Packaging Co. Streamlines People Management & Meetings with Office 365
Embrace change. Those two words represent a core value underlying the employee culture at Industrial Packaging in Worcester, MA.
"The expectation is that the employee group is going to change with the times and stay competitive to satisfy customers," said Ed Cote, President of the 60-year-old packaging services company.
Keeping up with their customer base, which includes Fortune 500 companies, means keeping up with technology.
"For us as a company, because of some of the companies we do business with, it's really important that we stay contemporary," Ed said. "If you don't stay current with how you do things, I think you could put yourself at risk with some of these companies."
So in 2015, Ed decided it was time for the business to transition to Office 365. Industrial Packaging’s IT services provider of nearly 15 years, iCorps Technologies, led the migration to Microsoft’s Office 365 platform, a cloud-based subscription plan that includes the familiar Office applications (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint) as well as other productivity tools including: Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, Exchange Online hosted email for business, Yammer and OneNote.
For Ed, the decision to make the switch was simple. Prior to the transition, the company was using Office 2007. But realizing that his workforce was only going to become more mobile and technology-savvy in coming years, Ed knew that the switch to a cloud-based platform was necessary to give his employees the flexibility and mobility they needed to be productive in and out of the office.
"I think mobility absolutely plays a part in it," he said. "The other reason was to stay current with technology. Staying current on the Office platform makes sense given who the decision makers are going to be over the next seven or eight years."
Leveraging OneNote for people management
One of the most valuable new tools gained from Office 365 is OneNote, a digital and shareable notetaking application with a breadth of project management capabilities. Prior to OneNote, Ed used the Evernote product but has found the Microsoft application to be much more intuitive. The tool has also allowed Industrial Packaging to improve upon its people management and meeting management.
"I just set up the notebook with tabs and share with the employees," Ed said. "We collaborate on their accomplishments, what the goals are, their vision…it's instant access between subordinate and supervisor. It's great on the communication side and they seem to like it."
OneNote lets multiple users access a shared set of notes at the same time. Once the notebook is shared, all users with access to the notebook can make real-time edits.
The use of OneNote has also helped the organization continue to cut down its environmental footprint by further reducing its paper consumption - a practice that began in 2014 when the company started using an electronic document management solution.
"I don' t have any paper print outs anymore," Ed said. "I've gone pretty much full digital for quite a while now. I just use my screens as my next piece of paper."
Getting the full value from Skype for Business
As the organization continues to grow familiar with the Office 365 tools, their iCorps IT consulting team provides them with training of the applications. For Ed, the next step is leveraging Skype for Business to simplify meetings. Many people are familiar with the Skype product, but Skype for Business (formerly Lync) features several more capabilities that allow in-house and remote employee teams to simplify corporate communication. This one platform combines calling, conferencing, messaging, video and desktop sharing.
Ed also appreciates that Skype for Business is integrated into Outlook, allowing email users to see if their contacts are available, busy or away. If an employee is about to send an email regarding a critical matter, but then sees that the recipient is available, he/she can Skype that person with the click of a button and have their question answered immediately.
"It bridges the email and phone call in a modern way," Ed said. "Email is not terribly efficient in terms of getting things resolved in a quick manner."
Ed is currently using Skype to hold two daily production calls with his General Manager in the company's Leominster, MA plant.
"He just put it on his phone too and he Skyped in for the afternoon call from his iPhone," Ed said.
For Ed and his team at Industrial Packaging, the transition to the O365 platform has been a smooth one. As a business leader, he is always looking to streamline basic tasks and functions, so that he can focus on what's most important: managing his team and improving operations.
"I like change, I like the new technology - it really makes my job easier," Ed said. "So I try and use technology to make things that I do simpler and faster.
For another Office 365 case study, check out Nauset Construction's video testimonial.
With more than two decades of experience, the iCorps IT consulting team is dedicated to delivering excellence to our customers by staying ahead of market trends and understanding new technologies that could impact their business. iCorps delivers superior IT outsourcing, IT support and technology solutions implemented by the best consultants in the Boston, Philadelphia and New York (NY) areas.