It had been two hours and still no solution was in sight. With every tick of the clock, thousands of dollars were flying out the door. No access to critical business systems left employees twiddling their thumbs, checking their personal social media accounts on their phones and doing anything else to occupy time while waiting on the IT vendor to restore systems.
The real problem was, this wasn’t an isolated event. Adam Egelhoff, general manager of Transchem was becoming a little too familiar with the sound of his business grinding to a halt whenever his technology network misbehaved. He knew that clients unable to buy from him would go elsewhere if they had to. These persistent and reoccurring IT issues could very easily have made a lasting, negative impact on the 30-year-old family-owned company.
Through the years, Transchem’s IT infrastructure had been cobbled together like a child’s indoor play fort. By the time Adam joined the business in 2011, its entire computer network consisted of a smattering of aged consumer-grade equipment which was improperly configured and running an assortment of Windows Office versions. There was no consistency which resulted in a host of problems including slow PCs, a faulty phone system, an inability to find shared files and trouble running QuickBooks. The sheer inefficiency created a world of frustration for Adam, the employees and their customers. “We had one folder with a million files and there was absolutely no organization to it,” he said. “It was impossible for people to find stuff. Some employees were saving files to their PCs and not the server. We really needed to get everyone on the same network and the same page.”
Don’t Feel Like the Lone Ranger
His story isn’t unique. Many organizations rely on a lone “computer guy” to keep their systems running. The problem is that one-man IT shops – or even those with a few technicians – simply don’t have the bandwidth to keep up with emerging technology and the never-ending workload of properly maintaining their customer’s networks. By default they only have the capacity to “fix” when something “breaks.” This break/fix business model is purely reactive and does nothing to enhance a company’s ability to grow and scale. It essentially is a game of Whack a Mole. “It really puts a damper on your business when you have to shut down for two or three hours to get something fixed right. That’s not how I wanted to do business,” said Adam.
David Krome, CEO and founder of Transchem Inc., started the chemical distribution company in 1988. It has evolved into a multi-faceted, international wholesale chemical supplier to various industries including pharmaceutical, personal care, paint and coating manufacturing and food and beverage to name just a few. It is a world-class operation importing bulk chemicals from all over the globe. But for a company of its prominence, Transchem’s IT network was not aligned with its progressive stance in the industry.
In sharing with a supplier some of the difficulties he was experiencing with his technology, he was eventually introduced to Doug Johnson, managing partner of MIS Solutions (formerly Omni IT Solutions). As suspected, Doug and his team was tasked with updating equipment, bringing the company into compliance and getting Transchem’s network operating seamlessly so its employees could focus on their jobs.
This is a Job for a Professional
“You really need a professional when it comes to IT,” said Adam. “I think that’s where a lot of people get in trouble. They think that they can make a short-term fix which ends up costing more in the future.” Adam interviewed quite a few IT companies but after meeting with Doug, who came highly recommended, he felt that MIS Solutions would be able to take his network to a higher level. “At the time, it was definitely an increase in cost to us. But we had to take a step forward trusting that those upfront costs were eventually going to pay off. And they did.”
“What makes Transchem such a great client is they really value the partnership we have. They don’t view us as just a vendor,” explained Doug. “Adam leans on our expertise and takes our advice. He knows that we’re invested and are here to support him and his company in their growth through technology.”
“We do value our partnerships with our vendors,” Adam affirmed. “We want to know that they care about us and are making recommendations, not just to make more money, but because they want to see continuous improvement. When issues come up, partners talk about them then they move forward. They come up with solutions. We can even disagree on things, but that’s just a way to move forward. You don’t get that in a lot of vendors. Having that kind of trust with MIS has been great.”
For example, Doug suggested that all end users be equipped with a second monitor to boost productivity. That small tweak increased production drastically according to Adam. “I’d say by at least 25 percent or more.”
Transchem utilizes most of MIS Solutions’ offerings including hosted Exchange, email security and archiving, advanced cloud solutions and advanced help desk services. Having access to 24/7 remote support has been a game-changer for Adam and his team. “It’s nice to know that we don’t have to schedule an appointment with a tech to come to our office. The remote sessions were a big seller for me. That has saved us a ton of downtime.”
I’ve Got Your Back
Monthly onsite visits by MIS field support further fosters a deeper understanding of Transchem’s business needs. “Having a technician onsite once a month who understands our business has been key,” said Adam. “Some of the guys have been working with us for years and they just know us and know what to expect. I think having that personal relationship and them knowing what we want to see on our end has led to great things. They are very well trained and I know that when an MIS technician comes in that things are going to get done right.”
The peace of mind that comes with knowing his IT partner has his back has proved to be invaluable. “Coming onboard with MIS has just allowed us to be more mobile within our current systems and to become more efficient as a company. Just being able to not have to worry about some of the things we used to have to deal with is great.”