Technology can help position a business at the top of it’s industry, but, technology may not be able to replace a fast paced office culture. We sit down with President of Oakville, ON based logistics firm Dynamic Connections and Harvard MBA graduate Steve Frenkiel to share an inside look at how culture is impacted from coronavirus and work from home. F12 client Steve Frenkiel, also emphasizes some of the technology that made the technical transition to work from was so simple.
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01:11 – Challenge replicating high energy
02:29 – Won’t continue to work from home after COVID-19
03:29 – Work from home before COVID-19
03:54 – Smooth migration to work from home
04:38 – Migrating from Citrix to Office 365
05:50 – Proponent for Microsoft Teams
08:16 – Value of F12 Plus HaaS program
09:12 – Lasting changes
Q & A
Dynamic connections we’re a third party logistics provider and fundamentally what that means is we move Freight around for our customers generally our customers often make something or distribute something and they want to get it somewhere and they call us and they and we do that for them so it could be six skids of office furniture going to Topeka Kansas it could be medical equipment going to California it could be some food products coming inbound from Florida so as long as this work touches Canada and one way or another whether it’s across Canada or coming into or out of Canada and that’s something we focus on or we’re logistics we cost as logistics provider because we don’t we don’t own any of the trucks we always use we have a very wide network of trucks available to us that we contract to for every for every every shipment that we do and we move roughly call it in a normal month not this month a normal month call it about 2,000 shipments a month.
Q: Challenging to replicate high energy at home?
A: It’s a pretty fast-paced environment you almost almost picture like it’s a you know we’re managing hundreds of shipments every day it’s things are going wrong trying to book them trying to win so it’s a it almost feels like a trading floor in that sense we try we actually try and create that energy that’s that’s what gets people going so it’s really hard to create that energy
It’s it’s interesting you describe the the environment it’s kind of like the stock floor trading floor I have some family in the business as well out west and that’s exactly how they described it to me – you know it’s and for a family of athletes it’s seems very conducive
Exactly like a lot of my guys are athletes they’re all players and this were a little bit of ADD so they love the quick sort of stimulation and getting it you know the action and sort of the stress and they can sort of like it gets it makes a day go by and you know works really well for them and so yeah we’re you know the problem is it like you know they’re still busy like that but they don’t have that same call locker room environment pg-rated but locker room environments yeah it’s um it’s when it’s when it’s going it works really well.
Q: Will not adopt work from home post COVID-19
A: We still miss it like it’s not something that we’re gonna work from home permanently we’re still gonna come back to the office because it’s if there’s something in terms of both you know both productivity and to some extent collaboration as well you know like there’s you know the manager that sits over sits the room can hear when there’s a problem just by listening to conversations and that’s good is when it’s a problem we address it like like there’s nobody’s business like that that’s what that’s why our customers love us because we’re so proactive when there’s a problem and so our you know my my manager that that oversees this big rowdy trading floor it basically spends half the time listening to conversations trying to see if you can hear a problem and if he can then he’s trying to help out and help resolve that problem so that certainly is lacking we have lots of like good reports that allow us to see for you know if catching problems and if we’re like identifying but still that that element of hearing the room is is lacking so I think we’re doing the best we can.
Q: Work from home before COVID-19?
A: Before the pandemic just kind of backing up a little bit how did the organization approach work from home?
We’ve we’ve always been pretty progressive when it comes to call it technology and systems so we’ve always had the ability to fully work from home.
Q: Migrating to work from home?
A: In fact I think you know if the business stayed up we would have we migrated really well so I’d say F12 played a part of it I’m happy to be a strong supporter because I believe you’ve been a really good partner but we migrated really well because one and again our systems are totally remote we’re unique in them and basically everything we do is in Salesforce so our CRM is in Salesforce and our TMS or transportation management system is also in Salesforce so literally you launch a browser and you know our operations people are up and at them so they launch outlook and they launch a browser and they’re they’re up and at them
Q: From Citrix to Office 365?
A: To do it and certainly F12 has been a great part of that one because we went on to Office 365 by F12 and so that’s been really positive we did it with two-factor authentication so we got the benefit we used to be on a Citrix provided solution which we found on a little bit cumbersome and so we went to 365 with our with everything remote like we’re not dialing into your servers where I look as locally on our desk on our laptops are we’re launching our browsers directly but we have two factor authentication so it’s still you know it’s still some somewhat safe that people can just take a laptop and get into our systems so that’s been really great I love it we’re on SharePoint as well I actually were actually am you know we were one of your I don’t know if you if you’ve done with anyone else but I was I liked the SharePoint concept I didn’t know much but I sort of what I understood it I really liked it so instead of going to a file server we actually went on to SharePoint so our files are all stored on SharePoint not on a dedicated server and I love it I absolutely love it like the accessibility of it the search ability the you know the usability has been has been great so it’s really easy you know just launched the 365 portal we launched our outlook and everything’s there’s on my phone some like it’s on my computer
Q: Proponent for Microsoft Teams?
A: And then what’s helped as well and I’ve been a huge proponent of teams of Microsoft teams for I know ever since we went on to 365 which a couple years ago I’ve loved it I mean it’s called real the only user mean a couple other ones internally who love it cuz it’s just I’m yeah I’m willing to try new things so I’ve loved the use of teams the ability to text from your phone from the computer the the very quick screen sharing capabilities the video capability so I’ve been using it forever and then once we went remote home we forced people to learn how to use it we actually fought to put it on their phones and we force people to communicate to stop texting stop using whatsapp that’s our people were sort of abusing and we actually mandated people use teams just because we know that once we knew it’s a better platform it can do more things so when people have to use it they learn to use them they learn to like it and that’s what’s happened people have learned now they now they they voluntarily use it but they we sort of people use and then got accustomed to it so it’s it’s been a really great really great tool you know where our operations team is split up into little pods they work in small groups of three and they sit in three in groups of threes little pods like every customer it’s almost like almost like F12 your your what do you call them a your pot you know your pod your pods right so so our team so so every customer similar to you has a team team and they reach out to their teams they correspond at the teams and so it’s a really good from a customer service they get to know their customers and so forth and so some of my teams they actually would just leave because instead of sitting in a pod literally like right next to each other and a little in a little three-person pod they’d actually some of my teams just left teams on in the background and then they were just constantly on the whole day you know being able to talk live with each other on one of their screens so we we migrated very well it certainly doesn’t have the same culture the same collegiate environment because we put all of our pods into one busy loud room and we do that on purpose because it creates a certain positive environment a certain fun place to work so it can get a little loud and a little rowdy but that’s sort of fun that means we’re busy and that means things are going on so you lose that element of fun I would say in camaraderie but the the functional ability to work together work pretty well you know other than the challenges of working from home which people have distractions which are typical.
Q: The value of Hardware as a Service F12 Plus?
A: I think it’s called the service plus arrangement where we we basically release our hardware because I don’t want to think of hardware I didn’t want to think of computers I don’t want to be in the winter 20 we’re 25 people I’ve got one software developer who can double as an IT guy but I don’t want him doubling as our IT guy gets a software developer and that’s what he does I’ve got a controller who’s also pretty handy but I don’t want him doing that stuff so we got we part of the reason to go to the service was I wanted to get out of the IT business and so we don’t own our computers which is great we leave them and we had a couple guys with computer problems and you know one guy is his computer just died on them yesterday and you know to do and if I own that computer I don’t know what I have to go buy one I just call F12 and you guys replace it you came and replace the computer and you know it’s up and running so yeah certainly in a time like this where you know it’s like I don’t have you know it’s all remote and yeah it’s worked it’s worked very well.
Q: Changes that will stick long-term?
A: You know it’ll be interesting to kind of see what out of the the adaptation that businesses have had to go through what will actually stick you know in terms of how you’ve changed to operate and you know any of those changes be accepted long term it’s that it sounds like from what you’re describing that probably not much will because there’s that that in-person element that you want to be able to capture.
Yeah we’ve thought about that too actually as a management we thought about what’s you know what’s gonna stick I think a couple things like I think you know the increased use of some of our tools and our reports you know we have a lot of reports that help our people check up on things and people sometimes either relied on you know being in the room with their memory but now that you have to work a little bit remotely got to be a little bit more organized so so we’re we’re using technology more to help manage ourselves I think the the use of teams internally is gonna be a lot more a lot more prevalent and I think also when people get stuck with something personal they realize that they can be pretty functional now at home you know if like one other kids is sick or something and they might just figure it out okay guys I just I just need to work from home today and you know with the help of similar systems that we might you know we will probably be able to to to make that work in a going forward I know like I said I don’t think it’s gonna be something structural where you know some companies are in the downtown the downtown companies may look at different different office setting solutions but
for us I think it’ll just provide us a little bit more flexibility.