Staying ahead in today’s unpredictable retail market is easier said than done. Even for industry-leading companies with a strong presence in their chosen market, there are concerns to overcome, particularly during periods of growth.
As businesses begin to evolve, they face an increasing variety of challenges, from issues with supply chains to trouble keeping employees connected. Communication systems that once worked for a smaller business can quickly lead to inconsistencies and productivity issues as businesses grow. That is why it is so important to have an agile environment.
One of the leading producers of cooked meat products in Ireland, O’Brien Fine Foods, has found itself struggling to overcome a series of problems in recent years. Fortunately, by working with RingCentral to create a cloud-based solution for communications, O’Brien was able to evolve quickly.
This is what happened when O’Brien sought help from RingCentral.
A heritage business ready for evolution
O’Brien Fine Foods is one of Ireland’s most respected food retailers and a major supplier to many of the country’s most respected food retailers. The company employs more than 500 people in three separate office, warehousing and production locations. Although it has always been a family business at heart, O’Brien Fine Foods has grown on a massive scale in recent years.
Unfortunately, as the organization continued to build its position as a world-class food production company, its telecommunications system struggled to keep up with demand. According to the brand’s Infrastructure Manager, Eoghan Fitzgibbon, every time the company introduced a new location, it needed to separate the PBX system on site.
The problem with this strategy is that O’Brien Fine Foods quickly ended up with three different PBX systems throughout the company, none of which were connected to the rest of the company. Calling between locations or simply transferring an incoming call to another site became a major problem.
Intersite communications weren’t the only problem for the legacy phone strategy, either. Because all communications in the company were limited to desk and landline phone connections, staff faced significant limitations in their ability to communicate away from the desk.
Eoghan noted that employees were struggling with the lack of access to instant communication strategies when they were on the go, walking around the warehouse or production floor. The old system, with its desk phones, lacked the mobility the team needed.
A growing range of communication problems
As O’Brien Fine Foods continued to evolve, more challenges with the communications strategy became apparent. Several of the sites were located in rural and remote areas of Ireland, and the company frequently suffered outages lasting days or weeks. In December, one of the busiest times of the year for the company, phone systems were down for a significant period of time, resulting in lost orders.
When the pandemic hit in 2020 and the closures went into effect, O’Brien Fine Foods was quickly identified as an “essential business” and its facilities were able to continue to operate. However, many of the company’s office workers still needed to transition to remote work.
With the legacy phone system tied specifically to offices, the company struggled to stay connected with customers and vendors with increasing demands during the pandemic. Desk employees were forced to use their own phones to take business calls, and the IT team struggled to help staff members with technical issues in a distributed environment.
For O’Brien Fine Foods, the only option was to upgrade to a new form of communication. That’s where RingCentral came in. The cloud-based solution offered by RingCentral provided O’Brien Fine Foods with a complete phone system that employees could use anywhere, from any device, be it a laptop, desktop or smartphone.
Sales reps were able to start receiving and placing customer calls from their homes using their business number. Additionally, because RingCentral offers direct dial extensions for each number, it was easier for the company to reach any employee at any location using the softphone application.
A new era of communication
The wide range of phone usage requirements that O’Brien Fine Foods needed to consider when choosing a new communications provider meant that other solutions simply would not have been cost effective. However, RingCentral turned out to be a no-brainer. The company could ensure that anyone who needed a business phone number had one while pooling minutes across the company.
O’Brien Fine Foods also had to consider a number of suppliers and customers outside of Ireland, which meant that in the past they had to deal with extraordinarily high telecom bills. However, since international calls through RingCentral are billed the same as local calls, the company has achieved fantastic cost savings.
According to Eoghan, it’s great for the business to have a level of predictability of their budget going into the future, especially in unpredictable times. RingCentral also helped O’Brien Fine Foods save money on its telecom bills in another way. Eoghan noted that the mobile signal at one of the company’s production facilities is often quite poor due to its rural location.
However, because RingCentral was able to offer the full functionality of the phone through a mobile app with any Internet device, the team was able to access a stronger Wi-Fi connection and better employee experiences. Thanks to RingCentral, the company was able to avoid massive capital expenditure that might otherwise have been required to improve mobile signals at its production site.
Ultimately, working with RingCentral has allowed O’Brien Fine Foods to save money on a wide range of telecom bills and overcome many of the issues associated with keeping teams connected. Company staff members are now more empowered, informed, and aligned. In addition, they have the freedom to work with a higher level of mobility and freedom.