Spectralink answers Cape Grim Beef’s call for communications infrastructure

Cape Grim Beef, a sixth-generation family business that processes high-quality beef for export, put out a call for better communications infrastructure. Intellect IT answered.

Cape Grim Beef is headquartered in Port Melbourne and has two processing facilities, one in Smithton, Tasmania and the other in Tongala, Victoria.

Communication within the business is vital to ensure a rapid response to market demands and changes. It is also important due to occupational health and safety (OH&S) considerations, since the processing facilities include some high-risk workspaces.

In an emergency it would be critical to be able to contact the first aid team or emergency services as quickly as possible.

Effective communication was hindered in the past due to an out-dated, switchboard-based ­telephone system and a network of two-way radios.

The process was unwieldy and meant communication was inefficient. This resulted in frustration amongst staff and could result in delays in making important decisions regarding customer orders, shipping, labelling and more.

Connecting employees

To overcome these challenges Cape Grim Beef installed a new IP PBX linking all three sites, as well as Spectralink IP-DECT 6500 servers and 45 x Spectralink 7620 industrial handsets at the two processing facilities.

Cape Grim Beef worked with long-time outsourced IT partner, Intellect Information Technology, with which the organisation had a longstanding relationship.

Grant Ryan, managing director, Cape Grim Beef said, “Intellect IT presented the solution and we saw a demonstration of how it would work. We liked it immediately because we could see that it would make communication more efficient throughout the organisation.

“The biggest problem was not being able to directly contact people at our facilities, and there was no ability to do conference calls, which meant that discussing issues and making decisions was more challenging than it should have been.

“Now, when a member of the sales team wants to speak with a production facility to confirm quantities, specifications, delivery times and costs, they can directly dial the relevant person, conference someone else in if necessary, confirm all the details and get on with fulfilling the customer’s needs. It all happens a lot faster and more reliably than in the past, which has let Cape Grim Beef improve customer service.”

The Smithton site is made up of a number of different buildings in a regional area of Tasmania, so mobile phone coverage is sporadic and even the two-way radios did not always work reliably. This could become a problem if decisions needed to be made quickly.

Robert Cox, Smithton site manager, Cape Grim Beef said, “Recently there was an issue in the US and shipments…were being held up. Head office decided to change the production schedule and divert product to a different location.

“It was critical that the production facility could get this message as soon as possible so that we could make the necessary changes to production, as well as apply for the proper permits and paperwork to enable the change in destination for the product.

“Without the Spectralink telephones, this process would have taken a long time and there may have been the potential for errors to be made as messages were passed on. With the Spectralink system we were able to get the right information to the right people right away, and respond to the changing conditions effectively.”

Additional benefits of the new phone system include a more efficient approach to maintenance and easier compliance with OH&S requirements.

Robust handsets

The Cape Grim Beef processing plants are a harsh environment with concrete and steel surfaces, some very hot areas and some very cold areas, as well as a lot of liquids. The Spectralink 7620 phones are specifically designed to cope with these conditions.

Robert Cox said, “I have seen a number of the phones dropped accidentally but so far we have had no issue with any of them; they are very tough.

“The phones work just as well in the freezer units or boning rooms as they do in between buildings…because Intellect IT placed the repeaters and base stations in strategic areas to maximise the amount of coverage.”

Importantly, the introduction of the Spectralink wireless phones has improved communication throughout the organisation.

Grant Ryan said, “Being able to contact each other so easily and quickly has really brought people together and they feel that they are working very effectively as a team. You just dial an extension and speak to the person you need.”