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No Longer Just a Number

How a Small Business Turned to Semaphore to Design, Build, and Manage Their Network Infrastructure

Issaquah Honda Kubota is a family run business, that does a bit of everything and anything when it comes to sales, rentals and service of industrial lawn care equipment. Zac Scammahorn, who pulls double duty as a full-time manager and the employee running the service and maintenance work, notes that this sort of shop “is kind of a dying breed. It’s a very difficult industry but it’s also a lot of fun, because you’re dealing with people.”

Tractors & hedge trimmers may not suggest images of advanced digital networks, but efficiently selling and renting $17 million plus worth of that equipment annually requires a reliable high-speed network and cloud-hosted apps for point-of-sale and other supporting software.

Unfortunately, IHK suffered from regular network and telephony failures, with little to no support in sight. “Everything runs through the internet and our internet was dropping, our phones were dropping, and this was happening for months,” Zac recalls.

“The stress level made me basically go through the roof. When your sales guys are coming over to you saying, ‘Hey, my computer’s freezing,’ and you’re halfway through a sale and it deletes it. It’s a problem. When your phones don’t work, I’m losing thousands of dollars a day. This time of the year, we’re doing $20,000 a day in parts sales, right? You can’t process the parts. You can’t collect the money. So, you can’t pay your bills because you’re not collecting the money. It’s just so much stress for a small business.”

“Everything runs through the internet and our internet was dropping, our phones were dropping, and this was happening for months,”

When he called the telecommunications company that managed his network to ask for service support, he felt like he was speaking into the abyss. They told him to wait five days for a service technician to come diagnose the problem — they might as well have said five years. Zac doesn’t mince words: “They’re the worst company to deal with on the planet. You’re just another number to these big companies. They don’t care.”

So, when Zac learned about Semaphore and its reputation for high-touch customer service and excellence in custom-built network infrastructure, he jumped at the opportunity to work with them.

“They got my phone systems running, they got the internet going,” he said. Then, Semaphore worked with Zac’s to plan, design, and implement a longer-term solution for his company’s network and telephony needs.

A significant portion of IHK’s issues were related to aging cable infrastructure as well as a piece-meal assortment of network devices that were added and modified over time without understanding of the impacts on the whole. Semaphore designed, implemented and support a cohesive new network and a modern cabling infrastructure.

“The stress level made me basically go through the roof”

“When your sales guys are coming over to you saying, ‘Hey, my computer’s freezing,’ and you’re halfway through a sale and it deletes it. It’s a problem. When your phones don’t work, I’m losing thousands of dollars a day. This time of the year, we’re doing $20,000 a day in parts sales, right? You can’t process the parts. You can’t collect the money. So, you can’t pay your bills because you’re not collecting the money. It’s just so much stress for a small business.”

When he called the telecommunications company that managed his network to ask for service support, he felt like he was speaking into the abyss. They told him to wait five days for a service technician to come diagnose the problem — they might as well have said five years. Zac doesn’t mince words: “They’re the worst company to deal with on the planet. You’re just another number to these big companies. They don’t care.”

So, when Zac learned about Semaphore and its reputation for high-touch customer service and excellence in custom-built network infrastructure, he jumped at the opportunity to work with them.

“When your sales guys are coming over to you saying, ‘Hey, my computer’s freezing,’ and you’re halfway through a sale and it deletes it. It’s a problem”

“They got my phone systems running, they got the internet going,” he said. Then, Semaphore worked with Zac to plan, design, and implement a longer-term solution for his company’s network and telephony needs.

A significant portion of IHK’s issues were related to aging cable infrastructure as well as a piece-meal assortment of network devices that were added and modified over time without understanding of the impacts on the whole. Semaphore designed, implemented and support a cohesive new network and a modern cabling infrastructure.

Zac’s experience with Semaphore was the opposite of his experience with the telecom giant.

“It was straightforward. They told me how much it was going to cost. I gave him a key to the store and I said ‘Go for it.’ A week later, we had everything live and it was off and running.” Semaphore built the new infrastructure as a stand-alone, which meant Zac could transition form old to new without any disruption.

The new system required a significant initial investment, but Issaquah Honda Kubota is now saving nearly $1,800 per month and will pay off that investment in less than two years. More importantly, their network works and they have a human being who cares on the other end of the phone in those crucial moments.

“Anybody that’s looking for a new network or somebody to monitor their networks, I would hire them in a heartbeat,” Zac said.