Eddie Stobart: Supporting business success through unified communications

About Eddie Stobart

Eddie Stobart is a leading European supply chain transport and logistics business. The company is headquartered in the UK where it has more than 2,500 vehicles, 5,000 staff and 50 locations.

The challenges

The company undertakes a range of long- and short-term contract work and needs to regularly open new sites and close old ones. This constantly changing business environment meant getting communications systems up and running in new sites was a challenge. The systems consisted solely of telephony over copper lines and, in many cases, Eddie Stobart’s IT team had no choice but to abandon or dispose of legacy communications because they were unsuitable for its requirements at the new sites.

For a company with a hugely dispersed workforce, the speed and ease of getting communications systems up and running quickly was critical, but the approach was proving expensive, time consuming and unsustainable.

Deploying telephony was a significant challenge in itself, but managing systems across 50 UK-wide sites on an ongoing basis was equally as difficult. The company was operating standalone telephony systems at every site, with no interoperability. The IT team faced increased complexity to get an overall view of the entire estate and, when problems occurred, had to spend valuable time and money travelling between sites to perform maintenance or fixes.

Eddie Stobart needed a new communications system that could offer scalability, flexibility and an improved user experience for its staff, while providing the IT team with a fast and easy way to support the system.

Unified communications driving business success

Eddie Stobart needed a supplier that could demonstrate two key attributes: engineering proficiency and expertise with the ShoreTel UC solution. The company knew that many similar organisations were already experiencing tangible business benefits from using ShoreTel and did not want to be at a disadvantage.

After a competitive pitch, the company selected Solar Communications to deliver a ShoreTel Connect UC solution across eight sites, supporting 600 users. The eight sites were either newly opened, with no legacy communications, or existing sites where the current systems were coming to the end of their life.

Solar’s solution includes voice, instant messaging, presence (being able to check the availability of a co-worker), desk-to-mobile extensions, and desktop sharing in one seamless package with a virtualised single management interface. The package came with a two-year fixed-pricing contract, which Eddie Stobart can confidently factor into future plans with no financial shocks or surprises.

Solar provided a team of five technical and solutions specialists to implement the ShoreTel solution within Eddie Stobart’s existing data centre. To ensure business continuity in the event of an outage, Solar also delivered a mix of data circuits and PSTN lines locally to each of the sites for redundancy and added reliability.

Solar’s solution also extended beyond technology to providing a full suite of professional services, training and ongoing support, ensuring Eddie Stobart could get the best out of the new systems and its investment.

How modern communications made a measurable difference

To date, Eddie Stobart has seen significant benefits from the deployment of the ShoreTel solution at its eight sites:

Simpler management

The virtualised central management interface gives the IT team a view of the entire eight sites at a glance, enabling the team to respond quickly to issues before they escalate.

Lower maintenance and supplier costs

The IT team can now perform fixes from a central location using the management interface, saving time and money on travelling between sites. In addition, the company is now self-sufficient for performing basic upgrades, installs and maintenance.

Increased operational efficiency

Eddie Stobart only needs two members of the IT team to manage the entire eight sites, releasing more time to focus on other IT support functions.

Better business agility

The UC system can easily be moved from old sites to new, improving overall business agility. The company can simply disconnect the ShoreTel voice appliance equipment and install it in another location — and even divide the kit between sites to save money if moving from a particularly large site.

Employee productivity

The desk-to-mobile extensions enable workers to work more effectively while away from their desk, which ensures that customers and colleagues can reach employees anywhere, anytime.

Due to the success of the ShoreTel UC solution, Solar is now Eddie Stobart’s communications supplier of choice for upgrading equipment at all other sites when existing systems reach the end of their life, with ShoreTel’s building-block approach ensuring this can be done quickly and effectively when required.