Suma Cooperative transforms its communications with 3CX from Gradwell

Customer introduction

Suma Wholefoods is a unique, sector-leading organisation that Gradwell are delighted to support. They are one of the largest distributors of Vegan/Vegetarian foods and supplies in the UK and are a worker’s co-operative, meaning they are member–owned with equal pay across the organisation of multi-skilled roles.

Key achievements

  • Unified office and homeworkers onto one system to improve collaboration
  • Reduced telephony software and hardware costs
  • Migrated from a dated, out of support system
  • Onboarded over 100+ users in varying roles

image of worker in a kitchen

The challenge

Due to both the increase in hybrid working and the unique nature of the multi-skilled employees of Suma Coop, they had outgrown their on-site PBX system which had been in place for over twenty years. The legacy technology was restricting their ability to manage hybrid working and their varying roles. Across a typical week, a team member may be working in the back office, warehousing or logistics. As a result, the inflexible office-based hardware stifled their ability to switch roles and communicate across each function. The age of the system was increasingly difficult to manage with even simple admin changes requiring an outsourced and lengthy process to resolve. With the ISDN switch-off fast approaching, they also knew that it was only a matter of time before the existing hardware would be obsolete.

Leon Riley, IT Area Leader, spoke for the project group tasked with modernising and transforming their business communications setup to better integrate each department, facilitate effective hybrid working and reduce telephony costs. The procurement process involved proposals from eight suppliers, including Gradwell. Suma required a VoIP phone system that was easy to manage, with clear documentation and a strong user community. 3CX stood out from the offset as it aligned with all these needs and reduced costs.

“The 3CX concurrent call licensing model worked particularly well in our case because of our large amounts of multi-skilled workers in the organisation”

Leon Riley, IT Area Leader

Why the 3CX phone system was a great fit

As the UK’s leading 3CX partner, Gradwell put together a comprehensive proposal which considered the organisation’s essential, day-to-day needs, and the complex stakeholder requirements due to the unique nature of their multi-skilled roles.

3CX enabled Suma coop to effectively manage communications for their customer-facing teams, delivering efficiencies both for the end-customer and internally. They are now able to easily transfer calls across sites, utilise sales team call queues to ensure nothing is missed and benefit from presence technology to efficiently manage inbound calls.

For Leon and the IT team, not only are they benefitting from the rich feature-set of 3CX, but it is also now far easier to administer the platform and make changes without requiring external support.

“This has had a tremendous positive impact for the business. These features ensure that customers get a smooth, seamless experience, regardless of where the team are based on any given day”

Leon Riley, IT Area Leader

How Gradwell helped

Suma Coop were impressed by the extensive feature-set 3CX provides, but it was the service provided by Gradwell during the procurement process, and the ongoing support throughout the implementation that impressed Leon. Competing against seven other suppliers for the project, it was the proven 3CX expertise, and hyper care process which led to Gradwell delivering the implementation.

“The biggest factor in our choosing Gradwell was the work done by Michael in technical pre–sales, engaging with our project group, our numerous stakeholders and explaining the actual work involved in a phone platform replacement and the ways in which we could make 3CX work with our organisation. Michael was able to answer all the difficult questions we had, and from an early point I had confidence that Gradwell and 3CX would be a good partner for our telecoms provision.”

A key element of Gradwell’s 3CX proposition is in the world-class service experience provided as part of every implementation, which is exactly what was delivered for Suma. The personalised onboarding process means that customers can get the very best out of 3CX and a seamless experience for all users across the business.

Post-implementation, Gradwell have continued to ensure they get the best out of 3CX and are on hand to quickly resolve any queries. And as a result of the success of the project, Suma are now looking to start the next phase of 3CX development, with Gradwell’s support, and will be looking to rollout CRM integrations and more to really maximise their investment. Since going live with 3CX, Suma have also used Gradwell to supply business grade broadband connections to their regional offices.

“The experiences post–deployment have been rapid, responsive, and communicative. The support and project management has been diligent and efficient, with a reassuring presence felt throughout the process”

Leon Riley, IT Area Leader

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