Tulip is a leading meat supplier to supermarkets across the UK. It produces over 358,000 tonnes of meat annually and has grown not only through the popularity of its existing offerings but through acquisition as well. In addition to its well known brands it also provides a number of own-label products. Clearly compromising on product delivery and efficiencies is not an option during a rapid growth period, so the company decided to implement unified communications across its 24 sites.
“Tulip’s business case was built on replacement of existing disparate and costly legacy systems with a resilient and scalable solution,” Tony Brown, IT director at Tulip told UC Insight. “We were in the market for a solution that would offer a single integrated and supportable platform to standardise and simplify communication between our various plants as well as catering for the needs of a mobile commercial workforce.”
The effect of the acquisitions was considerable. There were 17 legacy telephony systems to handle and disparate supply chains across the business units.
The company evaluated many of the main players in the market and decided on Shoretel’s integrated UC offering with Shoretel partner Response Data Communications. A major part of the appeal was the ability to manage all communications channels simultaneously and in real time, including email, voice and web chat.
The implementation time was low and as a result costs were kept under control during that phase. The company handled the rollout in different chunks, with the integration of desk phone functionality with a mobile system coming first and full integration of UC across all sites following afterwards. Improvements were immediate; on one manufacturing site where 700 people worked, the phones went down but the ShoreTel architecture meant they could be diverted through another service. This meant getting back to full operational capacity quickly, a move which otherwise would have taken eight hours and lost the business a lot of money.
“We chose ShoreTel because they matched all our requirements, and frankly, no other supplier came close,” said Brown. “We can now leverage this in the future by implementing the conference bridge which will allow us to link all the sites together for communication purposes, as well as enhancing our profile and the service we can deliver to our retail customers.” The business anticipates a return on investment over two years due to the reduction in phone costs alone.