Using the right technology
MTC Systems puts stock in technology, customer knowledge
Whether it is helping a single-site business improve its technological capabilities or a large company link its branch offices by implementing a communications system, Doug Postel says MTC Systems is dedicated to serving the technical needs of its clients without selling them trendy gadgets they don’t need.
Founded in 1975 by Joe Emerson, West Des Moines-based MTC offers customers a wide range of voice and data products from companies such as Nortel Networks, eOn and Rauland Borg. Over the years, MTC has installed systems for more than 3,000 customers in Iowa, including businesses from virtually every industry: insurance, law, physicians, education, accounting, hospitals, manufacturing, retailers and restaurants. The company’s engineering team is made up of engineers and technicians with certifications from Microsoft Corp., Nortel Networks Certified Specialists, Rauland and eOn. But officials at MTC put as much stock in customer knowledge as they do product knowledge.
“We’re different from our competitors because we can do any or all of it,” said Postel, MTC’s director of sales, who has been with the company for 10 years. “But our solutions are driven by the customer’s needs. We don’t get caught up in the hype of technology. We help customers understand what technology can do to help them compete. But there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to that.”
Imagine being able to communicate directly with clients, employees or vendors as though they were next door, no matter where they were in the world. Postel said MTC helps make that a reality for businesses of all sizes with a variety of appropriate products that might offer no long-distance charges, options to conduct instant messaging, fax and e-mail services through the same system, or have a conversation while viewing a pop-up box on a computer screen that tells you who is calling and information about his or her company or account. Benefits such as these not only appeal to companies that have multiple locations, such as retailers and banks, but they help maximize efficiency for single-site businesses, too, Postel said.
Wayne Varilek, information technology director for the Von Maur department store chain, said his company called on MTC in 1999 to replace the telephone system at its corporate headquarters. Satisfied with the results of the work, Von Maur hired MTC two years later to help it establish a store-to-store communications system in five of its stores, including the one in West Des Moines. They are contracted to complete the same service at four additional Von Maur retail outlets in the future.
“We’re very happy with them,” Varilek said. “They helped us install a voice and data communications system that helps us traffic information through a bandwidth on lines we already owned.” Varilek said the new system benefits employees, customers and the company’s bottom line.
“It’s an incredible cost savings to us and it saves a lot of time,” he said. “We can call anywhere in the company by simply dialing a six-digit number, which is beneficial when helping to locate merchandise for a customer.”
Postel said approximately 60 percent of MTC’s business involves Nortel Networks products and nearly 40 percent is composed of systems by Rauland Borg. The company has technical support installation offices in the Quad Cities, Cedar Falls, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. Installation of a system can take from seven to 60 days, depending on its complexity. After it installs a system, MTC invites its customers to attend free user-group meetings held twice a year to update them with new information.
“Our focus is to help anybody who has issues with connecting with customers and to provide them with a multitude of solutions,” he said. Postel said MTC’s goal is to help customers reduce costs and improve administration functions.
“To reduce costs, we keep businesses from duplicating tasks and personnel,” he said. “We try to eliminate multiple networks.
“For example, in connecting multiple offices, we might extend the capabilities of the main system to remote offices by using a frame relay, digital telephones, the Internet or a virtual private network. Systems like that can help people who work from home, which is a growing workforce, by allowing them to have the same, secure access to data as they would have at the office.”
Postel said in the future, his industry could be dominated by wireless technology, but for now, he steers customers toward proven systems.
“My estimation is wireless is not quite ready for prime time as it’s in its developing stages,” he said. “But when it’s ready, it will become another tool in our toolbox, and we’ll help our customers sift through the toolbox to find out which technology will help their business now and put them on the right road to their future.”
Where would we be without information technology workers to sort through all the technical jargon to tell us which technical systems best support and enhance our business?
Take the Nortel Networks Remote Office 9150, for example. The folks at MTC Systems in West Des Moines tell viewers of their Web site that it “actively monitors key QoS parameters on VoIP sessions” and “leverages investment in Meridian 1 and SL-100 systems by extending Meridian Digital Telephones and all their features to a remote site.”
Though MTC employees can tell you about the technical aspects of the Nortel 9150, they can also demonstrate how it can benefit a company with easy-to-understand business phrases such as “simplified management with only one database to maintain” and “reduces unnecessary toll charges.”
Technology can enhance a company’s bottom line, but only if it’s the right technology for the right business at the right time, say officials at MTC.