The company is headquartered in Boise, Idaho, and has three
processing facilities in Idaho and two distribution facilities in Oregon.
While all one company, the six facilities had disparate phone systems,
some of which were 20 years old or more. Because each facility had
a different standalone voice system, it was very difficult to manage
Adding to the difficulty was the number of vendors involved
in servicing the six systems. Black Box had serviced the corporate
headquarters and one of the plants for many years. A second long-
time vendor serviced two other processing facilities. The remaining
two facilities were serviced by two different vendors.
A few years ago, Gene Thomas, Factory Accounting Manager
at the Nampa, ID facility, and Kerry Smedley, IS Manager at the
company’s headquarters, decided it was time to upgrade the entire
company to one system. The company was spending too much time
and money trying to maintain aging equipment.
“We were already utilizing current technology to connect our
numerous locations, so it made sense to investigate how we might
do the same thing with our voice communications,” said Mr. Thomas.
“Because the phone systems at five of the six locations were old and
obsolete, the timing was right for us to explore how this could be
The entire enterprise communications system was at the end of
its productive life cycle and needed to be replaced, except for some
select analog communications devices. The Amalgamated project
team reached out to Black Box and other vendors for potential
solutions, budgets, and implementation strategies. The team put
together a list of must-have requirements for the new VoIP system.
“We were looking for a complete VoIP system with a proven
record at a reasonable cost,” said Mr. Smedley. ”We felt like some
of the other systems we looked at were still using older technology.”
The top priorities were:
• Simplified administration and maintenance.
• Reduced expenses for MACs.
• Simplified system upgrades.
Other requirements included:
• Uniform in-house dialing.
• Enhanced system performance.
• Survivability and reliability.
• Easy expandability to new locations.
• Accommodate growth easily.
• Improve user productivity via new applications and mobility.
• Extend core features and functionality to all locations.
• Have a single source for service/troubleshooting