March 2, 2020

Indianapolis Fruit and Piazza Produce

By Alexandra Lasky

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net2phone enabled IF&P Foods to escape from the restrictions of a localized and hardware-based infrastructure and to graduate a higher level of telecommunications services and features.

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How IF&P Foods Called On net2phone To Deliver A Fresh Communications Experience

Delivering fresh produce to hungry buyers requires dedication, strict quality controls, and the ability to easily make contact with farmers, orchards, transporters, and others in what can be a complex supply chain. It's a competitive market.So when IF&P Foods (Indianapolis Fruit and Piazza Produce) discovered that their growing business had a need for a greatly enhanced communications system, they called on net2phone, for assistance.

A Family Business Branching Out

Indianapolis Fruit has been delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to retail partners throughout the Midwest, since 1947. With a goal to "Produce a Fresh Experience" for all members of its supply chain, the company boasts a fleet of over 150 refrigerated trucks servicing more than 15 states in the Midwest, three facilities totaling over 250,000 square feet of warehouse space, and more than 500 years of produce experience.Piazza Produce was founded as a family-owned business in 1970. It delivers to over 150 surrounding cities, including metropolitan areas in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, and Michigan.Piazza Produce and Indianapolis Fruit Company joined together in 1997 as IF&P Foods to provide customers with unique products and the freshest produce available. In July 2019, IF&P Foods (Indianapolis, IN) and Get Fresh Produce (Bartlett, IL) announced the creation of a new company, FreshEdge™. The consolidated entity is one of the largest independently owned “net2phone enabled IF&P Foods to escape from the restrictions of a localized and hardware-based infrastructure and to graduate to a higher level of telecommunications service and features” “ "net2phone ofered a comprehensive and feature-rich communications platform, from within a single price point - a state of afairs that the group had been unable to enjoy with previous providers" fresh food distributors in the country, serving over 2,000 customer locations across 18 states and distributing over 30 million cases of fresh produce, proteins, specialty processed produce, USDA certified grab-and-go offerings and specialty foods annually. Together, FreshEdge operates over 400,000 square feet of distribution and processing facilities with 1,200 employees and a fleet of over 500 trucks.

Some Ripe Challenges

This level of growth and expansion has posed some major challenges to the business. Historically, IF&P Foods has suffered under the limitations of an antiquated communications set-up based on legacy PBX (private branch exchange) infrastructure, with PRI for local dial tones, and traditional T1 for long-distance calling. Though their online presence has matured through the development of websites and eCommerce platforms, the company was lagging when it came to telecommunications.

red-vertical-lineInbound call agents are required to take orders 24/7, and the existing phone system simply couldn't keep up. Communications between various IF&P Foods sites were hampered by the fact that each had its own different system. To make matters worse, their aging technology was imposing management and maintenance burdens that distracted from the running and strategic evolution of the main business.

 

Eric Richardson, VP of IT at IF&P Foods, put together a needs assessment brief that called for a new business communications system, based on a hosted platform that would enable all sites to be under the same umbrella. Brigitte Gruszczynski, a local managed services provider who had been working with the family-owned business for quite some time, recommended net2phone as a "best of breed" solution to meet all of IF&P Foods requirements and assured that her local presence combined with net2phone’s strong backbone would be the winning combination they needed.

Delivering Fresh Communications

With the know-how, dedication, and passion of over 1,300 employees in 23 countries and 6 continents, net2phone is a leading national and international Unified Communications (UC) provider. net2phone's all-inclusive and cloud-hosted communications solution covers a full spectrum, from robust voice features and powerful messaging tools, to powerful analytics and dashboards. All customers receive premium, U.S. based customer support, available 24/7. During the set-up and migration process, net2phone participated in weekly meetings with IF&P Foods representatives, to discuss what was going wrong, what was going right, and what needed to be changed. Using this "hands on" approach to customer support, net2phone was able to smooth the company's initial communications migration, and subsequent migration processes at IF&P Foods various sites. The foundation stone for net2phone's transformation of the IF&P Foods communications network lay in moving the company away from their legacy system to a cloud based and hosted solution. As one of the fastest growing global providers of unified cloud based communications services in the world, net2phone was ideally placed to accomplish this. The transition enabled IF&P Foods to escape from the restrictions of a localized and hardware-based infrastructure, and to graduate to a higher level of service, in terms of the quality and range of telecommunications features available to them. As a hosted PBX provider, net2phone assumed the burden of infrastructure management and maintenance, freeing up the IF&P Foods technical team to focus on other aspects of their business. net2phone's cloud based infrastructure also enabled Indianapolis Fruits and Piazza Produce to combine all of their locations under one business communications platform.

Fantastic Results

This, together with the inherent cost-saving characteristics of a technology based on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), resulted in drastically reduced costs for the company. The net2phone pricing model and general air of transparency enabled the communications provider to beat out all other providers’ proposals, as net2phone was uniquely able to offer an all in one solution without additional monthly recurring fees. Overall, the net2phone platform was able to provide both the core hosted platform that IF&P Foods required, and to satisfy the many and varied needs of the produce distributor's business organization. Significantly, net2phone offered Indianapolis Fruit and Piazza Produce a comprehensive and feature-rich communications platform, from within a single price point - a state of affairs that the group had been unable to enjoy with previous providers.

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