Cape Grim Beef, headquartered in Port Melbourne, Victoria, is a sixth-generation family business. It exports high-quality beef from its two processing facilities in Smithton, Tasmania, and Tongala, Victoria. The exported beef is used in the best restaurants around the world as well as being sold to consumers.
The company works in a fast-moving, changing industry that is subject to international import and export conditions. This means it is important for employees to be able to easily contact each other, suppliers, and other partners to keep the business moving. In the past, outdated equipment meant employees found it difficult to communicate effectively. This resulted in delays in important decisions and slower customer response times.
To improve its internal and external communications, Cape Grim Beef installed new Digium Switchvox 360 IP PBXs in each location, linking all three sites, with more than 70 desk phones across all three sites. As well the desk phones, 45 Spectralink 7620 industrial DECT cordless extensions were added to the PBXs at the two processing facilities.
The Digium desk phones were a mixture of D50 and D70 IP models. With full integration to the Switchvox PBXs, these handsets are simple to use and easy to program, putting critical information at employees’ fingertips.
All three sites are integrated to operate as one, sharing common functions such as global address book, smart call routing, and more. All staff are on phone extensions that are relevant for each site. There is also a shared address book for suppliers and key customers so that staff members can look up numbers via the address book or using speed dial. The centralized system makes it easy for staff to be productive, even if they’re working away from their normal office.
Cape Grim Beef worked with long-time outsourced IT partner, Intellect Information Technology (Intellect IT), with which the organisation had a longstanding relationship.
Max Soukhomlinov, director, Intellect IT, said, “Intellect IT has worked with Cape Grim for many years so we understand their business and their challenges. We knew they needed a solution that would let employees at different locations communicate as seamlessly as if they were at a single site.”
Grant Ryan, managing director, Cape Grim Beef, said, “Intellect IT presented the solution and we saw a demonstration of how it would work. We liked it immediately because we could see that it would make communication more efficient throughout the organization.
“For example, staff can now contact each other instantly regardless of location and the calls are free because of the way the system is set up. Employees can communicate with people both inside and outside the organization more easily using the new solution. Conference calls are simple, and contribute to staff productivity. This has improved Cape Grim’s customer service: instead of wasting time trying to contact people, our staff can concentrate on fulfilling the customer’s needs.”
Speeding up business processes
Many of Cape Grim’s buildings are in areas where mobile phone coverage is limited and even two-way radios sometimes don’t work reliably. This hampered communication. In some cases, decisions needed to be made quickly, but the relevant people couldn’t be contacted.
Robert Cox, Smithton site manager, Cape Grim Beef, said, “We sometimes experience issues where shipments are held up or we need to change the production schedule. If the facility doesn’t get this message fast enough, it could lead to serious consequences. If we’re changing the production schedule we may also need to apply for permits and paperwork so that we can deliver products to a different destination, for example. Time is of the essence. That’s where the Digium phone systems are so valuable: we can now contact the people we need to speak with right away, making us more responsive and effective.”
Improving the culture
With three separate locations, it can be difficult for a company to cement a single culture throughout the organization. This is especially difficult if employees can’t contact each other easily.
Grant Ryan said, “Now staff can speed dial each other instantly, and at no additional cost to the company, so they are talking to each other a lot more. This brings them together and makes it easier for them to work as a team. They are getting to know each other and finding new ways to work together productively. This is very positive for the company culture.”
Digium®, Inc., the Asterisk® Company, created and is the innovative force behind Asterisk, the most widely used open source telephony software. Since its founding in 1999 by Mark Spencer, Digium has become the open source alternative to proprietary communication providers, with offerings that cost as much as 80 percent less. Digium offers Asterisk software free to the open source community and offers Switchvox, Digium’s Unified Communications solution to power a broad family of products for small, medium and large businesses. The company’s product line includes a wide range of telephony hardware and software to enable resellers and customers to implement turnkey VoIP systems or to design their own custom communications solutions. At Digium, we’re changing the way businesses communicate.