Food maker finds VoIP palatable

In 2003, Richmond, B.C.-based organic food maker Nature’s Path Foods faced a move to new headquarters to accommodate a rapidly expanding workforce.

The relocation presented Ron Boucher, Nature’s Path’s technology manager, with an important decision: Should he stick with standard, tried-and-true TDM voice or make the leap to a voice over IP system?

Ultimately Boucher elected to take a chance on VoIP, despite some of the implementation horror stories he’d read in the technology trade press. Three years later, he says he has no regrets.

One of the main drivers for the shift to VoIP was simpler moves, adds and changes, Boucher explains.

“I like to run a lean IT department,” he says. “Now when a user comes to change offices, or a new employee is starting, we can let them set themselves up.

“I’ve got a box of telephones on my desk, I tell them to grab one and let me know if they have a problem.” With the old TDM system, IT staff had to go into the wiring closet if users were changing offices or new employees were starting.

“That takes time and money and there’s always an opportunity for error,” Boucher notes. Nature’s Path’s VoIP system relies on a Mitel 3300 platform and a network based on HP ProCurve 5308xl switches.

All voice and data traffic runs over the same physical infrastructure, but the voice runs over its own virtual LAN (VLAN) and gets priority over the less time-

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