Technology

Teleplan’s local repair shops serve technology giants

Jimmy Wawire, a test engineer at Teleplan, works on a server on Monday at the Dutch company’s electronics repair facility in Roseville.
Jimmy Wawire, a test engineer at Teleplan, works on a server on Monday at the Dutch company’s electronics repair facility in Roseville. rpench@sacbee.com

Headquartered thousands of miles away in the Netherlands, Teleplan International is an aftermarket services company serving some of the world’s best-known computer, communications and consumer electronics firms.

Employing 5,000 worldwide, Teleplan has a California hub. … It’s not in Silicon Valley; nor is it on a sprawling Southern California technology campus.

You’ll find it in Roseville and Lincoln.

Teleplan, which started operating in the area in 2000, has a substantial local presence, employing nearly 400 and comprising nearly 500,000 square feet of working space. The Roseville facility is the bigger local operation, employing 335 in 330,000 square feet on Industrial Avenue. Fifty work at the 160,000-square-foot site in nearby Lincoln.

“Considering that Teleplan was started by two people repairing television sets in a garage in Germany in 1983, it is quite a story,” said Ramiro Limon, general manager of Teleplan’s local operations. “We’re one of only three sites in the United States. … Yes, I would guess that most people don’t know about all the things we do here.”

Roseville/Lincoln is one of only three Teleplan service centers in the U.S. The others are in Harrisburg, Pa., and Dallas. All three sites do different things. Roseville specializes in providing aftermarket services to customers’ networking products. Teleplan customers include San Jose-based technology giant Cisco Systems, Apple, FedEx, Nokia, Sony, Microsoft and IBM.

Limon stressed that Teleplan only repairs products – it doesn’t manufacture them.

How does it work? There are numerous ways.

Suppose you send an Asurion-warrantied Microsoft-software laptop back for repair. In the Western U.S., chances are that it would go to Teleplan’s Roseville facility. (Nashville-based Asurion provides insurance/warranty services for an estimated 280 million consumers’ electronic devices worldwide.)

From there, Limon said there are options: “(The) Roseville team here would then go through their repair process, repair it and then send it back directly to you or to a depot for Microsoft. And then they would ship it to you or they would use it as an advance replacement for another customer.”

Limon said most Asurion-warrantied laptops in the Western region end up in Roseville. The destination is determined by ZIP code.

The Roseville facility also services and repairs tons of computer equipment. But other sites have their specialties.

For example, if you dropped a potted plant on your warrantied mobile phone, smashing it to bits, chances are it will go to Teleplan’s Dallas site to be made like new. In all cases, quick work is a high priority.

“Tech companies have partnered Teleplan and other service providers on a massive scale,” said Los Angeles-based information technology consultant Alex Boyd. “(Customers) don’t want to stand in line or wait forever when something goes wrong with their device. They want it fixed or replaced right now.”

Locally and globally, Teleplan is a perpetually busy enterprise. The international company says it handles more than 19 million devices a year, or one every three seconds.

Teleplan’s Roseville facility looks the part. It’s a sea of wires, monitors, diagnostic hardware, computer components and other exotic-looking electronic equipment. Boxes marked with Cisco and other company logos are stacked three stories high.

Teleplan oversees more than 20 facilities worldwide, but the Roseville site has something the others do not. Earlier this month, Teleplan International opened its first customer center there.

The 1,600-square-foot center is geared to customers, prospective customers and business partners. Visitors can see the full range of technology and aftermarket services that Teleplan offers worldwide, from product return to end-of life recycling.

“It took us awhile to convince (Teleplan management) of the advantages that the customer experience center would bring,” Limon said. “Now, we can show customers the entire range of services that Teleplan offers. Someday, there might be centers throughout (the company), but now, this is the only one.”

It took us awhile to convince (Teleplan management) of the advantages that the customer experience center would bring. Now, we can show customers the entire range of services that Teleplan offers.

Ramiro Limon, general manager of Teleplan’s Sacramento-area operations

The center fills a relatively small space, but it is filled with eye-catching equipment, including a mobile phone testing device that simulates human touch and a state-of-the-art 3-D printer to create hard-to-source parts. Limon envisions the center evolving into an employee- and high-tech training academy.

Roseville Mayor Carol Garcia, who recently toured the center , said she’s “very excited to see this in our community not only for jobs and business, but from a consumer standpoint. I’m amazed at the level of expertise and the work being done. … And (Teleplan’s) recycling efforts in the community are huge.”

Limon said that Teleplan annually recycles tons of e-waste in the Roseville area alone. That includes piles of computer materials and even plastic foam used to pack computers and related components. Limon said packing foam takes “forever” to break down in a landfill, but Teleplan compacts it in an industrial “densifier.” Instead of ending up in a landfill, the packing material can be used again by a customer. It’s also a major recycler of cardboard.

Teleplan’s internationally known customers have lavished praise on the company.

Marco van Duijnhoven, director of Cisco Systems’ global repair operations, called Teleplan a key part of Cisco’s supply chain, committed to “operational excellence, quality, responsiveness and innovation.” Teleplan’s work also has been lauded by Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard and Santa Monica-based Activision.

Limon said there are no specific expansion plans, but the Roseville facility does have room to grow if needed. Analyst Boyd believes expansion is inevitable as computer, communications and consumer electronics firms continue to develop new electronic products and compete for consumers’ attention. Boyd said the wearable technology sector is growing rapidly and will need aftermarket service providers.

Teleplan is one of numerous players in the aftermarket sector, even locally. Roseville’s PowerON Services Inc. has recycled and repurposed millions of electronic devices, often selling the refurbished products to buyers looking for more affordable technology products.

Mayor Garcia said she’s hopeful that Teleplan’s Roseville officials will someday reach out to local college students interested in technology careers, with the customer center as a showpiece: “This would be a great place for those students to see first-hand.”

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

Teleplan at a glance

Global headquarters: Schiphol, Netherlands.

Scope: Teleplan International is an aftermarket services company serving some of the world’s best-known computer, communications and consumer electronics firms, including Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Apple.

Fast facts: Teleplan International handles more than 19 million devices a year, or one every three seconds on average. Services are provided in 95 nations, serving nearly 5.5 million consumers.

Local operations: 335 employees at 330,000-square-foot facility in Roseville, 50 employed at 160,000-square-foot site in Lincoln.

It’s done here: The local warehouse specializes in repair of Asurion-warrantied laptops, plus repair and refurbishing of networking devices. The Roseville/Lincoln sites also are major recyclers of cardboard, packing materials and e-waste.

One of a kind: On Oct. 8, Teleplan International opened its first “customer experience center” in its Roseville site. Geared to customers, prospective customers and business partners, the showroom demonstrates the full range of technology and aftermarket services that Teleplan offers worldwide.

Sources: Teleplan, Bee research

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