About Superior Industries
Superior Industries is a manufacturing company located in Morris, MN, with eight divisions located throughout the United States and with international distribution of its products. Superior’s divisions design, manufacture, market, and sell bulk material handling conveyors, conveyor components, fuel tanks, fuel trucks, fuel trailers, petroleum equipment and precast concrete products.
Since 2008, Superior has experienced spectacular growth. Acquisitions in particular have helped Superior gain a reputation as one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States with a growth rate of over 15%. The company has expanded its product and service divisions from two to eight, and its number of employees from 350 to more than 1,100.
Originally working off of one Exchange server at the company’s headquarters in Morris, recent rapid growth meant that the IT team found itself quickly without adequate infrastructure expansion capabilities. As a result, the company had to leave in place several legacy systems that it had acquired.
In addition to needing a common platform across the company, Superior, like other manufacturers, needed to provide access to shift and line workers who didn’t necessarily have a workstation or computer access 100% of the time. With the single Exchange server, licensing, accessibility and scalability were difficult and expensive.
One of the companies that Superior acquired was using Google Apps. The IT team evaluated transitioning the entire company to Google Apps as a way to stabilize its infrastructure, hoping to save on costs and increase collaboration across its divisions and work sites. They turned to Agosto, a Google Apps reseller, to help implement Google Apps throughout the entire organization. Agosto also assisted in developing the training curriculum that Superior has implemented across the company.
Details and Results:
Agosto helped Superior to migrate and implement Google Apps entirely remotely, saving on both travel and training costs. IT Infrastructure Supervisor Russ Koehl shared how Agosto first helped Superior train a group of early adopter “Google Guides” that got up and running quickly positioning them to assist other users.
This was key to communicating that the change was positive and there were benefits for all users. Superior trained 15-20 people per session, both in-house and remotely via the web. Over the course of a couple of weeks, everyone at Superior was using Google Apps.
Working with a reseller has been invaluable, said Russ. “The transition to Google Apps has been so successful that we have returned to Agosto for extra assistance in migrating our newest acquisition into the Superior family of companies,” said Russ. “And working with our Agosto rep, Cat Bear, has been phenomenal. It’s amazing how much she has helped us to accomplish and how quickly she responds to our requests.”
Russ described how line workers are able to share kiosk-style terminals on the shop floor, eliminating the need for a computer for every employee who only needs to log-in occasionally. Using their own unique credentials, employees gain access to vital company communications, email, training and user documentation using the kiosks or even their personal mobile devices. “These are people with varying skill levels,” said Russ. “And no one has any trouble getting around in Google Apps.”
Russ shared how his IT team can now add hundreds of new users easily to the system, getting them set up and ready to log into Google Apps in minutes rather than the days it previously took. With no server upgrades to schedule, no desktop software patches to install or versions to manage, Russ and the team are able to work faster, eliminating the conflicts and downtime they previously experienced. They are also saving significantly on both software and hardware costs.
They continue to discover new benefits; Russ said, “Our marketing department can now easily access and contribute to the company intranet using Google Sites without needing to know code. We also use Google Hangouts just about everyday for fast, reliable video and voice conferencing, and our dispatchers rely heavily on Google Chat to save time.”
“If you would have told me before that I’d have our entire company, across multiple locations, transitioned to a new and better way of working so quickly, I would have said ‘no way’,” said Russ. “But the benefits of Google Apps are clear and our staff is really happy.”
Shared documents have really taken off, too, according to Russ. “We purchased Google Apps for its email and calendar, but if I was to tell the company that I was going to take away Drive, it just wouldn’t be possible. Everyone is now so used to editing together, in real time, from any location; Google is here to stay for Superior.”