As the largest marine drayage provider in the U.S., IMC Companies is a critical link in the international supply chain. With locations at every major rail and port facility from coast to coast, IMC Company’s fleet is always on the move. Thanks to the company’s in-cab technology and applications that track the progress of each shipment, IMC’s customers can view their shipment online in near real-time. In fact, CIO Joel Tracy is responsible for enabling up-to-the minute transparency into the precise movements of international container shipments carrying goods all across the country.
Giving customers the information they want
“In the old days, when shipments hit the road it was like a black hole. But today shipment owners expect to see progress at every moment, so they can anticipate when inventory will arrive at distribution centers,” Tracy explained. “That’s why having solid connectivity is critical to us. If we can’t dispatch, freight isn’t moving, customers aren’t happy, and we’re not making money. It’s that simple.”
But behind the scenes, delivering perfect business continuity isn’t always simple. Just ask Robert Spiecha, Director Engineering Operations & Infrastructure, who was tasked with upgrading IMC’s IT infrastructure in 2019 to better support digital transformation. Spiecha and Tracy were ready to move away from their current telecommunications provider, because they were dissatisfied with both the network service and the customer service.
Centralized visibility and performance all in one
In the search for a new partner, IMC specifically needed SIP trunking services for their corporate phone system and network services across all 45 U.S. locations. After consulting with analysts at Gartner Inc. and IT experts at Sky Technology Partners, they short-listed three potential partners—one of which was Masergy. “We were tasked to find IMC a true partner—one that could deliver both the services as well as the support they required. Masergy stepped up to the plate. The service is highly reliable and the project management has been world class,” said William Betz, Executive Vice President – Principal at Sky Technology Partners.
In addition to the service, consolidated offerings from Masergy stood out, because one solution could handle everything. A unified console and view of all circuits nationwide made performance management faster and easier with visibility into call quality, links, and applications at every location. “Having Masergy’s single pane of glass was extremely important. It was something that our previous provider had always promised us but never delivered. It’s been a breath of fresh air for us,” said Tracy.
The service transition could not impact operations, “which was the tricky part,” explained Spiecha. “When you’re moving that many sites and you can’t be down, every move must be precisely coordinated. Masergy’s project managers and site-by-site methodology was invaluable.”
Cloud IT platform for real-time transparency
With communications and circuits now stable and reliable, Tracy describes the network as a “night and day different than before.” Today, IMC sends dispatches to more than 2,200 drivers nationwide all while keeping stakeholders informed. New equipment installations are faster now, and SIP trunking services successfully handle roughly 150,000 calls per month with 100% uptime on voice services. There were cost benefits too. Many undersized circuits were upgraded to fiber with more bandwidth at the same cost that IMC was paying before.
The new network has helped accelerate digital transformation. IMC is able to make consistent enhancements to its cloud applications without jeopardizing performance, meaning systems can ingest arrival and departure GPS data from each truck and instantly display updated information to operations and customers. Even truck drivers are seeing the difference. In-cab tablets minimize administrative paperwork, keeping wheels in motion. That means more money for both drivers and IMC.
“Driving a truck is hard enough as it is, and now drivers can tell us they have arrived with a touch of the button. It’s all backed by the Masergy network,” said Tracy. “Automating processes and sharing data improves the work experience of all of our employees. You want employees addressing challenges, not spending their time on routine transactions,” he added.
Value: More bandwidth at the same price
Productivity: Less time troubleshooting and managing
Performance: Network stability improvements
Digital Transformation: More IT agility
50% more shipments without skipping a beat
As the 2020 pandemic triggered upticks in shipments, IMC executives needed to make quick pivots. “Our shipping volumes were up 50%. It was amazing, but that put a lot of stress on our network. That’s where having a solid partner like Masergy has been very helpful,” said Tracy. “When COVID hit, the network was as solid as a rock. We never skipped a beat,” he added.
Whereas getting support from their previous provider proved difficult, IMC and Masergy have formed a cohesive team helping IMC define and maintain the highest standards of service. “I can’t tell you how many CIOs I’ve talked to that say ‘Oh, wow! You’re with Masergy?’ They’re impressed. That’s when they recognize that we’re a nationwide company that cares about delivering only the best,” said Tracy.
About Sky Technology Partners
Sky Technology Partners is an IT and telecommunication consulting company with over 30 years of combined industry experience. They are vendor agnostic and maintain relationships with over 300 different service providers to deliver cost-effective and innovative solutions.