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UC Retail Case Study in Focus: RingCentral and O’Brien Fine Foods 

UC Retail Case Study in Focus: RingCentral and O’Brien Fine Foods 

Staying ahead of the curve in today’s unpredictable retail market is easier said than done. Even for industry-leading companies with a strong presence in their chosen market, there are concerns to overcome, particularly during periods of growth.

As companies begin to evolve, they face an ever-increasing array of challenges, from problems with supply chains to issues keeping employees connected. Communication systems which once worked for a smaller company can quickly lead to inconsistencies and productivity problems as businesses develop. That’s why it’s so important to have an agile environment in place.

One of the top producers of cooked meat products in Ireland, O’Brien Fine Foods, found itself struggling to overcome a range of issues in recent years. Fortunately, by working with RingCentral to build a cloud-based solution for communications, O’Brien was able to evolve rapidly.

Here’s what happened when O’Brien sought out the assistance of RingCentral.

A Heritage Business Ready for Evolution

O’Brien Fine Foods is one of the most respected food retailers in Ireland and one of the top suppliers of many of the country’s most respected food retailers. The company employs more than 500 people across three separate offices, warehousing, and production locations. Although it’s always been a family-run business at heart, O’Brien Fine Foods has grown on a massive scale in recent years.

Unfortunately, as the organization continued to develop its position as a world-class food production business, its telecommunications system struggled to keep up with demand. According to the Infrastructure Manager for the brand, Eoghan Fitzgibbon, every time the company introduced a new location, it needed to separate the on-site PBX system.

The problem with this strategy is that O’Brien Fine Foods quickly ended up with three different PBX systems throughout the business, none of which connected to the rest of the business. Calling across locations, or simply transferring an inbound call to another site became a significant issue.

Cross-site communications weren’t the only problem for the legacy phone strategy either. Because all of the communications in the business were limited to landline and desk phone connections, the staff faced significant limitations in their ability to communicate away from the desk.

Eoghan noted employees were struggling with a lack of access to instant communication strategies when they were on the move, walking the warehouse or production floor. The old system, with its desk-bound phones, lacked the mobility the team needed.

An Ever-Increasing Range of Communication Issues

As O’Brien Fine Foods continued to evolve, more challenges with the communications strategy became evident. Several of the sites were located in rural, remote areas of Ireland, and the company frequently suffered from phone outages which lasted days or weeks. In one December, one of the busiest times of the year for the company, the phone systems went down for a significant length of time, leading to lost orders.

When the pandemic hit in 2020 and lockdowns went into effect, O’Brien Fine Foods was quickly identified as an “essential business”, and its facilities were able to continue operating. However, many of the company’s office-based employees still needed to transition to remote work.

With the legacy phone system being tied specifically to offices, the company struggled to stay connected with customers and suppliers with growing demands during the pandemic. Desk-bound employees were forced to use their own phones to take business calls, and the IT team struggled to support staff members with technical issues in a distributed environment.

For O’Brien Fine Foods, the only option was to upgrade to a new form of communication. That’s where RingCentral came in. The cloud-based solution offered by RingCentral provided O’Brien Fine Foods with a comprehensive phone system employees could use anywhere, from any device, whether it was a laptop, desktop, or smartphone.

Sales reps were able to start taking and making customer calls from home using their business number. What’s more, because RingCentral offers direct-dial extensions for every number, it was easier for the company to reach any employee at any location using the softphone app.

A New Era of Communication

The wide range of phone usage requirements O’Brien Fine Foods needed to consider when choosing a new communications provider meant other solutions simply wouldn’t have been cost-effective. However, RingCentral turned out to be a no-brainer. The company could ensure that anyone who needed a business phone number had one while pooling minutes across the company.

O’Brien Fine Foods also had several suppliers and customers outside of Ireland to consider, which meant in the past, they had to deal with extraordinarily large telecommunication bills. However, because international calls through RingCentral receive the same billing as local calls, the company has achieved fantastic cost savings.

According to Eoghan, it’s fantastic for the company to have a level of predictability for their budget going forward, particularly in unpredictable times. RingCentral also helped O’Brien Fine Foods to save money on its telecommunications bills in another way. Eoghan noted that the mobile signal for one of the company’s production facilities is often quite poor due to its rural location.

However, because RingCentral could offer full phone functionality via a mobile app with any internet device, the team was able to access a stronger Wi-Fi connection and better experiences for employees. Thanks to RingCentral, the business was able to avoid a massive capital expenditure which might otherwise have been required to improve mobile signals at their production site.

Ultimately, working with RingCentral has allowed O’Brien Fine Foods to save money on a wide range of telecommunication bills and overcome many of the issues associated with keeping teams connected. The staff members for the company are now more empowered, informed, and aligned. Plus, they have the freedom to work with a higher level of mobility and freedom.

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