Sun Apparel manufactures and distributes t-shirts, casual sportswear, caps and accessories throughout the western United States. With three locations — its corporate headquarters in Fullerton, CA and distribution centers in Hayward, CA and Honolulu — the company’s management understands the pain points felt by a multi-office business. That’s why improved interoffice and external communications were top of mind as the apparel company prepared to move into a new corporate headquarters location. Armed with three shiny new Fonality PBXtra servers, the company was ready to say goodbye to phone system problems.
Manageable, Open Source Telephony
As the move neared, a bid from its existing phone vendor missed the mark. “I was completely dissatisfied with the proposal from our previous phone vendor,” said Steve Gulsvig, Sun Apparel’s IT consultant. “The solution was antiquated and was going to cost almost $40,000 for just one location. It also required us to pay an expensive service fee every time we wanted to add a new employee, make a change or move an employee within the office.”
Gulsvig, an early adopter of IP phones for personal use, began searching for a new phone system that could help Sun Apparel communicate internally, as well as with customers, suppliers and other business associates. He was intrigued by open source PBX telephony but, “without a full IT department on staff, Asterisk was too much of a risk. I wanted something that ran on Asterisk, but that had a visual interface so that I didn’t have to write any code.”
A quick Google search later and Gulsvig found Fonality. “Fonality PBXtra is based on open source, but has a great user interface and a hybrid-hosted architecture that actually makes Asterisk useable — it was the clear choice for Sun Apparel,” said Gulsvig. “Fonality had a great track record and PBXtra’s price point for its extremely deep feature set was incredible.”
Fonality’s positive reputation in the IP-PBX market wasn’t the only thing that caught Gulsvig’s attention. “Deploying a PBXtra system was so simple! Since the phones come pre-configured from Fonality, we were able to get all of our locations up and running very quickly.” He was also impressed by the fact that he could easily add new long distance plans and VoIP accounts, and set up dialing rules to define when calls should use each of them.
Eliminating Inter-Office Long Distance Costs
Sun Apparel’s interdependent offices require that company managers frequently communicate about issues such as orders processed through the corporate headquarters or the amount of inventory that has been shipped to the Hawaii office. Before PBXtra, managers often wanted to quickly pick up the phone to confirm inventory or ask questions of colleagues, but avoided it because of the expensive long distance charges between the three offices. Instead, managers consulted the inventory application, which did a good job of keeping track of products and orders, but did not account for real-time changes.
That all changed when Fonality entered the picture. “With PBXtra, all calls between our offices run over our VoIP network, which has completely eliminated long distance fees between our offices. That’s a huge benefit for a company with multiple offices!” said Gulsvig. “PBxtra has also helped improve budgeting. Instead of a guessing game, our phone system is now a consistent line item every month. It makes budgeting so simple.”
Eliminating long distance fees wasn’t the only benefit specific to multi-office locations, according to Gulsvig. “PBXtra allowed us to seamlessly link together our three offices so that we operate as if we are in one physical location,” said Gulsvig. Because of PBXtra’s four-digit dialing, our managers and employees can communicate more efficiently with one another.”
Gulsvig’s overall thoughts on Fonality? “Fonality gave us 10 times the functionality of other phone systems at 10 percent of the cost. Our PBXtra system is so flexible — we can add phones, make changes or move extensions quickly and easily.”
Gulsvig is equally excited about the business results related to deploying PBXtra. “PBXtra has helped improve the relationships between our managers because it has allowed them to have constant communication and operate more fluidly. We are also able to project a more professional image to our customers and suppliers because, with PBXtra, it is so easy to upload custom messages about holiday closures, sales, etc.”
Gulsvig continues his praise of Fonality, particularly for multi-office companies. “Fonality PBXtra is a terrific product for any company that is looking for a feature rich communications system. Especially for growing businesses with multiple locations, PBXtra adds tremendous value for a minimal cost.”