Trucking firm brings on unified communications to save money, boost productivity

Interstate trucking company Boyd Bros. Transportation was losing experienced freight agents because it couldn't support home workers, but replacing the firm's 20-year-old phone system brought unified communications features that let it hang on to these veteran employees and save money at the same time.

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With an Avaya Aura unified communication platform, the company can now route calls to agents' homes so they don't have to commute to the company headquarters to be part of its contact center, says Elaine Maund, vice president Information Systems for the company.

That saves the company $40,000 to $60,000 per year in training new employees, she says, and the system's video capabilities will allow it to buy less-expensive WAN connections at a savings of another $70,000 per year.

Boyd Bros., based in Clayton, Ala., has a fleet of about 1,000 trucks that haul steel and building materials, and uses freight agents to book loads for them to carry in and out of destinations so they don't make long runs with no cargo.

The agents work in groups that are assigned to geographical zones, with phone hunt groups set up to route calls to open agents within groups. With separate Avaya PBXs in two of the company's locations and no way to integrate the hunt groups, agents were bound to a particular PBX, Maund says.

When agents had to move away from rural Clayton so other family members could seek jobs, Boyd Bros. had no reliable way to support them at home. Often the ISPs the employees used for their home accounts couldn't supply static IP addresses needed to install VPNs and firewalls, she says.

With Aura installed at the company headquarters, incoming calls to an agent's work number can be routed to their homes over the Internet using Avaya agents on home PCs and cell phones.

In addition to retaining the workers, Boyd Bros. is getting more work out of them - a 300% productivity increase because the agents face fewer distractions at home, Maund says.

Boyd Bros. has bought into a new offering from Avaya called Aura Solution for Midsize Enterprises, a one-server deployment that supports up to 1,000 users at $200 to $350 per user for the software depending on features and applications, plus $27,000 for the hardware. It is generally available in April.

Managing the phone system and changes in phone assignments is much simpler with the IP phone system than it was with the old TDM PBXs, Maund says, cutting time spent managing by 80%.

Boyd Bros.'s deployment supports videoconferencing that executives in Clayton use to welcome newly trained drivers in Birmingham, Maund says, which boosts employee morale.

The company switched over from its old phone system one Thursday night after work in January and was up and running when employees came to work the next day. "There was no service interruption," she says.

Deploying support for mobile users takes about 10 minutes, she says.

Read more about lans and routers in Network World's LANs & Routers section.

This story, "Trucking firm brings on unified communications to save money, boost productivity" was originally published by Network World.

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