Automated Dairy

Cream of the Crop

Automated Dairy Systems counts on Cerium Networks’ expertise and commitment for Microsoft Lync migration.

Got milk? Most likely, you do—the average American consumes about 20 gallons of milk a year, and that doesn’t even include all the milk byproducts such as butter, cheese, ice cream and more. Technology plays an increasingly crucial role in bringing those products to market, and for the past 30 years, Jerry Higley has been deeply involved in helping dairy farmers transform their operations through mechanization and automation.

Partners

Solutions Provided

  • Migration to Microsoft® Lync® solved Automated Dairy Systems’ communication challenges caused by its aging telephone system.
  • Automated Dairy Systems’ IT staff chose to work with Cerium Networks to implement its migration after attending a Lync-focussed seminar sponsored by Cerium.
  • Now, Lync allows Automated Dairy Systems to conduct company-wide video conferences with additional features such as instant messaging and content sharing.

Higley and his wife, Sue, own and operate Automated Dairy Systems, headquartered in Jerome, Idaho. With a team of 65 employees working in four locations in Idaho and New Mexico, Automated Dairy Systems is among the top U.S. dealers of automation solutions that help some 275 dairy farms improve profitability, animal health, and milk quality. However, Higley recently called on Cerium Networks for help with a technology issue that was beyond the scope of his expertise. An aging telephone system was becoming increasingly unreliable and undermining the effectiveness of his organization. Spotty call quality, poor conferencing abilities, limited call forwarding features, and inadequate messaging options hindered communications within the organization. Even worse, customers were having trouble making timely connections with staff.

We’re a service organization, first and foremost, and that just wasn’t acceptable,” Higley said. “It became clear that one of our biggest challenges as a company was getting our communication right.

First Impressions

Higley’s IT staff spent several months investigating options for converting to a VoIP-based communication infrastructure. Following a demonstration from his son-in-law, an IT manager with an Arizona real estate development company, Higley became intrigued with Microsoft Lync’s ability to unify multiple forms of communication for an organization with multiple locations and a large number of mobile employees.

Lync delivers voice, messaging, and both audio and video conferencing through one easy-to-use client. It also supports mobile users and has federation capabilities for extending unified communications securely over the Internet to customers, suppliers, and partners.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what a boon that would be—to be able to communicate with the whole company,’” said Higley. “I came away duly impressed.”

The next question was where to find someone with the expertise to help Automated Dairy Systems migrate to a Lync-based unified communications infrastructure. He got his answer when he and his IT team attended a Lync-focused seminar in Boise sponsored by Cerium. “It was clear to us that they had the ability to do what we need to do,” said Higley. “We talked to them and set up appointments for them to come back and look at our situation and make some suggestions for us.”

Lync delivers voice, messaging, and both audio and video conferencing through one easy-to-use client. It also supports mobile users and has federation capabilities for extending unified communications securely over the Internet to customers, suppliers, and partners.

The Right Choice

What also impressed Higley was Cerium’s willingness to assume a partner relationship with Automated Dairy Systems. He became convinced they weren’t simply trying to sell him a system.

“We wanted someone who would be committed to an ongoing relationship, to help us with the initial setup and beyond,” Higley said. “We’re not bashful about asking for what we need, just like our customers don’t mind telling us what they need. We milk cows—that’s what we do. And you cannot not milk a cow. We have to go with suppliers and vendors who have the same commitment that we do with our customers. We felt like Cerium is that kind of company.”

The migration to Lync and VoIP went well and brought immediate improvements for Automated Dairy Systems. “Thus far, we’re only using a portion of what’s available to us through Lync, but we’ll begin to do more as we have ongoing training with our people,” Higley said. “But right now, to a person, everyone who is working with it is impressed with the system and excited about the way it is handling the challenges we had before we came on to Lync.”

 

I can’t speak highly enough about their experience and depth of expertise.

Challenges Met

One such challenge is the company’s regular Monday morning managers meetings. Previously, if more than three managers were conferenced in over landlines, call quality deteriorated significantly. Managers in the field on cell phones had “miserable” call quality, Higley said. Now, Lync allows managers to conduct weekly video conferences with additional features such as instant messaging and content sharing. To further take advantage of these capabilities, Automated Dairy Systems has instituted regular company-wide conferences with video at all four locations.

Direct dialing is another feature that has improved operations. Internal and external calls no longer have to go through a receptionist to be transferred to an extension. All employees have their own direct lines. The simultaneous ring feature allows employees to be reached anywhere from a single number, whether they are at their desk or in the field with a mobile phone.

The voicemail transcription feature forwards text previews of voicemails to both desk and mobile phones, helping ensure that urgent customer messages don’t languish in a voice mailbox for hours.

“I love that feature,” said Higley. “If I can’t take a call for some reason, that really helps me judge the urgency of the message.” Higley has also been impressed with Cerium’s expertise and responsiveness.

“I can’t speak highly enough about their experience and depth of expertise. During the migration, they did stuff with Ma Bell that we only dreamed about,” he said. “Their training was excellent, and they’ve offered to take that out to our remote locations as needed. They’ve been a really good partner for us, and we look forward to a continuing relationship with them.”

our element is communication

 

Effective communication is an essential element found in all successful business relationships. Employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction can rise and fall based on this key element. If you would like to communicate with us please use this form to tell us a little bit about what you would like to discuss. We will ensure that the most appropriate Cerium associate will contact you immediately.

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