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The cloud manufacturing ERP company has doubled its employees in the last two years, using Dropbox Business to collaborate more easily across locations and devices.

Plex Systems' key results

Scalable and cost-effective IT architecture

Faster customer response times through mobile devices   

Simpler and more powerful collaboration across locations   

THE CHALLENGE

Removing barriers to rapid growth

Led by founders who once worked in a manufacturing facility, Plex Systems help over 400 manufacturers better manage inventory and shipping by bringing these key processes to the cloud. The Michigan-based company has doubled in size in the last two years, leading to a realisation that it needed to upgrade its internal tools to keep pace with this growth. Employees in different locations were relying on email to work together, often resulting in a “file management nightmare” of multiple versions of the same document, says Director of IT ChrisPesola. “We needed a better way to collaborate across multiple geographies and devices” he says. As a cloud solution provider itself, Plex evaluated a number of collaboration solutions. But Dropbox Business emerged as the clear favourite, primarily due to its ease of use. Having moved from a PC-only environment to one where all platforms were welcome, the company needed a service that would work seamlessly across devices. “We wanted the solution we chose to be easy enough that it wouldn’t be resisted” Pesola says. “That’s hard to do when deploying any technology”.

“We wanted what people felt most comfortable with from a user interface, security and deployment perspective. It needed to work well with Macs, PCs, smartphones, all of the above. It brought us back to one answer, which was Dropbox.”

THE SOLUTION

Letting users work with their favourite tools

Dropbox Business keeps employees productive because they can use their favourite applications from anywhere. “Our users love being able to open native Microsoft Office documents from the web” Pesola says. The Marketing department now collaborates on PowerPoint presentations using the Dropbox badge, which lets employees see who else is in the file and update to the latest version when changes are made. Members of the Finance team now send contracts to sales reps as shared links or through shared folders. This makes it easy for reps to access and share these deal-closing documents with customers, often from mobile devices. “If a prospect contacts a salesperson and says ‘I’m ready to sign’, they have their contracts at their fingertips” says Pesola. The admin console helps Plex keep their BYOD environment secure, as the company monitors suspect usage or logins. If an employee loses a device or leaves the company, IT can transfer files or remote wipe the device.

“We have to be prepared to face constant changes in the dynamics of the competition and in our business environment. It is hard to imagine how we would manage current operations and expansion without a collaboration platform such as Dropbox Business.”

THE RESULTS

Reducing costs and boosting productivity

With Dropbox Business, Plex say they're better positioned to scale with future growth. The storage limit for local drives and devices has been lowered, reducing the company’s long-term investment in hardware. “The immediate impact for us not having to upgrade our back-end architecture is six figures, easy” Pesola says. For Sales and Marketing, email traffic has declined due to the use of shared folders. This allows employees to focus more on their work and customer needs instead of spending time figuring out which file version is the latest. And, with access to key collateral and contracts through Dropbox on their mobile devices, sales reps are able to respond more quickly to customers. Bottom line? Reps can close more deals and increase revenue for the company.