Quebec-based paper products company Cascades was green decades before it was cool to be so.
In the late 1950s, three brothers recognized an opportunity to reuse and recycle materials. Today, Cascades produces everything from consumer paper products to cardboard boxes to specialized packaging for the food industry, and employs 11,000 people across 100 North American locations.
In recent years, Cascades embarked on an initiative to update its operations. Every business unit would move to more efficient processes and technologies, and from independent units to a more unified company.
“We had to adapt to the market and our clients’ needs,” said Dany Briard, IT Manager, Infrastructure—Operations & Security. “And to do that, we needed to bring our people closer together.”
Briard and the rest of the infrastructure team knew that none of this would be possible without unified communications. Specifically, they had to upgrade and consolidate the many disparate voice systems collected through acquisitions—some of which were older than their youngest employees.
The need for change hit home for Briard when, on vacation, he happened to see one of the company’s phone systems—as an example of vintage technology at a museum.
“I sent a message to my CIO with a picture, saying, ‘I think it’s time for a change!’” he said.
We have worked hard and accomplished a lot in enhancing our collaboration, and we are now in a position to be more focused on our internal customers— to help our employees meet their needs and goals.
IT Manager, Infrastructure – Operations & Security
Goal: A Seamless User Experience
Cascades began with an audit of its current voice landline infrastructure—with eye-opening findings. External auditors uncovered numerous opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce cost—adding up to millions. Purchasing versus leasing voice systems would save money, while SIP trunking would dramatically reduce the number of lines needed.
The company evaluated half a dozen solutions and brought representatives from each to Cascades facilities to understand their unique needs. Ultimately, Cascades chose Avaya for its mix of capabilities, reliability, ease of use and integration with the company’s Microsoft Office365 Collaboration Suite.
“Avaya stepped up with an integrated solution that addressed what Cascades was looking for,” Briard said. “Avaya was the only one that could integrate well with Office365 to provide a seamless experience for our users.”
A Flawless Rollout—Mission Accomplished
Avaya knows how to make large deployments a success. Our engineers teamed with those from business partner Connex, and Cascades embarked on a phased rollout across 80 business units. First they worked out the kinks at their campus location in Kingsey Falls, Quebec, which includes the headquarters offices, manufacturing and services facilities. Then they continued the upgrade across locations at an impressive clip of one new business unit each week.
Cascades trained everyone on Avaya solutions remotely via video training sessions. Then when it was time to cut over at each site, they did so during lunch—with no downtime.
Throughout the upgrade, Connex and Avaya engineers were there to ensure it progressed smoothly.
“The Cascades upper management committee was very clear about the companywide upgrade not disrupting operations,” Briard said. “It was very important that the overall experience be, as much as possible, seamless with the new collaboration tools. We can say, ‘mission accomplished.’”
Anytime, Anywhere Communication
Today, “Cascaders” have fully embraced new capabilities that allow them to communicate and collaborate more easily. Whether in the office, traveling or at home, they can log into our system to make calls using a traditional phone, softphone or mobile device.
At the same time, Cascaders are reachable on all their devices, if they choose, via a single five-digit extension. That effectively makes every call local and eliminates long-distance charges for intra-company calls.
With a focus on customer service, Cascades has always required live answers on calls. But for receptionists busy with other tasks, answering could previously consume the day.
Now, the company has moved to SIP trunking, making it cost-effective to assign an extension to every employee and opening up direct calling right to Cascaders. Receptionists can now focus their time on other tasks instead of on answering and routing calls. Meanwhile, customers and suppliers reach the intended employees directly.
Localizing Caller ID across 100 Sites
Localized calling was critical for day-to-day business activities and in the case of emergencies. Avaya had the technology to make it happen.
“If someone in a mill orders pizza for lunch, it needs to be handled as a local call, not a long distance call from Montreal,” Briard said. “And we had to ensure that when employees in Kingman, Arizona called 911, it would appear correctly as Kingman, Arizona and not Quebec.”
To address these concerns, Connex and Avaya configured the system for accurate caller ID at every site.
Empowered to Elevate Service
Avaya succeeded in helping Cascades consolidate unified communications across all locations with Avaya IX™ Workplace.
“Cascades now has a fully centralized solution in a managed service mode, which eases system upgrades and maintenance,” Briard said. “This setup allows Cascades to focus on value-added tasks to support its internal customers.”
As a result, Cascades eliminated costly leases, cut long-distance expenses, and began leveraging the Avaya platform for conferencing rather than paying for pricey third-party conferencing services.
In total, the company realized substantial savings with the move to Avaya. And within five years, the upgrade will have paid for itself.
Beyond that, Cascades empowers its people to be more productive and collaborative, which elevates employee and customer satisfaction.
“We have worked hard and accomplished a lot in enhancing our collaboration, and we are now more in a position to be more customer-centric and to help our customers meet their needs and goals,” Briard said.