Employee-owned Douglas Machine, Inc. is a manufacturer of custom, semi-custom and standard integrated packaging equipment. Founded in 1964, the growing Alexandria, Minnesota company has 575 employees serving customers around the world.
A few years back, Douglas Machine found itself at a crossroads. Its aging phone system was due for a technology refresh – something the company does periodically with all its systems to assure it remains a market leader in its industry – while business needs demanded new capabilities that hadn’t even been dreamed of when the old phone system was installed.
“We really wanted to move from traditional copper to a VoIP system,” says Al Meyers, director of information systems at Douglas Machine. “The nature of our business drives a lot of adds, moves and changes. We knew that a VoIP platform would help us react to those changes much faster and at a lower cost.”
Among other capabilities Meyers says the company wanted to incorporate caller ID, the ability to track placed and missed calls and (eventually) unified communications. After further investigation, however, Douglas Machine realized a move to VoIP would entail more than installing one phone system and turning off the other.
“In order to accommodate the higher bandwidth required by VoIP we would have to make a number of infrastructure upgrades,” Meyers says. “We also wanted to add Power over Ethernet (PoE), and increase the capacity of our wireless network to provide customers and vendors access to the outside when they’re on-premises.”