Stan Semenoff Blog
Emily Mclean

Emily Mclean

Customer Story: Keeping truck drivers connected in remote locations with limited phone coverage

Leading transportation company, the Stan Semenoff Group, has implemented a Spoke next-generation business system to connect their back-office team with distribution hubs and drivers on the road.

Leading New Zealand transportation company, the Stan Semenoff Group, has implemented our next-generation business phone system to connect the back-office team with distribution hubs and drivers on the road.  

If you’re a local in Northland, you’ll know that The Stan Semenoff Group has been helping to grow the Northland economy for more than 50 years. With over 20 trucks carrying sand, metal, woodchips, rocks, scoria, fertiliser, palm kernel and other products, they’re a staple in the local economy.

Starting in the late 1960’s as an agricultural contracting, sand processing and supply business, the small company founded by Stan Semenoff has grown into the Stan Semenoff Group – a large organization employing over 150 people across three different transport businesses.

"It’s thanks to a lot of determination and hard work that we’ve managed to grow, thrive and improve our business. Despite strong competition and narrow margins, the Stan Semenoff Group is still going strong to this day, largely due to our people."

Stan Semenoff, Managing Director

The same challenges, 50 years on

For over 50 years Stan and the company have seen and overcome many challenges, however, one always remained – the importance of communication within the team. How does a remote workplace of over 150 staff stay connected with each other and the head office while working in remote locations with changing schedules, driving routes and plans. Adding to that is the fact that the work is 24/7.

Stan says one of the main walls his staff continually come up against is the inability to instal traditional desk phone systems in locations where they need them.

“With aggregate plants, it’s either not possible or cost inhibitive to get a traditional business phone system installed,” says Stan. 

With no desk phone about, it leaves drivers defaulting to mobile phone use, however this isn’t an ideal solution when there is limited cell and wifi coverage. Therefore a business phone system that relies on wires or only works on VoIP is not going to work

Stan also explained that not having an up-to-date company directory was causing problems because in the transportation and logistics business, you need to be able to call other quickly and easily. 

“To easily call each other, employees would need to enter other employee phone numbers on their phones. If you’ve got 100 employees all doing that, that’s 10,000 phone book entries that need to be kept up to date. It’s just not scalable,” says Stan.

“Plus, if a customer calls and needs to talk to a driver or a plant manager out on site, there was no way to transfer them, and no way to let the employee know who’s calling them and what the call is about.”

"A customer would call in looking for someone so we would have to take a message and have the employee call back the customer when they could - it was not an ideal experience!"

Carlo Lang, Company Accountant

Getting the wheels rolling

When we talked with Stan, we knew our solution could meet his team’s need for staying connected remotely with limited cell phone coverage while providing a real-time company directory. While some of their employees sit in offices and have good WiFi or 4G data, some do not and yet they still need to be part of the communications system. Spoke was a great solution to this problem. This is because it’s unique in how it works in two modes to provide high quality calls to employees in every environment:

  • We have HD calling (VoIP) for when you’ve got great WiFi or 4G data
  • Carrier calling mode that uses your carrier’s voice network for when your data signal is not so good

It was Spoke’s ability to work in both VoIP and cellular calling modes that solved Stan’s remote communication problems faced by the business.

Staying productive by staying connected 

Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest differences. Spoke’s employee directory allowed Stan’s drivers to call each other in a flash, making getting hold of other driver easy. No more manually entering in each other’s contact details. 

Stan was also keen for his driver to make the most of our call forwarding feature. So when customers call in you’re able to easily transfer them to other employees, and before you transfer the call, you can see which employees are available to talk (the green light beside their name).  This means you can put the caller on hold while you have a private chat with your teammate to bring them up to speed before forwarding the call. You can connect the caller and leave, or stay on the line and have a three way conversation.

Here’s to another 50 years of growth

It’s SME’s like Stan’s with a remote workforce that have seen the value of going mobile and are reaping the rewards. We see a mobile future for New Zealand and know that your business can and should be a part of it. Stan has now enabled a technology transformation in his company to keep his remote workforce productive and connected which will see him bring in another prosperous 50 years for the company as a result.

Current phone systems are designed for desk users, not mobile users and they have significant limitations on mobile phones. With Spoke being mobile-first, we want to give remote workers, like truck drivers, the power to have a desk-phone like experience on their mobile. 

Could the Spoke system be the right fit for your workforce? Get in touch with us today for a free trial. 

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