It would be easy to imagine Reno, Ohio, as the type of place that would be hit hardest by outsourcing - a small American town losing out to the invisible hand shifting jobs to places like Bangalore and Guangzhou. Instead, outsourcing is bringing the jobs to Reno. Across the street from an Army Reserve center and next to a farm, a customer-service call center hums, its 250 workers answering phones for online travel agency Expedia. The center's owner? Indian conglomerate Tata Group.
The phenomenon has a name: "insourcing," the term experts are starting to use when foreign multinationals open offices on U.S. soil and hire Americans, at a higher price, to do the very jobs they once lured overseas. In this case the center in Reno is targeted toward companies willing to pay a premium - its workers there cost up to 40 percent more than their counterparts in India - to give their U.S. customers a more culturally fluent, less frustrating 1-800 experience. (No more hearing someone read from a script ten time zones away.)
Tata, which is based in Mumbai, established its Reno roots last year when its business services unit, SerWizSol, bought the call-center business of travel-processing firm TRX; the deal also gave it a call center in Milton, Fla. "We want to be able to say to a client, If there's a piece [of call-center operations] you want to keep in America, we can do that for you," says Ricardo Layun, head of U.S. operations for SerWizSol.
The slide from grace is really more like gliding And I've found the trick is not to stop the sliding But to find a graceful way of staying slid