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Solar systems maker sets the stage for a cleaner and greener future with Cisco help

Motech Industries Inc., a leading solar systems manufacturer in Taiwan, cuts costs, strengthens intra- and inter-company communications with Cisco Unified Communications.

Founded in 1981, Motech Industries, Inc. (Motech) established itself in the design, manufacturing, marketing, and servicing of high-end test and measurement instruments. The company eventually grew its business to include manufacturing and marketing of high quality solar cells, to take advantage of the growing regional and global demand for sustainable energy systems.

Motech’s vision, according to Anne Li, Manager of the company’s MIS department, is to respond to rising oil prices and the increasing global emphasis on environmental protection by aiming to be one of the world’s leading provider of cost-effective yet technologically advanced solar cells.

To achieve this vision, the company planned to set up a new factory for solar cell production in the region. The site provided Motech with the ideal opportunity to evaluate new communications systems, and to remove the baggage that came with existing legacy communications systems.

Business Challenge
Ms. Li explained, “Motech’s legacy PABX system was inadequate for our growing needs. For example, to add new telephones to the network required new power cables to be installed and configuration changes to be made to the PABX system, which consumed time and money.”

Apart from the need for greater flexibility in expansion, Motech was also looking for a communications system that would improve delivery of information within the company, as well as with external business partners. “Traditionally, our employees would be contacted through various means, such as email, office voice calls, mobile phone calls, or even faxes. As such, our employees would spend a lot of time trying to manage these various forms of communications, which meant delays in responding to colleagues or even business partners,” explained Ms. Li. “We wanted a communications system that would help to integrate various forms of information transfer into one convenient point of access, and to make sure that employees – even while on the road – would be contactable the very first time.”

"Cisco provided a set of robust management tools that helped ease costs of administration, enabling us to lower the overall cost of network expansion in line with our growing needs."
- Anne Li, Manager of MIS department, Motech Industries Inc.

The escalating cost of voice calls was also a big concern. Ms. Li added, “Our voice call costs, especially with overseas subsidiaries and partners via IDD, grew in tandem with our expansion. Therefore, the new system should also be able to give us the same, if not better, levels of telecommunications capabilities, yet at much lower prices.”

Finally, communications security is always a fundamental requirement for Motech, given the significant amounts of intellectual property that goes into the design and manufacture of leading edge solar panel technology. “Whether its voice or data communications, the system that we adopt must be able to prevent others from eavesdropping on our communications,” said Ms. Li.

Network Solution
After much internal deliberation, Motech decided to select Cisco Unified Communications to help meet its challenges. “We had carefully analyzed the characteristics of competitive network solutions. While features are important, our evaluation emphasizes the total cost of ownership (TCO), which includes not just the initial purchase price, but also the cost of administration, maintenance and possible downtime over the product lifecycle,” said Ms. Li. “The Cisco Unified Communications solution ranked as the lowest TCO, given its proven reliability, manageability and security.”

Motech also took Cisco’s market reputation into consideration. “Cisco’s leadership in the network solutions market was a strong contributing factor in our decision making process. We wanted to make sure that our business was equipped with the best solution available in the market, capable of meeting all of our communications requirements well into the future.”

The Cisco Unified Communications solution consisted of Cisco Catalyst 6509 and 3560 Switches at the core, supported by two Cisco 2800 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISR) serving as the VoIP gateway. Motech has also deployed 200 units of Cisco Unified IP Phones on its new factory site, powered by Cisco Unified Communications Manager, a centralized call processing application solution which enables Motech to enjoy innovative convergence applications; increased user productivity through call control, location, and presence detection of other users in the network; and a centrally managed system for easy installation, adds, moves, and changes.

Cisco and its local implementation partner, Ringline Technologies, started the deployment process in August 2006 and completed it within six months. Ms. Li expressed her satisfaction with the smooth implementation, “The integration of Cisco’s software with our existing core network has been seamless, because it is based on industry-standards. As a result, we experienced very little downtime to our core network during the cutover.”

Business Value

  • Cost-effective scalability
    What pleased Motech most, according to Ms. Li, was the cost savings that were immediately realized from the ease of managing the new network. “Cisco Unified Communications has provided a scalable, highly available IP telephony solution for our business. This means that adding new users is now a far more simplified process, without the need for tedious re- configurations, and costly purchases of power cables and other devices.” she explained.

    “What is more,” she added. “Cisco provided a set of robust management tools that helped ease costs of administration, enabling us to lower the overall cost of network expansion in line with our growing needs.”
  • Reduction in Call Costs
    Thanks to Cisco Unified Communications, Motech has enjoyed substantial savings, due to a reduction in monthly telecommunications charges. Said Ms. Li, “We can now make free VoIP calls between our offices in Taiwan and China, instead of utilizing expensive IDD calls.” In addition, by merging data and voice onto a single network, Motech was able to reduce the management and administration work that was previously required to maintain two separate systems.

    “With the cost savings arising from simpler and better network management as well as cheaper voice calls, we expect to break even within three years.”
  • Improved communications and collaboration between employees and business partners
    Thanks to the new solution, Motech employees and business partners are now able to reach the right person the first time – be it via email, fax or voice – and enjoy greater accessibility to vital information and decision makers across the organization.

    “Decision-making processes are far more efficient, given the drastic reduction in communication delays,” asserted Ms. Li. “Cisco Unified Communications have made all forms of vital business communications available through an employee’s Microsoft® Exchange™ inbox. The mobility applications in Cisco Unified Communications have also made key employees more contactable, especially those who frequently shuttle between our Taiwan office and China subsidiary. Our staff productivity has improved significantly.”

    Motech also has plans to incorporate more advanced collaboration applications onto the Cisco Unified Communications platform, something it was unable to do with its previous system. Ms. Li anticipates that new ‘visualization’ tools will be introduced so that employees across the network will be able to work and collaborate on project documents online, such as engineering drawings, work plans, and other related information.
  • Secure voice communications
    The security challenge has also been addressed. As Ms. Li explained, Motech’s competitive edge depends on its closely guarded design and manufacturing knowledge. “In the past, we could never have encrypted our voice calls. Now that voice is digitized, we can apply encryption technology to make sure that all vital discussions remain secure.”

    Thanks to Cisco Unified Communications, Motech is well on its way to achieving its business goals. “We’ve already seen a significant reduction in our communications costs, as well as great improvements in decision-making speed and productivity,” Ms. Li concluded. “We’re confident that Cisco will be involved in our future plans to push the company to even higher levels.”

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