Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
Since 1973, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 1.2 billion pounds of food. The Food Bank employs 133 full-time team members across two facilities in Los Angeles. Under normal circumstances, the Food Bank, with the help of 30,000 volunteers and an agency network of more than 600 partner agencies, helps provide food for 300,000 people every month. Due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, that number has risen to 500,000 people each month.
Given the scale and continued growth of the food bank, communications between employees, partners,
sponsors and patrons were becoming increasingly difficult with an aging legacy phone system.
Modernizing IT Operations
The Food Bank management team was looking to implement a modern solution so employees in both of its facilities and in the field could respond quickly to each other as well as allies in the fight against hunger.
Important considerations included:
- Mobility: Employees move back and forth from two facilities and often work in the field, which spans 4,000 square miles. Wherever they are, they always need to be reachable.
- Ease of Use: Activity at the Food Bank is fast-paced and constantly changing, making easy and effortless administration important.
- Continuity: The organization kicks into overdrive during inclement weather and disasters. It cannot afford to be out of service during those times as it mobilizes quickly to assist those in need.
- Scalability: The Food Bank plans to scale its operations and hire additional employees to meet the community’s growing hunger need.
After working with an independent technology company to evaluate vendors and solutions, senior management at the Food Bank decided that the Broadvoice b-hive platform was the best fit. The award-winning solution integrates powerful cloud PBX, UC, collaboration and virtual call center features into one platform that’s connected to Broadvoice’s secure, redundant network and hosting infrastructure.
“Numa, the consultancy that supports a lot of our infrastructure, has many clients using the Broadvoice solution,” said Weldon Wu, Chief Information Officer at Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. “Our primary contact there strongly recommended Broadvoice’s solution. My wife also had been with a company that used Broadvoice and she was really happy with the product. Them making a strong recommendation really helped, plus having the demos, having the sales team come out, and then answering all of our questions and showing us how this would work.”
After the successful proof of concept, the Food Bank installed 130 IP phones at two locations. Broadvoice dedicated an implementation engineer to assist with the installation; using a remote conference bridge, he helped employees quickly troubleshoot issues as they configured their phones and features.
“Having that dedicated implementation engineer on and being able to answer, I think that was very helpful, because they were able to look at things and fix them,” said Wu. “After implementation, when I used the phone for the first time, I thought, ‘This is so clear!’ It sounded like you were talking to someone face to face. It was impressive.”
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank now has a cloud-based unified communications solution that meets all its needs and can scale with the organization as it continues to expand.
“b-hive has allowed us to be able to communicate better.,” said Weldon Wu, Chief Information Officer at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. “Having access to the app … and being able to reach someone, even if they’re not sitting at their desk, has been very vital to us.”
“So, part, for us, in adopting the Broadvoice tool, is to ensure that we have a much stronger communication backbone to be able to be ready in terms of responding to a disaster in case there may be any disruptions or anything else that may occur that make it difficult for us to do our work,” said Michael Flood, Chief Executive Officer at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
During disasters, for example, the food bank and its network of agencies, programs and food pantry trucks hurry to aid those in need. Without a reliable communications framework, their efforts could be compromised.
“Communication is important to any organization in order to communicate to donors, to our agencies and to the general public,” said Flood. “So, we’re using the technology internally to keep ourselves connected. In the old days of having a landline that was not connected to your cell phone, that’s changed thanks to the technology. So, it’s improved the connectivity of the people who work here and our ability to respond quickly to requests.”
“The new system also helps our development efforts because patrons can always reach us,” said Robert Castle, Chief Development Officer at Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. “Even last week, someone called, they wanted to make a stock transfer. I was out of the office. The call went right to my phone, I answered it, I talked to them, and I got them the information back as quickly as I could. To respond to them quickly is kind of a key to the development operation and it’s been really great using the system from Broadvoice.”
“Using Broadvoice and the Poly system has really been a game changer for us here at the food bank, said Castle. “Broadvoice and Poly will help us become the best food bank in the country.”
COVID-19 has impacted food banks across the country, with disruptions in food donations from industry donors and a decrease in volunteer activity, these organizations need support. To learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, or to donate, please visit their website.
Broadvoice is proud to partner with Poly to provide our customers with a wide range of hardware technology,
including desktop phones and accessories that enable our customers like LA Food Bank to communicate the way they work best.