Solar delivers ‘best in class’ telecoms solution to ASD metal services

ASD metal services are part of the International ‘klöckner & co’ multi-metal distribution group. UK operations are based at their Leeds headquarters and they have 34 offices throughout the UK. Currently 21 of the businesses are using the new solution, provided, installed & managed by Solar Communications. ASD metal services have over 1,100 employees and turnover in the UK, is £340M per annum.

The steel industry is extremely competitive and subject to ‘peaks and troughs’, both seasonally and year to year. The current economic environment has impacted on demand dramatically over the last three years. As a result the emphasis is on business efficiency, maximising use of resources and continuously looking for opportunities for growth through acquisition and new market opportunities.

I.T / Telecoms are seen as critical to the success of the business and the need to be ‘best in class’ is a requirement throughout the company. Through acquisition and autonomous operation the ASD metal services Telecoms estate was a mix of systems from different suppliers including Siemens, Toshiba and BT. Reliability, interoperability and functionality was limited and some of the systems were approaching ‘end of life’ which would significantly affect support services in the future.

A decision was reached to identify a system that would meet the needs of the business for the foreseeable future whilst offering cost savings, improved functionality and operational efficiencies. An external consultant was engaged to identify a suitable solution and technical partner. Solar Communications was quickly identified as a partner with the required expertise, knowledge and support capabilities.

Solar worked closely with ASD metal services and their Consultant to identify a telephony solution that would meet the key criteria of cost, reliability and functionality. The Avaya IP 500 system was recommended as it delivered the telephone and PC integration, management reporting and voicemail capability required across the estate. In addition, significant cost savings would be realised as a result of using Solar ISDN and Analogue lines across the estate, when compared to previous suppliers.

Anne Leach, PA to the Board at ASD says ‘Solar staff are knowledgeable in their profession and extremely helpful. Our Account Director, Peter Broadway, has been indispensable and extremely cooperative in helping me understand and implement the new systems. Solar is an efficient, dependable company with approachable staff. Our London site has implemented the system and it has made a huge difference. We are currently upgrading our Leeds Head Office. We will continue to renew the systems, across our various businesses in partnership with Solar.’The installation and commissioning of equipment was delivered in accordance with an agreed deployment plan and Solar’s personnel continue to be recognised as knowledgeable, professional and extremely supportive. Employees have reported being very satisfied with the system, customer interaction has improved and interestingly employees are increasingly using their PC instead of the telephone for day-to-day operations using the built-in ‘soft-phone’ functionality.

By closely integrating the system with their own local databases, users are now, through the presented CLI (Calling Line Identifier), able to see the name of the individual or company calling them via a ‘pop-up’ on their PC screen; this has enabled a more personalised approach and helped to improve customer interaction & satisfaction; with increased productivity.

A standardised voicemail system across the business was also delivered which improved ease of use, significantly reduced training requirements and ultimately reduced operational costs. Managers were able to see consolidated call activity information, improving and speeding up decision making. The Call Logging information has proven invaluable and Managers now have much better insight of the business.

In summary, both Solar and the Avaya IP500 system, have exceeded expectations and have delivered significant benefits to staff, management and the business as a whole, to support this key investment decision by ASD metal services, during tough economic times.