Timing Was Everything for This Manufacturer Deemed Essential During COVID-19

August 20, 2020

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Many companies have successfully switched to remote operations over the last few months to protect their employees and adhere to COVID-19 restrictions, but what do you do when you’re a manufacturer, and the products you produce are deemed “essential”?

Our customer, GKD, was faced with this very issue. With over 800 employees, GKD is a world-class metal fabricator specializing in metal mesh whose products include everything from massive architectural elements in some of the most unique building (which are jaw dropping, by the way) to conveyor belts used by commercial industries including the food industry. It is because of the work they do with the food industry that GKD has been deemed an essential business.

When Covid struck, the company’s first priority was the safety of their workers, so many employees transitioned to working remotely. However, since GKD was deemed an essential supplier, business had to keep running.  Because GKD is a manufacturer with factories and physical goods to produce,  several employees had to remain on site for the manufacturing process and it was critical that employees had the tools to stay connected and productive no matter where they were working from.

Call it serendipity or just great timing, but a week before the pandemic caused businesses to enact social distancing measures, Eric Conrad, GKD’s network administrator, had switched from a traditional on-premises phone system to the all-in-on cloud communications and collaboration platform Intermedia Unite. If GKD had still been on the old on premises phone system, the ability to have calls automatically rerouted from the office to employee cell phones, or the ability to meet face-to-face via video conferencing, or the ability to instant message would have involved a number of disparate systems, been very expensive, and/or just wouldn’t have happened.

Few within the organization were as happy about this transition to a cloud communications platform than Mr. Conrad, himself. I recently spoke to Mr. Conrad about managing the transition to Unite, and how everyone from manufacturing to support to sales has been utilizing the system.

“We made the switch just in time, about a week before everything shut down,” said Mr. Conrad. “The transition was seamless. Everybody has the app on their smartphone or desktop, and they could make and receive calls just as if they were at their desk.”

“The transition was easy for workers,” he continued. “Most already had company phones. All they had to do was download the app to their device. They did so on their desktops, as well. We told them they could even take their office phone home and use it with no extra setup.”

The freedom of cloud communications enables users to make and receive calls from anywhere, something that comes in very handy when you suddenly have a distributed workforce.

Mr. Conrad also noted how easy it was for employees to adopt Intermedia Unite and how they raved about its simplicity. “After the app install, they simply log into one system with their password. Everyone forgets passwords with the hassle of logging into multiple systems. Now they only have to remember one,” noted Mr. Conrad.

In addition to phones, another aspect of Unite that has become key to GKD’s operations over the last few months is video conferencing with AnyMeeting. “Everyone loves the simplicity of AnyMeeting. As of now, we’re still not doing site visits, so sales teams are using video conferencing for virtual engagements,” Mr. Conrad said.

It also became a tool for inter-company communications. “The transition to using video conferencing was surprisingly easy. The people that remained on-site went to video conferencing to stay connected to production staff and those working at home. They are still using it to maintain social distancing,” Mr. Conrad relayed.

 Luckily, Mr. Conrad had already researched and selected a cloud communications vendor before the pandemic hit. In addition to Intermedia’s system reliability and ease of use, something else caught Mr. Conrad’s attention. “We looked at many providers. The simplicity of one bill and one support number with Intermedia was very attractive,” he said.

During the time that GKD has been a customer, Mr. Conrad also noted that the support has been top-notch. “We haven’t needed much support. But when we have, they’ve resolved the issue quickly,” he said.

As a network administrator, Mr. Conrad is responsible for providing the right tech stack for employees. With Unite, GKD was able to deploy cloud communications to a large team without any restraints. Something that would have been cost-prohibitive with analog phones.

“My advice to any company is, take your time, but if you’re still on analog phone systems, get off,” he said. “If we didn’t have Unite, we would have paid astronomical fees to forward each phone line from the office.”

Check out the complete interview with Eric, which also features some of GKD’s incredible work. We also invite you to explore Intermedia Unite and all its features.

Scott Anderson

Scott Anderson is Intermedia's Chief Marketing Officer, and is responsible for Intermedia global marketing, including product, brand, direct, channel, demand, and digital marketing, as well as internal/external communications.

August 20, 2020

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