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Case Studies: Penny's Concrete

Pennys

Penny’s Concrete finds success with ALICE Receptionist

Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Bill and Marlene Penny started Penny’s Concrete in 1976, building their first plant in Lawrence, Kansas. The Penny’s have 26 plants in 22 locations in Central and Eastern Kansas, as well as Western Missouri. Penny’s corporate headquarters is located in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

Summary
The corporate office building needed security improvements. The company needed a solution that would notify employees when guests arrive and provide employees a way to communicate with visitor from the convenience of their desks. While the use of the system needed to be simple it also needed to be elegant and enhance the lobby experience for guests.

Challenge

Like many companies today, Penny’s Concrete had an initiative to find ways of improving building security at their headquarters. The building was originally open and generally easy to access for individuals, announced or unannounced, arriving to the building. Preventing unencumbered access to the building’s employees from visitors, competitors, or even potential threats was a key focus for Penny’s Concrete security initiative. Securing controlled access to buildings while effectively managing visitors to those buildings is a growing concern for facility managers around the globe.

As part of this initiative, Penny’s reconfigured their building for tighter access control to the interior of the office, yet they still needed a new way of greeting visitors in their lobby that remained open to public access. “We wanted to move to something that was effective yet secure,” says Cory Claxton, Vice President at Penny’s Concrete. The company receives numerous deliveries daily as well as scheduled visitors and the occasional walk-in guest, all of whom would need to be greeted and served upon their arrival to the building.

Unfortunately, even with the new security measures, an employee stationed at the front desk in the lobby would not be protected. This concern sparked the hunt for a way to greet and manage visitors in their lobby without the need to have an employee stationed there. The decision was made to look for a technology solution for the receptionist duties.


Summary
As part of building hardening, company installed ALICE Receptionist kiosk in lobby area. With ALICE, visitors are greeted when they arrive and quickly connected with employees who remain behind secured doors.

Solution

Penny’s Concrete researched various visitor management solutions on the market, including ALICE Receptionist. They found ALICE Receptionist to be user friendly and priced competitively. But the flexible and configurable options offered set ALICE Receptionist apart from the other solutions Penny’s Concrete looked into.

From Cory: “ALICE Receptionist was the only solution configurable to meet our needs. The ALICE team understood what we wanted and was able to creatively configure a system suited to our environment.”

In addition to their own research, ALICE Receptionist was recommended to Penny’s by a business affiliate that was already using ALICE Receptionist to manage their building to great success.

Implementation was easy. Prior to shipping the hardware, ALICE staff preconfigured and loaded most of the information onto the unit. Once Penny’s Concrete received their 32” ALICE kiosk, plugging it in and getting it ready to go was pretty straightforward. With everything configured and tested prior to shipping, they were up and running in no time.

There were initial concerns by some that ALICE might come across as cold, and not user friendly. Instead, visitors saw ALICE as a source of interest as well as entertaining and easy to use. Because package deliveries are a frequent occurrence at the building, a “Deliveries” card was configured on the top ALICE screen. Delivery drivers now simply click the Deliveries card to be connect with the employee who receives packages for the company.


Summary
30K annual cost savings, eliminated need for front desk worker
Improved visitor experience
Employees enjoy no longer need to get up and go see who is in the lobby
Employees feel more secure knowing visitors only have access to the lobby area of building
Easy setup and configuration to meet Penny’s specific needs
Visitors enjoy the novelty of the system and employees enjoy having a great conversation starter

Results

Penny’s Concrete has experienced measurable improvements in operational efficiency. Because ALICE Receptionist notifies employees when guests arrive and connects the guests with employees at their desks, employees can remain productive and are only interrupted when necessary. ALICE also allows employees to screen visitors from the convenience of their desks – they no longer need to make trips to the lobby to talk to salesmen and unexpected guests.

In brief, ALICE Receptionist has actualized significant ROI for the company while providing company employees with a more secure work environment that empowers them to take control of how and when they engage with visitors to the building. Visitors are now greeted by ALICE Receptionist when they arrive and – based on the configuration that Penny’s has chosen – given the ability to easily interact with employees using the kiosk.

“ALICE is an effective part of our organization and we plan on utilizing the system for the foreseeable future.”

“We wouldn’t be near as efficient if without ALICE.” Says Cory. He also says one of the biggest benefit is that ALICE is a good conversation starter and entertainment for guests. “Some were intimidated, but once they used ALICE, people warmed up to it.”