Making the Switch to VoIP
In the March 2003 Inc article, "Good Call," Hamon Corp.'s move to voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) helped the company more effectively -- and affordably -- handle intracompany calls. Though the Somerville, N.J., manufacturer's switch went off with nary a hitch, it's not always that seamless.
Craft Diston Industries, a shower-door manufacturer in Wichita, Kan., first tried a VoIP system in 1999, hoping to cut the cost of calls between headquarters and 10 factories and distribution centers scattered throughout the United States. That initial system, which happened to be from AltiGen, ( http://www.altigen.com), a maker of Internet phone systems in Fremont, Calif., "was pretty rough," CFO Michael Gayeski recalls.
Calls echoed or faded or cut out; sometimes transmission was so slow that callers' sentences overlapped. Craft Diston quickly switched to another vendor's system, which also ultimately failed. Still desperate to control telecom costs, Craft Diston decided to give AltiGen one more chance, after the phone-system business assured its former customer that it had corrected all the quality problems.
The result? "It's 10 times improved," says Gayeski of the new system, which was installed in mid-2002. "No problems whatsoever." The 240-employee company, which had about $30 million in sales last year, now saves more than $9,000 a month on its phone bills. IT director Jesse Santana calls the system simple to use because it works on the familiar Windows NT network and doesn't require any special training or equipment.