Canadian truck dealer turns to Primus for “big fish” treatment

When nation-wide truck dealership Maxim Transportation Services Inc. got tired of being treated as the “little fish” by incumbent telecom carriers, it turned to an “alternative” service provider for the corporate treatment it craved.

The Winnipeg, Man-based company selected Primus Canada Telecommunications Inc., to meet its communications needs.

Prior to opting for Primus, Maxim’s communications infrastructure comprised an assortment of business grade digital subscriber lines (DSL) and T1 phone lines, provided by multiple suppliers.

The truck company, however, complained that it received inconsistent service from some of the telecom firms that dominate the various provinces where Maxim operates remote branch offices.

Some 50 per cent of Maxim’s 500 employees are based in the firm’s Winnipeg head office, but it also maintains 20 other branches across Canada in such locations as Brandon, Regina Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Anjou, Montreal and Mississauga.

Since these offices are often operated by only two to three employees, they usually received “consumer grade” assistance from established telecom service providers, said Alan Sealey, director of information systems for Maxim.

For instance, he said, slow response to calls for support was a perennial challenge. “They’re (telecoms) are not all bad. But it’s not rare to receive a response three or four hours after a call. It often takes three days to have the problem resolved.”

Having to deal with seven to 10 vendors was also difficult since each company offered its own combination of services and worked by different sets of rules, Sealey said.

In 2002, he said, the truck company retained Primus for long distance services but soon found out the company that bills itself as the “second largest alternative communication company in Canada” could serve as Maxim’s “technology backbone.”

Starting in 2004, Primus began offering Internet access through DSL and T1 connections to Maxim branches. Today, Primus handles the long distance and data transfer services for all of Maxim’s 21 locations.

A number of the company’s local line connections remain with previous providers because of existing contracts, said Larry Charrois, technical sales specialist for Primus.

Primus’ solution to Maxim’s support call woes was to provide a “single point of contact” for the company’s voice and data issues, said Charrois.

“Maxim might be an SMB (small to medium scale business) but we treat them as an enterprise, there’s a team dedicated to answering their calls.”

This is a great help for Sealey who’s very glad that no matter which branch has a problem he “only has to contact one person.”

When Maxim rolled out its disaster recovery plan it decided to house some of its servers offsite in one of Primus’ managed data centres.

If Maxim’s headquarters should go down, Sealey said, the company can request as much bandwidth as needed from Primus’ engineering staff.

Early this year, Maxim’s disaster recovery plan was expanded to include further redundancy by using Primus’ Internet Data Centre in Vancouver.

Under the plan, Charrois said, Primus provided a virtual local area network (LAN) connection between Maxim’s Winnipeg head office and a backup location in the same city.

The virtual LAN connection was then terminated to Primus’ Vancouver data centre which serves as an additional backup repository of the company’s data.

This set-up provides three key benefits said Charrois:

Multi-location back up – Maxim has an offsite backup and an out-of-province backup;

Security – Data is transmitted over secure private network not the Internet

Cost efficiency – Primus avoids Internet transfer rates

One Canadian telecom industry insider says the partnership benefits both Primus and Maxim.

“Maxim benefits from the flexibility Primus provides and gets the big fish treatment it craves. On the other hand, the contract enables Primus to move up market,” said Roberta Fox, head of Fox Group Consulting, in Mount Albert, Ont.

Primus started out catering to smaller businesses but has been steadily moving towards mid-sized firms over the years, she said.

The company traditionally offered discount long distance service but has strengthened its Internet service offerings and extended its business to voice over Internet Protocol.

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