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November 13, 2009

OfficeMax Teams Up with Contingent for Network Installation

By Erin Harrison, Senior Editor

When OfficeMax, an industry leader in business-to-business as well as retail office products, set out to open 100 new stores, it needed a partner that could procure and deploy a standardized, store cabling package.
The company also needed a dedicated team that could work around the clock, be flexible and allow each project schedule to be driven by that site’s overall construction trade schedules.
Problem-solving is one of Contingent’s strong suits, according to Russ Maney (News - Alert), principal and co-founder of Xponential Group, a Louisville, Ky.-based technology procurement services company that represents Contingent, told TMCNet.
The integration team taking on the project had to be able to deal with multiple points of contact, make multiple visits to each site, and participate in after hours, project-related communications, according to Maney.
OfficeMax’s other requirements included: a nationwide field engineering workforce; Web portal-accessible, real-time project updates for each site; logistics and deployment services coordination; structured distribution materials procurement and conservation; and a single overall point of contact for the project.
In the end, according to Contingent officials, the project was awarded to CompuCom, OfficeMax’s incumbent supplier of software and technology services. CompuCom then choose Contingent as their exclusive partner for this project, because of Contingent’s North America-wide coverage area and quick response times
OfficeMax controlled the overall project schedule for completing the construction of 100 stores throughout the one-year deployment, but the construction trades’ impact on that schedule was completely unpredictable. Contingent’s cabling schedule depended on nearly all other store system installation schedules, Maney said.
After the completion of a pilot site and a formal “kick-off” meeting with OfficeMax, CompuCom and Contingent, the project moved forward successfully, he explained.
To complete the project, there was an average of eight visits by Contingent-managed field personnel to each site, with some stores requiring up to 18 individual visits. Contingent provided OfficeMax with a “guaranteed result,” including all of the inevitable challenges and design changes, without interrupting OfficeMax’s already overloaded IT staff, according to Contingent officials.
Following the success of this installation, CompuCom has partnered with Contingent to deliver services for OfficeMax Store De-Installs and Remodeling projects. Contingent also provides CompuCom on-call field repair services under its “NetMedX” brand, which OfficeMax frequently utilizes for all of its North American store locations.
Last month, Contingent Network Services announced that it secured a multi-million dollar contract to deploy its EverWorX managed wide area network service at more than 500 Bob Evans locations across the country. According to company officials, a virtual private broadband network installation to link all Bob Evans restaurants was completed this summer. Bob Evans initiated the deployment to enable the installation of so-called “more robust” store-based Web applications, remote network monitoring and customer high-speed Internet access across its 569 North American locations.

Erin Harrison is a senior editor with TMCnet, primarily covering telecom expense management, politics and technology and Web 2.0. She serves as senior editor for TMC's print publications, including "Internet Telephony (News - Alert)", "Customer Interaction Solutions", "Unified Communications" and "NGN" magazines. Erin also oversees production of TMCnet's weekly iPhone e-Newsletter. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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