When Mohammad Yahya, Director of Business Infrastructure and IT, arrived at Kice Industries it was clear there was a need for the company to upgrade and modernize their business communications. Not only had they been using old, legacy desk phones, it was also a challenge just to get new employees up and running whenever started at the company.
“The system was so old, when somebody new started there wasn’t enough licenses in the system to even add a phone anymore – they were running out of extensions.”
Kice also needed a solution that was flexible and could support multiple work environments. Some employees work in the corporate office, while others work remote. And in addition to the corporate office, the company also has a large manufacturing facility and not everyone who worked in that facility had a computer at their desk for convenience. But they still needed desk phones to support those employees at the facility whenever they needed to make calls.
With 160 employees to support – and given their licensing struggles with their previous solution – it was critical for Kice to find a provider who could support such a hybrid work environment for a large number of users, without being charged extra for things they didn’t need to use. As his search for a new vendor went on, Yahya was struggling to find someone who could simplify the process and make it easier for him to start implementing a new solution.
“We had to sit here and go through and decide who gets what and it was turning into a nightmare.”
On top of all that, the company also wanted to ensure it had a partner available locally to provide support, when needed.
By the time Mohammad had narrowed his search down to a shortlist of vendors who support all of Kice Industries’ needs, it was clear there was one solution that made sense: UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT.
CONNECT’S simplified licensing structure made it easy for Kice to determine which employees needed what levels of functionality so that they wouldn’t end up paying extra for anything that would be adopted by the wider employee base. The company has adopted the Essential license for the majority of employees, who only need the core calling capabilities, with about 20 utilizing the PRO license for expanded access on the back end and additional functionality where required. And unlike their previous provider, CONNECT has made it easy for Mohammad to add and/or remove licenses and users as Kice’s requirements evolve over time.
As a cloud-hosted solution, CONNECT also had no issues supporting the hybrid workforce currently in place at Kice’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility. Remote employees with a computer can now use the desktop and mobile applications to communicate from anywhere, anytime, while the desk phones in the manufacturing facility are still available to the employees primarily working in that separate space.
Yahya pointed out that other providers who offered a hybrid solution still had on-site hardware requirements to support the desk phones at the manufacturing facility.
“Obviously, with UNIVERGE (BLUE) there is absolutely zero hardware on-site. We didn’t buy anything.”
Kice also found a local partner in CommLink IT who made themselves available throughout the entire process to support as needed. Yahya was quick to praise their team when recalling the decision to switch to CONNECT.
“When Dustin (Miller, from CommLink IT) walked in here and did the demo, it was just outstanding. He answered all the questions. The demo was flawless. We were blown away by the level of competency that was demonstrated. And the fact that it was local, that was a very big factor in the decision to move forward with the product.”
Mohammad was also grateful to the teams at CommLink IT and UNIVERGE BLUE for ensuring a seamless transition.
“It was painless. I honestly can say it was probably the easiest project I’ve done here. It was done in a timely manner. It was step by step.”
Now, when people are calling the actual group they’re looking for, phones are ringing. They’re able to call and get directly to where they want to be. We got good feedback from our clients about that. They’re able to get to somebody a lot quicker than they used to.
Director of Business Infrastructure and IT,
Kice Industries has seen numerous benefits since switching to UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and the most significant has likely been the savings they’ve received from CONNECT’s flat monthly rate, based on their number of users. Between the actual costs and the structure of the licenses, Mohammad estimates that the total cost of switching to CONNECT has been close to half of what it would have been if they had gone with a different provider. He has also reported 100% uptime on CONNECT since making the switch.
Yahya also singled out the ability to create hunt groups for the various departments at Kice Industries so that multiple users can answer incoming calls from the same number.
“We have a sales group. We have a quick ships group. We have different groups that are able to create a (hunt) group and features like that that we weren’t able to do…even on the old system we had them, we just weren’t able to change or anything so we didn’t really use those features.”
The company has also seen a significant improvement in customer service thanks to the ways in which CONNECT streamlines their communications – both internal and external.
“Now, when people are calling the actual group they’re looking for, phones are ringing. They’re able to call and get directly to where they want to be. We got good feedback from our clients about that. They’re able to get to somebody a lot quicker than they used to.”
Yahya even noted that the company updated their paging system on the manufacturing floor and was able to seamlessly integrate UNIVERGE BLUE into the new setup.
“It was, again, so easy and flawless. It works great.”
It’s safe to say: UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT has given Kice Industries the flexibility to deploy a solution tailored made for their specific needs – without having to pay as much as other providers would require.
About Kice Industries
Located in Park City, Kansas – just north of Wichita – Kice Industries is a manufacturing and engineering company with over 75 years of experience in dry bulk material handling and processing. Their manufacturing facility houses 135,000 square feet, 40-foot ceilings and state-of-the-art assets for building and assembling air systems, working round-the-clock to meet the needs of their customers.
Kice Industries has been family-owned since 1946. Over the years, their team has grown well beyond fathers and sons. Today it consists of over 300 people whose diverse talents, passions, experiences and backgrounds help drive their success. They are very fortunate to employ so many high-quality individuals, who operate under the guidance of a solid leadership team.