Ireland to remain central to Dell’s developments

9 Sep 2004

Dell has reaffirmed its commitment to its Irish operations and the company has said it plans to clear the US$10bn mark for European revenues this year. On a visit to Ireland yesterday, Dell founder and chairman Michael Dell (pictured) called Ireland “the heart of our European business” from where the company’s revenues in the region would be generated.

For the calendar year 2004, Dell said he expected European revenue would be “easily more than US$10bn and all of this is coming from Ireland”. The European business for Dell grew by 30pc in the most recent quarter to June 2004. The company does not declare actual revenues for individual country operations but its Irish PC sales have been a consistently high performer. Dell holds a 39pc share of the Irish market where typically 100,000 systems are sold every quarter. Although market share figures tend to fluctuate slightly over the course of a year, this would put annual shipments of Dell computers to Irish customers at slightly more than 150,000 units.

Dell also fielded questions about fears of outsourcing and the threat of losing Irish jobs to lower cost economies elsewhere in the EU or further afield such as China. “I’ve had this question many times before and my answer isn’t changing,” said Dell. “We have a lot of scale, the operation in Ireland is now 14 years old. There is still a tremendous amount of productivity improvement and capacity that can be organically generated inside the organisation that’s here today.”

He pointed out that the company’s manufacturing operation in China only builds products for the market in the Far East. “Sometimes things get sensationalised and misunderstood; the factory in China doesn’t build PCs for Europe or the US.”

In addition, the Limerick manufacturing facility is not simply performing the same function as it did when it opened, said Dell. “We have gradually expanded the scope of the mission into more technical areas. The breadth of our activities has grown quite considerably,” he said in reference to new control centre operations and an applications testing facility to be based at Dell’s Limerick site.

The company’s Bray and Cherrywood call centres, which employ 1,500 staff between them, have been subject to occasional speculation in the past that some jobs may be relocated, but Dell hinted that the company may actually look to establish a brand new facility to house these combined centres. “If we were to consolidate it would be in terms of having all the people in one physical space,” he said. “The operational activity is actually growing quite a bit in terms of people. We didn’t know it would grow as fast as it did which is why we have two places and we are looking at having a larger campus in the Dublin area to accommodate the growth.”

By Gordon Smith