s practice is to promote from within when looking to supervisor, front line manager, and operational leader positions. The Genpact culture is centered on professional and career development.
“There’s a lot of contact centers in Guatemala but what we’ve been able to do is leverage many of the processes that we do globally now in that country, “explains Rudderham. “As a result our staff are now beginning to see a career path right from the contact center level through to AP/AR to management rather than just being in the contact center, which in turn has helped us attract top talent.”
The Guatemala center supplements the Mexico site in managing AP/AR nearshore. Because of the close proximity to both Mexico and the U.S. and the large educated talent pool with bilingual skills, Rudderham explains Guatemala was a logical choice for a continuation of operations in Mexico. The Guatemala facility strategically also sets Genpact up to provide Latin America to Latin America services to its clients. Genpact currently does have sites in India that handle similar tasks, but Spanish-language AP/AR makes sense to be split between Guatemala and Mexico. English-language functions are traditionally shared with India. 
Customer service processes are also in demand because of the growing Hispanic population in the U.S. and the accent neutrality found in the talent pool for both Mexico and Guatemala.   
“If there are immediate and urgent queries by Genpact’s clients or end-customers on AP/AR, say by phone, the Guatemala center can manage them in roughly the same time zone, unlike having to compete with different time zones,” says Rudderham.
At the same time, the Guatemala contact center is gradually ramping up, taking and making more calls and continually adding staff. The site presently can accommodate more than 700 agents and has the capacity to grow further. 
One of the volume sources has been a growth in collections both early and late stage for credit cards including skip-tracing. Genpact is seeing its clients consolidate their financial portfolios, drawing in revenue from all sources. Another longer lasting fountain, driven by the world market crunches, is more nearshoring plus consulting work that enables clients to cut cost and boost service.
“By giving firms quality nearshore options we can help them assess their operations in more expensive countries,” says Rudderham. “At the same time we can also assist them in saving money by streamlining their operations on either technology or process improvement to drive productivity, whether in customer service or F&A.”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek
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