Kimball Equipment

UC Cloud Voice Solution Results in Improved Productivity, Reduced Costs for Large Equipment Supplier

Kimball Equipment stumbled along on disparate phone systems across offices—including a “homegrown” system that experienced frequent outages. With UC Cloud Voice, the entire company is now on a unified system with modern collaboration tools at a reduced cost.

Challenge

An outdated “homegrown” system couldn’t keep up with demand, was increasingly difficult to get parts for and options for support were becoming limited and more expensive. Frequent outages and lack of uniformity across the company impacted customer experience and employee satisfaction.

Solution

Allstream put all of Kimball Equipment’s offices on one system, UC Cloud Voice, and provided modern tools to improve productivity and reduce outages.

Outcome

Approximately 120 employees across ten locations moved to the new system. The UC Cloud Voice system has resulted in a net cost savings and improved stability and productivity across the company.

Benefits

  • Stability
  • Savings
  • Flexibility
Approximately 120 Kimball Equipment employees across ten locations moved to the new system. UC Cloud Voice has resulted in a net cost savings and improved stability and productivity across the company.

Business Challenge

Since 1946, Utah-based Kimball Equipment has provided new and used aggregate equipment to the concrete industry. With approximately 120 employees located across six western states, Kimball Equipment sells and services equipment from leading manufacturers in the industry.

Kimball Equipment in the field

“…we would lose calls all the time. Our system would go down because the cards would get fried, and we couldn’t find any of the cards.”

Alex Earl, IT Director, Kimball Equipment

Unfortunately, the company’s phone system could not keep up with recent growth. “My predecessor built our phone system from the ground up with his own coding,” said Alex Earl, IT Director. “It was a great tool at the time, because he could change and customize it any way he wanted. But we were starting to see deterioration, and we were spending thousands of dollars to keep it going.”

In addition, as the company opened new locations, each office purchased its own phone system, so no two offices operated on the same internal system. “It was just known inside the company that you couldn’t call Phoenix from Salt Lake City, Las Vegas couldn’t call Salt Lake City,” he said. “And then we would lose calls all the time. Our system would go down because the cards would get fried, and we couldn’t find any of the cards.”

In the headquarters, “I had no way to add new people into the system,” said Earl. “I had no controls, and I didn’t know the coding.” Kimball Equipment contracted an outside IT company to help manage his department, and the contractor regularly exceeded his monthly contracted amount just maintaining the phone system in the
Utah headquarters.

“It was a mess,” Earl said.

Kimball Equipment people

“Our project manager was wonderful and so helpful…
I could not have done this without her.”

Alex Earl, IT Director, Kimball Equipment

Solution

As an existing Allstream network customer, Earl already had some familiarity with Allstream when he started to look for a new phone system. Though the company looked at two other solutions, they very quickly settled on the Unified Communications (UC) Cloud Voice solution proposed by Allstream. The project also involved increasing bandwidth at some of the Kimball Equipment locations.

The company installed the Allstream solution at one of their branch offices first, then rolled out the solution one office at a time. While this process meant reminding employees and customers of changes to phone numbers at first, Earl has nothing but praise for the Allstream team. “Our project manager was wonderful and so helpful,” he said, citing the project manager’s creative solutions and depth of knowledge that allowed the solution to meet each office’s unique needs. “I could not have done this without her.”

Kimball Equipment industry

“We’re so much more stable now. Our systems are just so much more reliable at this point. It’s a huge relief.”

Alex Earl, IT Director, Kimball Equipment

Results

The new UC Cloud Voice system installation was completed in the summer of 2018 across all Kimball Equipment locations, and the feedback from both customers and employees has been overwhelmingly positive, said Earl. “One of our location managers said, ‘I didn’t realize just how crippled we were,’” said Earl. Across the company, employees report a significant rise in productivity; in his own role, Earl says he is able now to pursue other IT projects since he’s not spending large amounts of time with the phone system.

The UC Cloud Voice solution has also resulted in significant savings now that Kimball Equipment’s IT contractor isn’t forced to spend extra time working with the phone system. In the year before the UC Cloud Voice implementation, Kimball Equipment paid its contractor $25,000 above the usual retainer fee just to maintain the phone system. By the time Kimball started the UC Cloud Voice implementation, the company was paying the contractor far above its standard monthly retainer for phone system maintenance.
Since implementation of UC Cloud Voice, the company is back to paying a standard retainer for IT support.

Included in the UC Cloud Voice solution were several functions new to Kimball Equipment, such as internal chat and other collaboration tools. While adoption of some of these tools hasn’t been completed, Earl said that the company is better positioned now to handle customer requests and to adapt to changing communication needs over the coming years.

The flexibility and ease of the UC Cloud Voice solution is also a huge benefit to Kimball Equipment. On the old system, Earl couldn’t even add a new employee’s name to the phone extension. Now, programming is simple and straightforward. The system also gives employees flexible work options through the softphone and twinning options, allowing people to work where and when they need to.

Since the final installation, Earl said Kimball Equipment has only experience one outage, and that was a short one “due to improper wiring on my part.” The outage was quickly resolved, and the system forwarded calls seamlessly so that the office didn’t miss anything.

Earl also said that Kimball Equipment was in a good position to weather the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the UC Cloud Voice solution. “We didn’t have to send a lot of people home, but there were a couple of offices closed,” he said. “We were able to reroute their phones, and we could answer customer calls seamlessly.”

“We’re so much more stable now,” Earl said. “Our systems are just so much more reliable at this point. It’s a huge relief.”

Benefits

Kimball Equipment moved to a uniform voice platform across all locations with Unified Communications (UC) Cloud Voice. The solution included intuitive, easy to use desktop collaboration tools, visibility amongst employees across all locations, internal 4-digit dialing, flexible mobility solutions, customizable auto attendant, and intuitive web- based admin interface. Additional bandwidth and dedicated Internet access also provided where required.

Other Benefits Include:

  • Dramatic reduction in outages; improved stability and reliability.
  • Internal four-digit dialing for better company communication.
  • Twinning to mobile phones for users who prefer to use cell phones.
  • Improved bandwidth where needed.
  • Scalable for future technology.