Co-op Finds Better Wireless Solution

Agri-Mark, Inc. is one of the largest dairy cooperatives in New England/NY and is recognized for its award winning Cabot and McCadam cheese lines. Agri-Mark was formed from the merger of three independent Northeast co-operatives that had operated independently since the early 1900’s. Cabot first merged with Agri-Mark in 1992 and later McCadam joined Agri-Mark in 2003. On average, 25% of the co-op’s milk is sold at retail and the remainder further processed into value added (cheese, butter, cream, whey, etc.) dairy products sold to US and International markets.

With a large distributed workforce and continuous manufacturing operations in 3 states, most Agri-Mark employees are not found at a desk. Advanced mobile communications are needed for many employees who are responsible for travel to and interface with co-op dairy farmers, manufacturing plants, and distributors. Agri-Mark’s mobile phone, tablet, and laptop wireless needs and costs had grown steadily through three wireless generations and become a major corporate expense weighing on the shared services IT budget. IT is constantly challenged to improve productivity via improved infrastructure and enterprise applications and wanted a lower cost mobility solution to improve Agri-Mark’s bottom line.

ERA was asked to provide a practical solution for growing costs and improve management controls. Working with Agri-Mark’s IT management, ERA simulated a number of advanced incumbent wireless carrier plans to meet historic and future mobile requirements at the lowest cost without impacting employee satisfaction. In addition to providing optimal wireless plans, ERA vastly improved visibility to the key wireless cost drivers and created administrative audits and tools to contain them. Most important to the solution was a new enterprise wireless policy that met corporate business requirements and gave advice on how to self-control costs for local managers and employees. The policy clarified the primary business requirements for corporate funded advanced wireless technology, device upgrade, employee usage, and self-monitoring. Critical to the ongoing solution were IT/HR/Management efforts to maintain users within GL codes to allow cost accounting charge-back to local management. The process is now under tighter management control and ongoing tuning for improved cost results.

Industry experts provided non-monetary added value and long term savings in our new 3 year contract.

Other Information:

  • ERA optimized business wireless spend without cutting features
  • New wireless policy/tips allowed self-regulated cost control without loss of personal benefit
  • Audits/reports/tools focus IT on additional savings opportunities
  • Lower cost device upgrade solution
  • Freed-up IT resources for strategic projects

“ERA systematically brought solid advice and value to the IT organization. We were quickly in a much better place, whether exercising their new spending mindset, using recommended best practices, issuing new policy deliverables, or directing new cash flow to our bottom line. We have learned a lot from ERA and I continue to urge my colleagues to engage them and watch their unique industry skills in action.”

-Charlie Green, SVP IS Agri-Mark Inc.57%

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