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Medical Supplies Manufacturer in NH (Case Study)

Dave Hodgdon. CEO of PCG, talks with John Maher about how PCG’s managed IT services helped a medical supplies manufacturer improve its network and cybersecurity. They look at this company’s unique IT challenges, and they discuss how PCG developed a plan and a budget to overcome these challenges and improve the company’s IT network and security.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dave Hodgdon, CEO of PCG, a managed service and IT provider with headquarters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Welcome Dave.

Dave Hodgdon: Good Morning John. How are you doing today?

Case Study of a Medical Supplies Manufacturer in NH

John: Good, thanks. So Dave, today, we’re talking about a case study of a company that you’re working with, a medical supplies manufacturer in New Hampshire. And we’ll just say that, because we are talking about their network and their security implementation, things like that, we won’t give the name of the company. But it is a medical supplies manufacturer that you’re working with. So tell us a little bit more about that company and how many employees they have, that sort of thing.

Dave: Yeah. We started engaging with this client about five years ago. They are a medical supply company here in New Hampshire. They have 57 employees and 31 users that we actually support on the network. When COVID hit, they were able to make some significant contributions to our fight here and their business is just skyrocketing.

IT Challenges of a Medical Supplies Manufacturer

John: That’s great. So what are some of the issues that they had initially when they started working with you five years ago that they came to you and wanted to have solved?

Dave: These are one of the areas, John, that we’ve run into quite frequently is that there could be IT in-house or does a company hire an outside managed service provider? There are pros and cons to both of those. There’s good reasons to have IT in-house, and there’s also good reasons not to have IT in-house.

This particular company had an employee there for years and he was about to retire soon. So at that point, they were trying to come up and look at both areas of what’s best for them and the return on investment. So they looked at hiring other IT people in-house, as well as us. And after probably about three or four months of going back and forth with them looking and plus what we could offer, they decided at that time it was in their best interest to hire a managed service provider. And there were many reasons that it’s not on our website, but having one person manage your network with all the knowledge in documentation is pretty tough with how complex IT is now, John.

Managed Service Provider Vs In-House IT Person

Dave: With IT now, you need somebody that really knows security, somebody that knows networking, somebody that knows desktop, somebody that knows wireless, someone that knows how to be there 24/7 and document. That person’s on the hook, 24/7, and if he’s out sick, he gets a major accident or he can’t be available, you’re in the same boat.

And I think the big thing when they saw it was done, we were a 50% savings with a better option for them. In doing so, during our assessment, we’re also able to show them that their network was aging and there are many things there that could be improved. Again, the current IT person was doing nothing wrong, he was just doing what he could and was keeping things going to best of his skill.

So we were able to not only take over the network, but when we did, we inherited a significant amount of issues that had to be addressed. And they knew that going in there that, once we onboarded them, we would know more.

Assessing IT Challenges

John: So talk a little bit about the strategy, and what are some of the first steps when you start working with a company like this?

Dave: At first, working with a managed service provider is like taking your first date and becoming married. So we do what we do, their business is what it is, but there comes a point that someone has to be responsible for the network, and they’re hiring PCG to do that.

So that’s part of us being a managed service provider, there has to be certain guidelines or standards they need to meet. We just can’t support unsupported equipment with no support, equipment that is aging can fail, because how can we be successful? But after our network assessment that we did on site, we were able to determine where those gaps were. We were able to speak to a lot of their users out on the floor, through the office, about the kind of things that they’re having problems with.

And it was a pretty consistent message that the network was slow, they had constant issues getting out to the internet, the wireless was terrible through certain parts of the building, they had issues remoting in from home, a lot of times they ask for stuff and couldn’t get the necessary information they needed. So we met with their leadership team and went over those results and came up with a great action plan for them.

Developing an IT Strategy

John: So talk a little bit about that and what came out of that strategy review and some of the action items that you implemented.

Dave: Everything dictates around what the users want and the line of business application. So, once we knew, that gave us a good idea to start from, John.

1. Replacing Old Servers

Dave: Again, the average server lasts seven years, these servers were 10 years old. There was no support. If anything happened today, tomorrow, that business is down. So you ask the question, if your server is down for two or three days, what would happen? And they say that would sting, it would cripple us. So, I mean, right there, you just can’t be using something that you totally rely on. The server is the heart of the business, you have to invest in that.

2. Updating Old Switches

Dave: They had old style switches. The switches, think of it as your electrical panel where all your wires go into, they just couldn’t pass the traffic. In today’s world, there’s more and more happening, more on the internet. Files are getting bigger that, when you click on your desktop, you hit the mouse, you click it, it was taking three or four seconds for a response. You can dramatically change that with a better switch.

3. Upgrading Hardware and Software

Dave: They had aging machines there that had been there for some time. And not only that, they had Windows 7, which is no longer supported. They also had an old firewall that technically did not have the necessary security services in place.

4. Providing Onsite Tech Support

Dave: They really enjoyed, since they were used to having the onsite guy there, they wanted to have a tech onsite. And we agreed with them on having that, and especially during the onboarding. So we came up with a plan to have our tech there for four hours every week. And that really helped the camaraderie, John, of understanding their culture, understanding their users, giving them peace of mind that they made the right decision of outsourcing verse in-house to let them know that somebody’s there. They came familiar with us.

5. Assessing Line of Business Applications

Dave: The big driving force behind this was their line of business application, a lot of people in manufacturing run JobBOSS, and we were able to do an evaluation with them of whether to keep that onsite or in the cloud. So from that work, in that first meeting, we came up with two distinct projects. And from there, we were able to have a significant project that replaced their equipment. And then we took a good look at their line of business application. This was running on an old server, running an old version of SQL, which is a standard database from Microsoft, John, that’s in the background, and it was performing poorly. So any time the users were trying to do a query or run a report, it was just really lagging and slow.

And you could just see, we would just sit there and when I did my walkthrough with some of the users and I watched them run that report and it was 30 or 40 seconds when it should be five or six seconds. And what do you do for that 30 or 40 seconds? It was kind of frustrating. So we acted as their liaison and worked with their software vendor. And those are some of the key action items that came out of that first meeting.

Benefits of PCG’s Managed IT Services

John: All right, great. And then what was the outcome of this? I know that’s a lot of work that you did over a certain period of time. What was the outcome and how’s that company doing now?

Dave: As I said earlier, they are in the medical supplies business. They are just booming. They are about 40% over where they were last year.

1. Scalability

Dave: So by them hiring PCG, the nice thing with a managed service provider, you pay, whether business is off, you go down, you pay less, you go up, you pay for more, we’re able to scale. As they hired new people, we were able to easily bring those on.

2. Planning and Budgeting IT

Dave: And they saw the value of the technical resources we could bring to the table because there was some planning and budgeting needed in advisory for some of these changes they needed to do. They really enjoyed having that high level CTO, VCO, that strategy with the ownership of what we can be doing. And one thing they never really had in the past was having a true budget and plan.

3. Saving Money on Business Applications

Dave: So we have that plan now for over five years. But the biggest thing we did for them, John, was when we, because they really, when they knew their servers were aging, they were thinking, “Why can’t we just bring this to the cloud and not buy the servers?” So, that was up to me to take that particular objective. And I reached out to JobBOSS and I did the necessary analysis for that. And I came back to them with a five-year plan… with these manufacturing applications, there’s a certain fee you pay per user up in the cloud and verse on-premise that we’re able to save $195,000 over five years by keeping JobBOSS on premise.

That alone, just the smiles are there, that was a huge win for them. And it was a good job for us to give them that recommendation. And every business is different, whether or not going to the cloud or on premise, it’s imperative that everyone takes the necessary time to review what are the pros, the cons, the cost, weigh it out over five years and see what’s best.

How PCG Creates Customer Satisfaction

John: Right. Like you said, everybody’s different and you have to analyze, well, what software are you using? Is that going to work on the cloud? What are the options that we have? Is there a long-term plan to maybe move things to the cloud? Are they happy with the way that things are right now?

Dave: For right now, especially where the costs were. So this just happened two years ago, so we’re at least three more years keeping on premise. And then as these age, as these servers and equipment age, so our goal is the key equipment to go five or six years.

So in about three more years, we’re going to review the same thing and take a look again. Maybe JobBOSS changes its offerings… I just think the cost in the cloud was just absurd. And some software, John, the cost is very fair and it makes sense to go this way. But this particular scenario was not the case. And especially when it’s manufacturing there’s certain files and where their certain position of the building was, and the internet speed was good and they had some known issues. And when you go to the cloud, there’s more costs that it’s just not a single internet line.

You need a second redundant line because it’s like your generator. If you lose power, you need the generator. But if you lose your primary circuit, I need a secondary circuit in place. So the cloud is usually never less, but it does give you the ability to scale. It gives you the ability to pay for what’s there. It gives you the ability for multiple people from multiple locations to access. Where this was a single location, not multi-site, the majority of the people working on premise, keeping on premise was the right move for this client.

Contact PCG for Managed IT Services

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dave. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dave: My pleasure. Have a great day.

John: And for more information, you can visit the PCG website at P-C-G-I-T dot com, or call six oh three, four three one, four one two one.