When he’s not “hanging ten” or soaring 30,000 feet above the earth, Manhattan Beachwear CEO Scott Soura can be found roaming the globe, visiting his offices, showrooms, and manufacturing plants in Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, New York and the company’s Cypress, California headquarters. A leading manufacturer of women’s swimwear, including name brands Kenneth Cole, Hobie, and Hot Kiss, Manhattan Beachwear also makes millions of private label swimsuits for top department and discount stores.
In the world of swimsuit fashion, staying current is the key to success, and that’s the case with business communications as well. So, when it was time to move the California headquarters to a new building, company executives decided to buy a new business communications solution, for which they turned to Authorized Toshiba Dealer Transcom Telecommunications Inc. of Paramount, Calif.
Mission: Use VoIP to Connect Offices Around the World
After more than 12 years with a dependable — but outdated — Toshiba DK96 business telephone system, Manhattan Beachwear VP of Finance Rick D’Amato decided, “It was time to dive into the 21st century and go VoIP.” His goal was to streamline the communications between the company’s various global locations.
Solution: Toshiba Delivers IP Connectivity Around the World
Authorized Toshiba Dealer Transcom, Manhattan Beachwear’s Authorized Toshiba Dealer for more than a dozen years, had the perfect solution — Toshiba’s Strata CIX IP business communication system. Joel Nelson of Transcom recommended Strata CIX because it delivers a converged platform, allowing both IP and digital telephones to be on the same system, whether they are on network, remote, or mobile, even in another country.
Because the company has so many remote locations, including home and mobile users, the Toshiba VoIP solutions allowed all these locations and users to be connected to the new Strata CIX at the California headquarters and, therefore, to each other. In fact, using Toshiba IP desk telephones and SoftIPT softphones, which work on laptops or PDAs, Manhattan Beachwear could set up all remote office locations to have them connected over IP to the main system in California.
D’Amato said, “With communications a critical part of our business, it is important for us to be able to be on the same system with shared voice mail, direct exchange dialing, and more. Using Toshiba’s Strata CIX with VoIP made this a smart and affordable choice for us.”
Result #1: Connecting the Road Warrior CEO
Keeping women in bikinis has CEO Soura on the road nine months out of every year. He uses Toshiba’s SoftIPT VoIP softphone on his laptop to keep him connected from all his locations — hotel rooms, remote offices, airports, and virtually anywhere else there is a broadband Internet connection, including WiFi.
D’Amato said, “Being able to communicate with our CEO via voice mail, conference calls, transfers, and so forth is absolutely invaluable to us. It, literally, is just as if he is sitting in his office.”
Result #2: Connected Offices, Showrooms, and Plants Around the World
With a showroom in New York City and manufacturing plants in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Mexico, the long distance bills were racking up quickly. Plus, not being on the same system made it impossible to have efficient centralized communications.
After placing Toshiba IP telephones in its remote offices, Manhattan Beachwear has everyone on the same business communications system with all the calling features of being in the same office. They now can do direct extension calling, can transfer calls, forward voice messages, forward calls to other numbers (i.e., cell phones or home phones), they have direct fax capability, and they can set up conference calls on the fly. In fact, the new system has virtually eliminated the need for using outside conferencing services, adding another layer of cost savings.
D’Amato said they were so pleased with the functionality that they also installed IP phones in the offices of key external manufacturing vendors. “By connecting our partners into our system, we’re heroes with them because they are better connected, and it also saves them thousands in long distance charges.”
Result #3: Thousands Saved in Long Distance Costs
Manhattan Beachwear is saving thousands of dollars in long distance charges, including about $1,000 per month on international calls at the California headquarters alone, according to D’Amato. In addition, he expects to save at least that much on calls from the firm’s Asian locations, as calls from Indonesia and Vietnam are still very expensive, up to $3.00 per minute, and frequent hour-long conference calls add up quickly. For the Mexican locations, he says cost savings are about $400 per month, plus another $300-400 per month in calls from the New York City showroom.
Altogether, Manhattan Beachwear saves nearly $3,000 per month in long distance costs. Said D’Amato, “IP is a great solution for eliminating long distance costs; it truly pays for itself in less than a month.”
Result #4: The Flexibility of VoIP Plus the Reliability of Digital
Manhattan Beachwear has a converged system that includes both digital and IP telephones. D’Amato said, “Having both digital and IP telephones gives us the best of both worlds: the reliability of digital and the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of VoIP. Having both digital and IP ensures that our telephones are always operational.”
Using digital where IP telephones were not a necessity also helped the company manage network traffic. “We are using IP where it makes sense, but employees who don’t need it use digital telephones. Being able to add VoIP endpoints as we need them — telephones or softphones — allows us to roll out VoIP gradually and adapt our network as appropriate, without any downtime,” D’Amato explained.
The Bottom Line
Toshiba’s Strata CIX with IP telephony gives Manhattan Beachwear a centralized business communications solution that connects its locations throughout the world, including Asia, Mexico, and the United States. VoIP has delivered a new level of efficiency to the company’s worldwide communications and helped keep its road warrior CEO in close contact with all locations. In moving to VoIP, Manhattan Beachwear saves nearly $3,000 per month in long distance costs. It also has become a hero to valued partners by installing IP telephones as “hot lines” and also saving them thousands in long distance costs.
D’Amato said, “Toshiba and Trancom deliver a superior product at a competitive price with great service and creative solutions. In the Olympics of swimwear manufacturing, they win the gold!” IT
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