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Centrax Industries


swcomms supplies two unified communications (UC) solutions to Centrax Industries providing VoIP telephony and functionality that meets the mobile needs of its European workforce.

Centrax Limited is a privately-owned company based in Newton Abbot,...

swcomms supplies two unified communications (UC) solutions to Centrax Industries providing VoIP telephony and functionality that meets the mobile needs of its European workforce.

Centrax Limited is a privately-owned company based in Newton Abbot, Devon. The company was founded in 1946 by Richard H H Barr OBE and the late Geoffrey R White after both worked with Sir Frank Whittle in the Power Jets Design Team during the 1940s - pioneering the use of the gas turbine for use in aircraft propulsion. Centrax comprises of two manufacturing divisions - the Gas Turbine Division (GTD) and Turbine Components Limited (TCL) - employing 700 people, including those working at their European depots.

The company was using a shared aging Nortel telephone system from BT. Centrax wanted separate telephone solutions to promote the clear demarcation between their two divisions. They researched the market and decided they wanted to migrate to VoIP while also taking advantage of the functionality afforded by a modern unified communications (UC) solution, such as the integration of remote workers. Their skilled IT department also wanted to be able to administer the solution themselves.

Two ShoreTel UC solutions
Centrax selected swcomms to deploy two Mitel Connect solutions to the GTD and TCL divisions using the resilient and reliable local area networks (LANs) and virtualised server environments and already in place at their headquarters in Newton Abbot. This costeffectively reduced the need for unnecessary hardware in Centrax’s comms rooms. We had already audited their Cisco LANs to ensure they were suitable for VoIP use.

These UC solutions have provided VoIP telephony for 350 users and enable free on-site calls and the ability to transfer calls between GTD and TCL when required. Centrax’s two divisions share a commonality of solution and functionality, but the two are clearly autonomous and are managed independently. All staff use Mitel software which enables them to control their handsets from their desktops. Integrated with their Outlook emails and contacts, it gives them visibility of their colleagues’ presence, while also offering click-to-dial, instant messaging and conferencing capabilities.

The operators have been provided with enhanced Communicator software that also gives them visibility of the availability of colleagues throughout both businesses so they can efficiently transfer calls. Mitel licences have enabled some members of staff to use their PCs as softphones when they are working away from the office.

Mobility options
Other mobility communication options have been provided starting with Mitel’s VPN Concentrator that gives remote workers, such as the ones working overseas, the option to plug an IP handset into any internet connection to automatically configure a secure connection back to the office system. In addition, they can also use ShoreTel’s mobility app on their smartphones, using a Wi-Fi or GSM network, to again connect to the head office UC system. This app allows them to access all the functions of a desktop phone and means they can be contacted on a single number. Members of staff also have the freedom to hot desk whether they are visiting the office from overseas or just need to work in another department. They just need to use their PIN on a handset on any desk to access the features and functions of their own extension. All the mobility functions have succeeded in integrating remote workers and drastically reducing international call costs.

A Mitel conferencing server has provided audio conferencing and screen sharing capabilities for 10 parties, but can be easily expanded, to enable Centrax to work collaboratively with staff and clients throughout the world by sharing documents, plans, etc, and having conversations or dialogue through instant messaging, to cut travel costs and to make quick decisions.

An Oak call logging solution has given Centrax’s IT managers full ‘who, where, when and duration’ visibility of the use of the new UC solutions to enable them to allocate project costs. It also gives details on call handling performance, so they can ensure calls are answered in a timely fashion to maintain customer service standards.

swcomms supplied onsite user training to make sure staff were comfortable using the new solutions from day one. Mitel Director training was also provided to Centrax’s IT managers to enable them to manage the UC solutions themselves. This promotes Mitel’s claim of the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership as they will not have to call in third party engineers to make simple moves, adds and changes.

swcomms are on hand to provide support for any issues that the IT managers cannot resolve. Both Centrax businesses benefit from free software upgrades as part of a care programme that gives them the assurance that their UC solutions will always be up to date.

Guy West, director, said: “The benefit we have found with the ShoreTel system and using VoIP is that our 10 depots around the world are connected and I can contact any of my managers by simply pressing a button. It’s as if they are just next door at no additional cost.”

Graeme Gillard, IT manager for Centrax GTD, said: “We already had a relationship with swcomms and felt the help and support we would get from a local company would be far more responsive.”

Nick Sanderson, systems architect for Centrax TCL, said: “We were looking for a system that was going to work. Reliability and resiliency were top of our priorities when we went to market. We went to a lot of different vendors who gave us demonstrations of their equipment and ShoreTel came out on top. After meeting swcomms, we had an instant connection. We felt they were the right people to deliver this project for us.”

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