Design Air

Located in Kimberly, Wisconsin, Design Air was founded in 1972 and serves licensed HVAC contractors from its eight locations in Wisconsin, upper Michigan, eastern Minnesota and northern Illinois. The company provides wholesale services for residential and light commercial Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) solutions that includes a team of HVAC professionals and design engineers.

As the company continued to grow, the previous phone system became increasingly ineffective and was unable to adapt to their busy, multi-site work environment. After making the decision to abandon its existing communications system, Design Air wanted to invest in a single solution that would be easier to use and better suited to handle its growing business needs. Appleton Information Technologies, a certified Panasonic unified communications reseller, was brought in to recommend a business communication solution that could support all the company’s needs.

Design Air worked with Aaron Schmitt, system engineer at Appleton Information Technologies to develop a plan to migrate from their outdated phone system to the Panasonic KX-NS1000 IP communication platform. Previously, their phone system was stalling the workflow when administration couldn’t effectively reach workers in the warehouse quickly. In addition, the previous installation team did not take the time to program the system properly, so the company wasn’t able to take advantage of all the features of the phone system, such as call parking and simplified dialing to avoid extraneous codes. The Media Relay Gateway feature of the KX-NS1000, which makes connecting remote sites to the corporate infrastructure a very easy process, for both today and the future, further contributed to the decision to upgrade the communication systems.

Employees at Design Air had different preferences for how they utilized their phone system and handsets and required a platform that could be adaptable

to their individual needs. One of the benefits of the Panasonic KX-NS1000 communication system is the adaptability to various needs depending on user demands, which proved useful for the Design Air employees and their day-to-day activities. For example, nearly half of the employees utilize headsets with the included connectors on the KX-NT500 series phones, which allows them to work hands-free. Mobile communications is crucial in their business environment, especially when employees need to check stock or get to certain areas in the warehouse quickly.

Also, Design Air was able to take advantage of the platform’s advanced functionality and user-friendly features, including call reporting, call parking and built-in voicemail. The automated voicemail feature is especially useful because it can handle incoming call queues, record messages and conversations, and also integrates with email. The KX-NS1000 sends an email notification when there are new voice messages and the messages also can be received as .wav files. Although this feature was available with Design Air’s previous phone system, it was only included as an upcharge, which resulted in higher costs. With the Panasonic system, this feature is included at no extra cost.

"As soon as the system was installed, everyone was raving about its features, like voicemail to email," said John Engler, IT Manager at Design Air. "The system was so easy to use, that everyone was able to take advantage of it and thus, enhance our communications capabilities."

The transition from the old phone system to the Panasonic KX-NS1000 IP communication platform was very smooth. Installation began on a Friday and was completed by Saturday, so the company had minimal downtime and normal business operations were uninterrupted. Most importantly, the phone system has been extremely reliable with no service interruptions or issues since the installation.

"It was an extremely smooth transition and the system performed better than expected," said Engler. "It was amazing that they could change our entire communication system so quickly and we’ve been thrilled with the results."

With the Panasonic KX-NS1000 in place since October 2015, Design Air has improved the way their staff manages incoming calls and can better control workflow due to added mobility throughout the warehouse. In addition, the company has saved thousands of dollars, as well as increased profits due to higher productivity and better communication.

"Moving to Panasonic has improved our business tremendously," said Engler. "Not only is it easy to use, it also helps us be more productive and communicate with each other and our customers in a more effective way. On top of that, it has helped us lower our overall communications costs, which is an added benefit. The transition to this new system was a very big deal for us and Panasonic made it extremely seamless."

Challenges

HVAC wholesaler Design Air was unhappy with its existing phone platform. With an overcomplicated and improperly programmed system, the company was prevented from taking advantage of its promised features. Management and employees needed a system that was easier to use and could better meet the needs of their busy Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) warehouses.

Solutions

After installing the Panasonic KX-NS1000 IP communications platform, employees were able to take advantage of the flexibility the system offered, including working hands-free and alleviating any issues with long range mobility, while on the warehouse floor or in the office.

Results

Since the installation, the communications platform has enabled the warehouse to streamline calls and their administrative processes. The simple interface allows for employees to maximize all the easy-to-use features of the phones, while saving thousands of dollars annually.