Medway Plastic Corporation Saves Time & Cut Costs with Microsoft Conferencing Solution: Case Study


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Medway Plastic Corporation Saves Time & Cut Costs with Microsoft Conferencing Solution: Case Study

  1. 1. Microsoft Office System Customer Solution Case Study Injection-Molding Innovator Saves Time, Cuts Costs with Conferencing Solution Overview “With Live Meeting, we can bring together text, video Country or Region: United States Industry: Manufacturing―Plastics and other images, and the voices and faces of fellow conference goers in a way that can really help an Customer Profile Medway Plastics/Plastics Fabrication audience to understand what we’re talking about.” Technologies (MEDWAY/PFT) is a Jay Magness, IT Consultant, Plastics Fabrication Technologies, MEDWAY/PFT California-based custom-injection-molding company with an affiliated research arm in Medway Plastics/Plastics Fabrication Technologies (MEDWAY/PFT), the United Kingdom. Combined, the companies have 200 employees. a world leader in custom injection molding and tooling, needed a better way to communicate with affiliates, suppliers, and Business Situation MEDWAY/PFT needed a conferencing customers. The company tried a third-party video conferencing solution to demonstrate parts and solution, but had problems related to software compatibility, processes to its affiliates, suppliers, and customers, but third-party video and Web firewalls, and Internet-connection speed. The company then tried a conferencing solutions were costly, third-party Web conferencing solution, but it proved impractical and cumbersome, and unreliable. costly. So MEDWAY/PFT deployed a conferencing solution based on Solution Microsoft® Office Live Meeting and the Microsoft RoundTable™ The company deployed Microsoft® Office Live Meeting and the Microsoft conferencing and collaboration device. As a result, the company RoundTable™ conferencing and has reduced costs for traveling and for shipping parts for collaboration device to its affiliates and selected suppliers and customers. demonstrations by 50 percent, time-to-market by up to 60 percent, and time to close sales by 30 percent, and is saving U.S.$3,000 per Benefits  Travel costs down by 50 percent user in annual software licensing and maintenance costs.  Demonstration shipping costs down by 50 percent  Time-to-market faster by up to 60 percent  Sales closing faster by 30 percent  Sales-closing time down by 30 percent
  2. 2. “New hires for positions Situation the company provided suppliers and Founded in 1974 and based in Long Beach, customers with portable computers that were ranging from machine California, Medway Plastics/Plastics enabled with Sprint EV-DO and that could be operators to managers Fabrication Technologies (MEDWAY/PFT) is connected to a projector for viewing slides. part of an affiliated group of companies that have received Live also includes Advanced Plastics This approach was problematic, however, in Meeting very well, with Technologies, which is based in the United that it required the consistent support of Kingdom. In the world of custom injection suppliers’ and customers’ IT departments. lots of ‘oohs’ and molding and tooling, MEDWAY/PFT is These departments were responsible for ‘ahhs.’” primarily a research operation, whose ensuring the compatibility of proprietary scientists and engineers work with software on which the system depended; for Jay Magness, IT Consultant, Plastics manufacturers to generate new processes. opening ports when needed; and for ensuring Fabrication Technologies, MEDWAY/PFT One such process involves the innovation of a secure, high-speed Internet connection. packaging in a market that constitutes 30 Even then, communications were difficult, percent of all beverage bottles produced in because the software needed greater the world. upstream bandwidth than what was available, even with EV-DO. Typical of its industry, MEDWAY/PFT faces the ongoing challenge of how to maintain In an attempt to remedy these problems, efficient communication with suppliers and MEDWAY/PFT deployed a third-party Web customers around the world. The company conferencing solution. But it, too, proved feels this challenge most keenly when impractical because of cost and reliability communications involve demonstrations of issues. objects that must be viewed in great detail. MEDWAY/PFT needed a way to share highly Consider, for example, a critical conference visual information without shipping parts, involving a problem or question related to a sending employees across the globe, or mold design. Prototype frames must be having to rely on complex and unreliable shipped between MEDWAY/PFT and software solutions. manufacturers in China, engineers must travel between the company’s various Solution affiliates or to manufacturer or customer When Jay Magness, IT Consultant for Medway sites, and so on. This process often involves Plastics, and his colleagues learned about development and manufacturing delays while the full video support that was available in parts are in transit, and always involves out- the upcoming 2007 version of the Microsoft® of-pocket expenses and lowered productivity Office Live Meeting Web conferencing while employees are traveling. service, they evaluated that product as a potential replacement for the earlier MEDWAY/PFT tried to overcome these solutions. They were satisfied with the challenges by incorporating slides of service’s video capabilities and its integration photographs or drawings into videos and with Microsoft Office Live Communications displaying them through an online Server 2005 and other Microsoft software conferencing system. As part of this system, products. They were also happy with the
  3. 3. “Thanks to the quality of the Microsoft RoundTable™ slide, and anyone who is connected through integration of Live conferencing and collaboration device. Magness and his colleagues decided to Live Meeting can see details at 100 times the magnification.” Meeting with other deploy Office Live Meeting into their Microsoft products, we companies. As of late 2007, about 50 employees are regular users of the Office Live Meeting no longer need the third- After installing HP TouchSmart computers at solution. Magness expects this number to party Web conferencing offices of its affiliates and selected suppliers and customers, Magness’s team deployed double early in 2008. software and, Office Live Meeting in a single day. The team Benefits consequently, are saving subsequently incorporated the service into a comprehensive video and online The combination of the Office Live Meeting service and the RoundTable device provides $3,000 per user in conferencing solution that includes the MEDWAY/PFT with a “one-stop shop” Web- annual licensing and RoundTable device, a Sony UX handheld computer, and a Sprint EV-DO network. The conferencing solution, according to Magness. “With this solution, we can bring together maintenance costs.” solution also includes Sprint EV-DO cellular text, video and other images, and the voices cards for users in locations not served by and faces of fellow conference goers in a way Jay Magness, IT Consultant, Plastics wireless so as to reconcile transmission and that can really help an audience to Fabrication Technologies, MEDWAY/PFT receipt speed differences and avoid potential understand what we’re talking about,” he problems with ports and firewalls. says. “For the first time ever, we can do video conferencing from anywhere and realize According to Magness, the team encountered benefits in cost, productivity, usability, and no significant challenges during deployment. time-to-market.” “Our rapid deployment of this service demonstrated a central benefit of using a Lower Costs, Higher Productivity hosted service: the simplicity of getting the As Magness explains, with the Office Live solution up and running,” he says. Meeting solution, MEDWAY/PFT is more visible and available to its affiliates, Today, MEDWAY/PFT employees use Office suppliers, and customers while spending far Live Meeting frequently for conferencing with less time and money on transporting parts affiliates, suppliers, and customers. No and people. longer limited to locations that have a functioning PVX connection, anyone at “With Live Meeting, we’ve reduced the need MEDWAY/PFT can hold a conference from for shipping parts overseas for the sole practically anywhere, with any affiliate, purpose of in-conference demonstrations, supplier, or customer to which the solution saving 50 percent of such costs over what we has been deployed. spent the prior year,” Magness points out. “Similarly, we’ve reduced the need for people “In the lab, for example, a digital microscope to attend many such conferences in person, is connected to a computer for Live Meeting saving 50 percent of travel costs and cutting conferences that require observation of the productivity losses that are inevitable minute detail of a given part,” Magness when individuals must travel long distances.” explains. “We just pop it to the screen on a
  4. 4. “We’ve reduced the To cite just one example, Magness tells of a Live Meeting conference during which a team Whether Office Live Meeting is used for a need for people to of engineers discussed a highly detailed conference call, training, or other event, attend many such manufacturing process. “In the past, such a users especially like the RoundTable conference would have required us to fly in component of the solution, Magness adds. conferences in person, 10 people from all over the world,” he says. “The RoundTable unit functions well right out saving 50 percent of “With the Live Meeting solution, all 10 of of the box; the voice-detection technology is them attended, but only one had to do so in excellent, and so are the sound quality and travel costs and cutting person.” integration with Live Meeting,” he says. the productivity losses “Consequently, we see RoundTable as key in Additional cost savings come on the IT side, encouraging our customers to adopt Live that are inevitable when as a result of the comprehensive integration Meeting.” individuals must travel of Office Live Meeting with the Microsoft Office Outlook® messaging and collaboration Faster Decisions, Time-to-Market long distances.” client and other Microsoft technologies. With Office Live Meeting, MEDWAY/PFT is Jay Magness, IT Consultant, Plastics “Thanks to the integration of Live Meeting saving not just money, but also time. In Fabrication Technologies, MEDWAY/PFT with other Microsoft products, we no longer product development, for example, a model need the third-party Web conferencing or part for a conference review can be software and, consequently, are saving “delivered” in the time that is required for $3,000 per user in annual licensing and setting up and spotlighting the part for the maintenance costs.” live video that will stream across the Office Live Meeting connection—about 20 minutes. Versatile, User-Friendly Solution Still more savings come from the versatility of “In the past, when that part had to be the Office Live Meeting solution. Magness shipped, usually overseas, the delay could be himself has taken advantage of that up to four days,” Magness notes. “That’s four versatility by conducting conferences from his days saved on just one decision—thanks to motor home and even while on a visit to the Live Meeting—of maybe dozens that need to beach. “The solution is so easy to access that be made over the course of development, a participant’s location or setting is accelerating time-to-market by up to 60 irrelevant,” he points out. “As a result, we are percent.” using the solution at least once each week for international video conference calls.” The Office Live Meeting solution can expedite matters similarly on the sales side. “By using The Office Live Meeting solution is equally Live Meeting for conferencing with customers useful for internal training. “New hires for who are considering a purchase, MEDWAY/ positions ranging from machine operators to PFT will close sales up to 30 percent faster,” managers have received Live Meeting very Magness says. “And whether we are using well, with lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs,’” Magness the solution in a development or sales reports. “As a result, we expect to replace a capacity, with or without audio and video, significant amount of in-person training, communications are rapid and clear, with no reducing yearly travel costs and lost issues whatsoever surrounding bandwidth.” productivity by half.”
  5. 5. For More Information Continued Tradition of Innovation Microsoft Office System For more information about Microsoft As far as Magness is concerned, having both The Microsoft Office system is the business products and services, call the Microsoft Office Live Meeting and RoundTable deployed world’s chosen environment for information Sales Information Center at (800) in such a successful solution represents “just work, providing the programs, servers, and 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft the start” of what he and his colleagues will services that help you succeed by Canada Information Centre at (877) do with real-time unified-communications transforming information into impact. 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or technology at MEDWAY/PFT. For example, hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text they are incorporating RoundTable into a For more information about the Microsoft telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) manufacturing-support solution. They also Office system, go to: 892-5234 in the United States or (905) are planning to use Office Live Meeting in a 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 unified-messaging system with EV-DO for United States and Canada, please contact wireless connectivity. your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go Such work fits in smoothly with an ongoing to: tradition of innovation at MEDWAY/PFT. “Our biggest asset outside of our employees is our For more information about MEDWAY/PFT technology,” Magness says. “With the products and services, call (562) deployment of Live Meeting and the 685-8160 or visit the Web site at: RoundTable device, and active plans for the or deployment of unified messaging, we’ll remain on the forefront of using that technology to the benefit of our affiliates, our suppliers, and our customers.” Software and Services Hardware  Microsoft Office  Microsoft RoundTable − Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 − Microsoft Office Live Meeting − Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published October 2007