The team at SL Consulting delivers advanced software solutions within the process manufacturing sector – and just like their customers, they rely on smart technology and reliable partners to keep their own operations running smoothly. This includes the cloud-based phone system they utilize daily.
Few consumers think about the complex solutions required to bring food, beverages or pharmaceuticals efficiently to market. But the software engineers at SL Consulting make it their business. “If a customer is having a problem, we go in and check the process,” says CEO Ignacio Lizardi. “And we customize and tailor a full solution that may involve logistics, forecasting, inventory management, scheduling, planning, production, and everything in between.” To serve customers successfully, Lizardi relies on an experienced workforce distributed across cities in the U.S. and Latin America – a model that gives the company easier access to customers, and one that ultimately allows Lizardi to hire quality employees wherever they happen to live. So, how does he keep his distributed workforce in sync, even when they’re traveling?
Lizardi credits much of his company’s success to employing top software engineers that fit the company’s culture of collaboration, fast response, and superior service. SL Consulting serves a portfolio of large and complex corporations across several geographies – maintaining very productive, high-touch relationships with its customers. “Customers love working with us because we take care of them,” Lizardi says. “We care about them and we want them to be successful.”
With early success of his own company, Lizardi faced the challenge of strategically growing and scaling the company while containing costs and maintaining a high level of service. He had access to many talented engineers and programmers, but couldn’t justify the expense and logistics of moving them to the home office in Atlanta. Also, on the service front, SL’s customers were widely dispersed across the U.S., Latin America and Canada – so the prospect of mounting huge travel expenses to provide on-site service was daunting. Lizardi and his team had to find a solution that would allow employees to work remotely the majority of time, without losing the all-important collaboration and easy connectivity with customers.
For SL Consulting, the key to seamless growth and uncompromised service rested in reliable cloud-based technology, including the Vonage Business phone system.
Lizardi began hiring quality talent in multiple cities, with the plan of allowing employees to work remotely at home or in small offices in their home towns. Now, his team extends from the home office in Atlanta to locations across the U.S. and Latin America. “Because Vonage allows us to have phones here and seamlessly in Mexico or any other location,” Lizardi continues, “we can have our people there and have our extensions without a problem – and communicate with them as if they were here.” He finds it easy and inexpensive to add new phone extensions when new employees are hired, which he does through the Admin Portal.
The Vonage® MobileConnect app has been critical in keeping his dispersed team tied together seamlessly and serving customers. When employees use the mobile app, they maintain a clear business presence since Caller ID shows calls coming from the business rather than the individual’s private line. The app is integrated with the full phone system, so employees have access to the rich calling features they enjoy on their office desk phones. As Lizardi is well aware, mobile integration is available only through cloud-hosted phone systems and not with traditional systems. And it’s obvious he’s sold on the advantages Vonage MobileConnect delivers: “Whenever I travel, I use the mobile app,” he says. “If someone calls the office, even if I’m in Europe, I don’t lose the call since it comes to my extension – it forwards it to my cell phone.”
The choice of a cloud-hosted phone system was an obvious one for the tech-savvy team at SL Consulting. Lizardi offered this perspective: “The biggest difference between a cloud-based system and a traditional line system is the fact that you can take your office phone home and plug it in – and it works. The traditional line doesn’t do that. The other difference is reliability. The cloud base is hosted, in this case, by Vonage which is a very large company. They have clusters of servers which are very safe. So, reliability is important for us to make sure that our customers can reach us.”
The Vonage Business system has enabled SL Consulting to both manage growth and contain costs. With such a dispersed workforce, the cost of setting up a traditional system in multiple locations was both cost prohibitive and impractical. Also, with cloud hosting, employees maintain a consistent business presence with customers wherever they work – which has also saved the company a great deal on travel expenses. “Vonage has helped our business because it allows us to have employees and resources in many places,” says Lizardi. “We can have a person anywhere we want and that person is reachable by phone, which is really important.”
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