Case study Manufacturing

Ringing in the changes at Quorn

For every business, communication with customers is critical, but Quorn’s ageing system presented several challenges...

With three disparate unconnected phone systems across their three UK sites, all approaching their 20th birthday, programming support and replacement parts were becoming more and more expensive. In addition, support was handled by different vendors and calls between sites were charged at standard STD dialling rates, resulting in significant on-going operational costs.

The IT team on site were unable to program some of the phone systems due to their obscure and unintuitive interface and as standalone systems with no remote access, performing diagnostics when things went wrong presented a significant challenge. Similarly, routine office moves or new starters had to wait for a scheduled site visit by a member of the IT team before they could be undertaken or set up on the system.

All of these challenges, presented Quorn Foods with a clear business case to replace their ageing telephone infrastructure with a new system which would both reduce their costs and support their fast paced growing business well into the future.

What solution worked best?

We’ve been working with Quorn Foods for over 15 years and our partnership with them has allowed us to develop a deep understanding of their business and strategic needs. We were able to architect a creative solution which provided the maximum return on investment by deploying the right technology on day one with options for collaboration and leveraging existing networks to integrate Quorn’s three UK sites, and fourth in Chicago, USA.

After investigating several options, we selected the Mitel MiVoice solution on 3300 MXe hardware, due to the resilience of the system and its ability to cluster with other systems on their network to provide a highly available platform. Quorn also required the ability to support analogue lines within their factory areas which was easily deliverable with this particular solution.

By including a GSM gateway in the design, we provided a way to cut down on call costs to mobiles by bundling them into their current mobile contract. By strategically locating the GSM gateway at the Teesside site, we were also able to mitigate the risk of loss of service through WAN circuit failure without adding costly ‘lines in the ground’.

Quorn Foods had been running a pilot trial of a chat client with limited uptake, but were keen to improve internal collaboration. We deployed the Mitel Unified Communicator Advanced (UCA) client to all users, and helped ensure adoption through user training. The benefits of Remote Call Control (RCC), click to dial integration with outlook contacts and a central corporate directory helped to encourage people to try the new chat features which have now been widely adopted.

By providing an interconnected solution between all sites, we were able to provide Quorn Foods with the ability to centralise their reception for a consistent corporate customer experience. In order to handle the increased call volume, and to facilitate the need to lookup employee numbers across multiple sites, a 5550 IP Operator Console was deployed. As well as providing the initial consultancy and carrying out the implementation we were also able to provide the necessary training so that all staff were able to take advantage of the benefits of the new system.

Realising the Benefits

With the new solution fully deployed and operational, Quorn Foods are already reaping the benefits.

Raising quality and lowering costs

Quorn Foods are now saving over £8,000 per year as a direct result of the change; saving money whilst also improving the staff and customer experience. Site to site call costs became free by routing calls over the existing wide area network (WAN), maintenance plans for old phone systems were cancelled, as was a secondary ISDN30 and the expensive leased line connecting their northern sites. In addition, the GSM gateway which provides cheap failover resiliency at the Teesside site also provides office to mobile cost savings through their current mobile contract.

As part of the implementation, we installed all the necessary infrastructure to supply both remote and mobile access to the Unified Communication Advanced platform. This means that sales people travelling the world can make calls over the internet as though they’re back in the main office, creating savings of £2,500 per year.

We are now in a position where everyone in the IT team can now configure new users/handsets on board and make account changes based on need/role in the business. We are leveraging ‘already paid for’ networks to carry voice data between UK sites and our Chicago office. It’s become second nature and just not something that we worry about anymore. - Fred Holmes, Head of IT

Improving teamwork and collaboration

The new hot-desk features of the system allows staff to work both collaboratively and flexibly. Staff can work from any of their UK sites and sign-in to the desk phone, bringing their external DDI and internal extension with them. External Hot-Desk and external-twinning functionality also allows employees to sign into the system using home phones and mobiles providing ‘single number reach’ no matter where they’re working from.

The new UC360 Collaboration Point conference stations allow external parties to dial-in to Quorn Foods hosted conferences in each of their conference rooms. In addition, all users now have the ability to have multi-party conversations via their handsets.

By integrating the Mitel Unified Collaboration Advanced client with their phone system, users can now click to call Outlook contacts, or search a single centralised company directory to get at the information they need quickly and easily.

Reducing risk and increasing security

With all three sites clustered together, Quorn Foods can now automatically re-route calls in the event of a BT line fault ensuring they can always contact their customers. Couple this with the fact that all of their handsets are now registered against multiple Mitel controllers, there are no longer any single points of failure in their core telephony system.

Through strategic location of the GSM gateway at the Teesside site, risk of loss of service through WAN circuit failure has been mitigated.

In addition, the solution provided is easily scalable and flexible to meet with any changing needs the business may have.

Since 1999 Waterstons has been our IT trusted advisor in all matters concerning technology. Food manufacturing is a fast changing environment and our ambitious growth plans into new territories coupled with our desire to increase production to become a Billion Dollar Business, means that technology plays an ever increasing role. We’re excited to partner with Waterstons on this journey.
Fred Holmes Head of IT