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Pfeifer Industries Gets on the Fast Track with Comcast Business

Designer and manufacturer of timing belts and timing belt pulleys stays ahead of the pack with fast broadband and cloud-based voice and unified communications services

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Situation:
  • Chicago-based manufacturer of timing belts and timing belt pulleys
  • International customer base of manufacturers and parts distributors
Challenge:
  • Small business with limited staff
  • Increase employee efficiency
  • Manage operating expenses
Solution:
  • Comcast Business Internet
  • Comcast Business VoiceEdge
Results:
  • Fast, scalable Internet
  • Reliable voice with advanced UC features
  • More productive workforce
  • Managed costs

Chicagoland Manufacturer Requires Reliable Communications Service
Pfeifer Industries is a Naperville, Ill.-based manufacturer of timing belts and timing belt pulleys. The company does business in the U.S. and abroad. It counts manufacturers and parts distributors in the construction, industrial and recreation markets as its customers.

Though Pfeifer has an international clientele, it is a small business at heart. Its small group of employees wears many hats each day, from sitting at a desk for sales and customer support to being on the shop floor doing custom manufacturing of the timing belt pulleys.

Service Uptime and Speed Essential for Business Operations
As a small business with limited staff, and customers located throughout the U.S. and around the world, the company relies heavily on its phone and Internet connections to sell its products.

"We do zero advertising, so people find us on the Internet. Initial contact is nearly always by email or a phone call. If we don't have good Internet and voice services, I'm not getting either of those," said Jim Donovan, president, Pfeifer Industries.

Further, Pfeifer's products are highly customized. Employees must speak with their customers throughout the design and manufacturing process to ensure all parties agree on the specifications before the product goes into manufacturing. Additionally, when it comes to design, Pfeifer employees use bandwidth-intensive 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software applications.

Added Donovan: "Our customers like to call and ask questions – they really prefer to talk on the phone. Because we're making something from raw material, there are a lot of phone conversations with an email follow-up specifying what was discussed so it it's all clear. We then create the product. Once we make it, the customer owns it, so I want to make sure there is no buyer's remorse so the collaboration over the phone and email are crucial."

Pfeifer was using three legacy T1 lines for Internet service, but the service was expensive and the 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth per line was too slow to support simultaneous use of bandwidth-intensive design and manufacturing applications and other routine business functions. And its traditional phone service was a headache to maintain and had limited capabilities – if employees weren't at their desk, they'd miss the call. "We're a small business. Instantaneous access and speed are fundamental to what we do, and our T1 service wasn't cutting it – neither was our legacy phone service." Donovan said.

Comcast Delivers Fast Internet and Advanced Cloud-based Voice Services at a Low Cost
In early 2013, Comcast Business made a proactive investment to expand its advanced network and make its services available to about 1,600 more businesses in key business centers around Chicago, including the I-88 corridor from Oak Brook to Aurora where Pfeifer Industries is located. Once Comcast Business became an option for Internet service, Pfeifer jumped at the chance. Comcast replaced Pfeifer's legacy T1 lines with a 50 megabits-per-second (Mbps) Comcast Business Internet connection, dramatically increasing bandwidth for the company.

Pfeifer also signed on for Business VoiceEdge, Comcast Business' cloud-based voice and unified communications (UC) service. The service is completely managed from the cloud over Comcast's network, so Pfeifer didn't need to install and maintain any telephone system at their office. And the cloud-based phone service comes with productivity-enhancing UC features that let Pfeifer employees send and receive work calls from their mobile phones or computers so they don't have to miss a call, helping employees stay productive even when they're away from their desks.

Donovan added: "The innovative mobile app, Telephony Toolbar and other unified communications features of Business VoiceEdge let our customers reach us anywhere and at any time so we don't have to miss a call, which is critical since 65 percent of our sales come in over the phone and we believe that 'people buy from people' in our industry."

Business VoiceEdge provides the company with HD voice quality, mobile user experience as well as a low monthly cost, allowing customer communications to run smoothly. Additionally, with faster upload and download speeds than the standard T1 from phone companies, customer orders can be taken quickly with Comcast Business Internet helps. And as the business continues to grow, the company can scale its Internet speed as needed, up to 100 Mbps, or higher.

"More importantly for our small business, with Comcast Business our bills are less than what we were paying before and we're getting more bandwidth. This fits into our business model of working lean and being as efficient as possible," Donovon said.

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