Customer Stories

Trucking company goes mobile to link the back-office to drivers on the road

by Nina Quasebarth
June 24, 2018

Leading New Zealand trucking and transportation company, the Stan Semenoff Group, implements next-generation business phones to connect the back-office team with distribution hubs and drivers on the road.

 

Stan Semenoff Logo

 

50+ years and still young at heart

Starting in the late 1960’s as an agricultural contracting, sand processing and supply business, the small company started by Stan Semenoff has grown into the Stan Semenoff Group, a large organization employing over 150 people across three different transportation businesses, a logistics/bulk warehouse and several sand and scoria quarries.

Stan contributes the company's success to the many skilled and dedicated employees that have been helping to grow the company over all these years.

"It’s thanks to a lot of determination and hard work that we’ve managed to grow, thrive and improve our business and it’s mainly thanks to our people, that, despite strong competition and narrow margins, the Stan Semenoff Group is still going strong to this day."

 

Stan Semenoff 

Managing Director, Semenoff Group of Companies

Now in their 50th year, the  Stan Semenoff Group are still looking to improve and grow. Proving that they are still young at heart, they constantly look to adopt new technologies and practices that keep their company and their employees moving forward.

StanSem

Stan Semenoff, Managing Director
Semenoff Group of Companies

A true blue Kiwi company 

The Stan Semenoff Group has been supporting and helping to grow the Northland economy for more than 50 years.

With over 20 trucks carting sand, metal, woodchips, rocks, scoria, fertilizer, palmkernel PKE, and many other products, they are a staple in the local economy.

Hilders Livestock Northland and United Livestock are part of Stan Semenoff Livestock Ltd. With yards in Kaikohe, Whangarei and Kaitaia, they support farms all over Northland.

And their logging division (Kaitaia Transport), has over 50 log-trucks supporting the Northland logging industry, supplying most of Northland’s and Auckland’s saw mills and wood processors.

Chances are if you've built a home or industrial building in Northland or Auckland, some of your materials were carted by Stan's trucks, or your foundations contain aggregate or sand mined by Stan's companies.

 

Challenges

Over 50 years Stan and the company have seen and overcome many challenges. However, one challenge has remained constant - the importance of communication with the team.

Real-Time communication. Trucking and logistics is a real-time business where people work 24*7, and problems typically mean changing schedules, driving routes, and plans. Communication is key.

From the head office in Whangarei, logistics teams need to easily communicate with people in remote hubs, warehouses, manufacturing plants, and the drivers on the road. 

Desk-less workforce. By the very nature of the business, a lot of people in the company are not sitting at desks. They are walking around plants, inspecting machinery, and getting the job done. A phone on the desk is just not going to work.

stan_sem-sand

Remote and hostile locations. In some of the locations, such as the sand and aggregate plants, it's either not possible or cost inhibitive to get a traditional business phone system installed. 

No WiFi or cell data coverage.  With 70+ trucks and scores of drivers who are the lifeblood of the business, contacting drivers on the road is a technical and organizational challenge. The drivers are often out of data coverage, so a business phone systems that relies on wires or only works on VoIP is not going to work.  

Stan_sem_truck

Up-to-date company directory. When things go wrong, people need to be able to reach each other easily, or problems take longer to solve. In the transportation and logistics business, speed is key to keep the company rolling - literally.

To easily call each other, employees would need to enter other employee phone numbers on their phones. If you've got 100 employees all doing that, that's 10,000 phone book entries that need to be kept up to date. It's just not scalable.

Sorry, can you call back? If a customer calls and needs to talk to a driver or a plant manager out on site, there was no way to transfer them, and no way to let the employee know who's calling them and what the call is about.

"A customer would call in looking for someone. We would take the message and have the employee call back the customer when possible - Not an ideal experience!"  - Carlo Lang, Company Accountant

 

Solution

Solving for mobile and remote workforces in harsh environments
We built Spoke Phone for companies exactly like the Stan Semenoff Group. Companies that have some folks in the back office, and some folks out in the field.  Moreover, we built Spoke to accommodate the harsh environments that the Stan Semenoff Group find themselves operating in. 

Some of the employees sit in offices and have good WiFi or 4G data, and some have no access to WiFi or good cellular data, yet they still need to be part of the communications system.

Spoke is unique in that it works in two modes to provide high quality calls to employees in every environment:

  • HD calling (VoIP) for when you’ve got great WiFi or 4G data, and;
  • Carrier calling mode that uses your carrier’s voice network for when your data signal is not so good

Call_Quality_Carrier_Mode

Spoke's ability to work in both VoIP and cellular calling modes is key in solving the remote communication problems faced by the business.

Real-time communication
Sometimes the simplest things make biggest differences. Spoke's employee directory allows employees to call each other in a tap, making getting hold of people when you need them easy and quick. 

Spoke_directory

Warm-transfer provides a great customer experience
When customers call in you are able to easily transfer them to other employees, and provide callers with a great experience - even if you're on your mobile phone.

Before you transfer the call you can see which employees are available to talk (the green light beside their name). 

You can put the caller on hold while you have a private chat with your teammate to bring them up to speed before connecting in the caller. You can connect the caller and leave, or stay on the line and have a three way conversation.

This one feature solves a number of issues that were previously impossible to do once calls were forwarded to your mobile phone.

spoke_warm_transfer

 

Outcomes

The Stan Semenoff Group replaced their old PBX phone system, hardware, and wires,  with Spoke Phone, and are now making significant savings on a monthly basis. They got to keep their old numbers, and the entire project took less than five days from trial to go-live.

"Spoke has won us over with their easy setup process, no long-term contract option, both office and mobile connectivity options, NZ based friendly staff and support, and last but not least, the financial savings we were able to make compared to our last phone setup." - Carlo Lang, Company Accountant

 

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