Since it was founded in 1977, UniPac has established itself as one of Canada’s premier distributors of food processing products and supplies, and with distributing centers from British Columbia to Alberta to Ontario, it’s positioned to provide clients across the nation with the high-quality materials they need and expect. But the company’s transnational success doesn’t come without its problems: with current and future customers located in towns and cities across Canada, travel expenses were unsustainable, and antiquated audio-only conference calls weren’t picking up the slack. Not only was the logistics of scheduling these calls difficult, but the presence of so many staff members on the same call was so disorderly that it necessitated the designation of “traffic controllers,” whose job was to create a semblance of order by signaling to a participant when it was his or her turn to speak. Company decision makers like president and CFO Lyle McDermid knew something had to change – and fast.
“In our industry, having product solutions is of the utmost importance. It is what we specialize in,” the then-IT department head said by way of summing up the company’s communication issues. “Having audio conferences and describing a certain product over the phone was extremely inefficient. To solve this problem, company leaders would just end up traveling to the various locations to meet face to face. This expensive, time-consuming model was absolutely not sustainable, and we knew there had to be a better solution out there for us.”
Because of the geographic disparateness of UniPac’s offices and distribution centers, McDermid was on the look-out for a solution that would neatly replace the audio conferencing system’s inexpensive ability to link far-flung staff members. He first became aware of video conferencing from colleagues who used the technology, and his interest was piqued – but not by the cost, bandwidth requirements, and frustration the products they used seemed rife with. He knew there had to be something with a lower up-front cost, and one that could work with the company’s existing infrastructure. That’s when Phoenix Systems introduced McDermid to LifeSize.
“LifeSize was the best choice for our company because it was extremely easy to manage and maintain, required less bandwidth than other solutions and was simple to use, so the training process would be quick and easy,” he explained of his choice. “I looked at other brands and even though they seemed easy to use, it required so much time and money to set up and manage. LifeSize beat the other solutions in every category.”
Employees immediately took to the video conferencing system, and the frustrating communication breakdowns of the audio conferencing days were soon forgotten thanks to the new system’s ability to recreate the nuances of a face-to-face interaction. Not only has UniPac come to rely on their video-collaboration software for internal meetings, but they’ve even started to use it for interviewing potential new hires as well, replacing phone interviews with video interviews that are far more valuable for HR purposes.
“I expect that we will definitely use LifeSize even more often in the future,” McDermid summed up. “We’d love to do customer presentations over video and demonstrate our food processing solutions. With the way it’s going now and how quickly large groups are able to connect on a regular basis, I can see video becoming more and more of an integral part of how we do business.”