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Manufacturer Gets More Mileage from Corporate Communications with Digital Signage
Professionals working in an office environment take for granted the ability to pull up news and information with a click of their mouse. However, employees spending their days on the manufacturing floor don’t have that luxury, often making them the last to know about important company announcements and breaking news.
Such is the case at the upstate New York facility of a national manufacturer. Close to 1,100 people work at the sprawling 2 million square-foot plant, and most of those employees spend their days on the plant floor.
In 2005, the manufacturer’s communications team conducted a global survey of employees to determine work satisfaction. The results indicated that workers desired better communications efforts. While employees liked corporate newsletters and e-mail updates, they wanted more immediate messaging.
At the time of the survey, executives at the facility had been considering a digital TV network to support communication efforts. Other factory locations within the company had networks in place, so the New York location wouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel. Because the communications team had considered integrating a TV network before, the employee feedback clinched the decision for them.
In researching options, the team visited a sister factory in Ontario. That location had a digital network powered by Scala software. Impressed with the professional look of the network and flexibility of the content management software, the team put the wheels in motion at its facility and made an investment that was state-of-the-art.
The manufacturer installed the network during July 2007. In just a few weeks’ time, company engineers and a local contractor ran new communication wiring throughout the facility and mounted 17 26-inch and 42-inch LCD monitors. Most of the monitors hang in break rooms near the manufacturing areas, while two others are in cafeterias, and one is in the building’s reception area.
After an extensive review process, the company selected Imperatives Inc. (Schenectady, N.Y.) to provide the Scala digital signage solution. Imperatives offered a complete digital signage system, which included the Scala software plus the hardware, installation, template design and training.
Programming the Network
The brains of the digital TV network, Scala software, reside in a computer in the communications manager’s office. With Scala content management software, she can update corporate news and announcements and broadcast it over the network to employees in less than 10 minutes.
She relies on about three dozen scripts to manage the network’s content. Each script comprises a series of informational pieces such as video, animation or text tailored toward whatever messaging the company wants to broadcast. As an example, the communications manager has scripts for safety and OSHA updates, human resources news, and product information. The company also sends out notices to inform staff as threatening weather conditions arise.
The communications manager also distributes news and media coverage about the facility’s customers in order to alert workers about business developments and how they involve the manufacturer. Additionally, she can stream in network feeds from ESPN, CNN or other channels for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, so employees can catch live news or entertainment during their breaks.
While she still uses print publications on site, the TV network has been a great addition because employees like to see things on TV. She believes that the digital network supplements the company’s other communication tools with something dynamic and visual, and it gives her a realtime means of reaching employees.
After the digital network was fully operational for a year, the manufacturer conducted a follow-up survey in 2008. The results showed that employees liked the digital TV network and that it has been an effective communications tool.
According to the communications manager, people frequently come to her with information they’ve seen on the network, from key production updates and safety reports, to information on the in-house golf league. She said that the communication benefits have been outstanding, and employee feedback has been very positive.
Moving forward, the manufacturer has considered expanding its digital network throughout the office areas of the facility in order to bring it closer to its administrative employees.
About Imperatives Inc.
Imperatives Inc. (Schenectady, N.Y.) specializes in computer graphic systems, and digital media signage and services. Founded in 1988, our goal is to provide excellent service to companies and individuals having specific digital media and computer graphic system needs. For more information, visit www.imperatives.com.