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Case Study: MyFax Keeps Client Faxing Post-VoIP Migration

While remote or satellite offices are not a new concept, until the last few years, they were primarily reserved for functions such as creating a local sales office for companies selling nationally or internationally. Core functions, such as product design, accounting, marketing and corporate management were reserved for those operating out of the headquarters office.

The advent of ubiquitous computing generally, and the Internet in particular, changed all of that. Suddenly working with a fellow employee in another town or state became as easy as working with one in the next office. It has been a game-changer for many organizations, allowing them to keep employees on-staff who in the past would have had to leave the company due to relocation as well as to hire people with particular skills regardless of where they live. As more organizations adopt advanced technologies such as VoIP, the line between headquarters and satellite offices blurs even further.

One area where the transition hasn’t been so smooth for many organizations, however, has been faxing. Organizations that still rely on faxes (such as many manufacturing and retail operations) for at least a portion of their business communications are finding that their old fax machines are increasingly incompatible with their new business model.

Client

Bergeron Companies is the parent organization for a group of companies that manufacture and sell various forms of seating for infants, toddlers and young children. Included under the Bergeron Companies umbrella are AdaptiveMall.com, an Internet retail site offering a variety of products designed specifically for special needs children; Special Tomato, a designer and manufacturer of positioning products from individual cushions to complete strollers for special needs children; and Keekaroo, which designs and manufactures furniture and cushioning for typical development infants. Founded in 1998, the privately held company’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities are in Dolgeville in upstate New York. Bergeron Companies also has five satellite offices focused on areas such as marketing, sales and product design.

Challenge

In 1998, Tim Bergeron founded AdapativeMall.com to provide a one-stop shop for furniture, pads, strollers, clothing, suppliers and other items for special needs children. The company grew quickly and became a destination site for parents, therapists, teachers, clinics and others. Along with that growth came more employees including his son Jamie and his daughter Katie Bergeron Peglow. With the business in good hands, Tim Bergeron made a decision to return to his true passion – designing and manufacturing innovative products. That decision resulted in the founding of both Special Tomato and Keekaroo.

While the expansion of the three organizations under the Bergeron Companies umbrella was swift, it wasn’t without challenges. One of the biggest came when the circumstances of some of the key contributors to the growth dictated they move away from the headquarters in Dolgeville.

“We had put together a great team and things were going well,” said Peglow, the company’s COO. “But nothing ever stays the same. A couple of people had things going on in their lives that required them to move away. Rather than lose their contributions, we decided we needed to find a way to keep them on staff. There were also a couple of people whose talents we wanted to bring in that didn’t live in the area, so we made the decision to open some satellite offices.”

For the most part, the same Internet technology that fueled AdaptiveMall.com made working between the main and remote offices relatively seamless. When the company made the decision to switch from standard telephone service to VoIP softphones, however, it created a dilemma: how to deal with faxes.

“Once we made the switch to VoIP, we were going to pull out the phone lines in the remote offices,” Peglow said. “That meant the fax machines wouldn’t work anymore.”

Peglow herself said she sends and receives roughly 15 to 20 faxed pages a week. It could be a document for the company’s 401(k) that requires her signature. It could be notice of a change in government regulations for the products they sell specs for a special product or even a sales order. Whatever the document, she says, it was critical that Bergeron Companies still have faxing capabilities in all its offices.

Selecting an Internet fax service appeared to be the answer. Peglow certainly had some familiarity with the technology since she had used one in the past, although she had been dissatisfied with its performance and the customer service the company provided. Realizing that was a function of the company and not the concept, she set out to find an Internet fax service that could not only provide the technical aspects but also placed the same premium on outstanding customer service that her own organization did.

Solution

That search led her to MyFax. It turned out to be everything she’d hoped to get out of an Internet fax service.

“MyFax has made sending and receiving faxes very easy,” Peglow said. “When someone sends me a fax it goes straight to my e-mail inbox. If I need to forward it to someone else, I can do it as easily as I would any other e-mail, and it doesn’t lose a generation the way it used to when documents were bouncing from fax machine to fax machine. I can even add a comment if needed. It’s everything we hoped it would be.”

Forwarding faxes also works in reverse. Occasionally, documents that require Peglow’s attention or approval, such as information from suppliers, are faxed to the headquarters office. Prior to MyFax, the main office would have to mail the faxes to her, creating delays in processing. Now when that happens, someone at the main office will re-send the fax to her so she can deal with it more efficiently.

Originally Peglow was focused on getting faxes to the remote offices; but since signing up four years ago, she has found MyFax gives the company a lot more freedom when faxing.

“If I’m on vacation or my husband is on a sales trip and something comes up that needs to be taken care of, MyFax makes it easy,” she said. “As long as there’s an Internet connection available you can keep things moving. For a small company like ours, that’s important.”

Results

The biggest issue MyFax solved, of course, was providing the ability to send and receive faxes when Bergeron Companies made the switch to VoIP. Since that time, though, the company has discovered additional benefits.

“The lowered cost is one,” Peglow said. “We’re not paying for fax machines that need to be replaced every year or so, or dedicated phone lines and toner for them. We’ve greatly reduced our paper costs too since we only print the documents that absolutely have to be printed.”

MyFax also has helped Bergeron Companies work more efficiently. In addition to being easy to forward, the electronic format of the documents means they can be stored on the company’s servers and searched if necessary. In addition, two or three people in different offices can open the same fax and look at it should a discussion become necessary.

“We’ve been with MyFax for four years,” Peglow said. “That says a lot about what we think of the service, and how important it is to our business.”


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