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VoIP in the Family...Business


The Challenge
A family owned business launched in 1938, Pacific Lumber is one of the four companies owned by the Morse family. The family has eight locations, including lumber yards, truss plants, door and millwork manufacturing, and sales offices. Their 300 employees cater to large and small home builders in Oregon and Washington.

About three years ago, after opening a new lumber yard in Bend, Oregon, the costs to operate and maintain their legacy phone system soon escalated beyond what they could tolerate. Though the telephone equipment was paid for and worked as advertised, even small changes were complex, expensive, and time consuming.

Alan Churchill, Director of MIS at Pacific Lumber, began looking at possible system replacements. He hoped that moving to an Internet Protocol (IP) telephony solution could provide potential savings in administrative and maintenance costs. Key to the project was the need to connect all locations on a single IP network. “We wanted one person answering the phone for all yards at Pacific,” said Alan. “Plus we needed a system that was cost-effective and easy to manage. We were looking for a phone system that we could simply plug into our existing wide area network (WAN),” he continued.

The Solution
Alan contacted several major VoIP solution vendors. He also contacted Greg Still at Xiologix LLC, a technology solution provider in Tualatin, Oregon, who presented solutions from Zultys Technologies. Alan’s primary objective was to find a system that was low cost, simple to administer, and easy to use. After receiving the proposal from Xiologix, he nearly dismissed it right off the bat.

“We almost didn’t pursue Zultys (news - alerts), mainly because it was half the cost of the others. It just seemed to good to be true,” admitted Alan. “But when we contacted other users and tested it in our own lab, we discovered that it really did outshine the others.”

Pacific Lumber installed an MX250 IP PBX system from Zultys as well as ZIP 4x4 IP business phones. The implementation took a total of two days, which impressed Pacific, especially the fact that administration could be carried out on the entire system from a remote Web site, if necessary. Churchill noted that Pacific’s previous system required a truck roll for each little issue.

Zultys’ end user client interface, MXIE, provides employees with significant productivity gains. With a simple point, click, and dial functionality, users can initiate one-button conferencing. The call handling rules of the Zultys system automatically passes calls to available operators, depending on the caller and his needs. Essentially, the systems ensures that customers are able to contact Pacific at all times, including while off-site, a feature made possible by the ability to route calls to cell phones. Internal communication is also considerably easier with simple four-digit dialing. And for faxes, each employee has his own DID fax number, which makes the process considerably more efficient.

Alan is happy to have found a system that was so easy to integrate into Pacific’s existing IT infrastructure. “Every other vendor wanted us to change our switches and routers,” explained Alan. “We had no issues with QoS and the pricing was simple.”

So, has Pacific Lumber been able to calculate the ROI on the Zultys system? Alan describes it thus:

“We chose to purchase the system outright, but if we had decided to lease, the lease payments would be less than we were paying for support on the old system. We figure we are ahead starting with month number one. It proved to be exactly what we were promised: a system that was simple to implement, easy to use, worked with our existing switches and routers, and cost less than we were paying. The real proof that the system is a good one is that we have installed a second MX250 with Zultys 4x4 and 4x5 phones at Canby Builders Supply (another family-owned company).” IT

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