At a Glance

  • Efficient daily use of video collaboration
  • Reduced travel time and expenses by up to 80%
  • Saved up to $12,000 & 16 days per IT staffer
  • Expanded global expertise accessibility

Streamlined video workflow collaboration sets stage for North American pet food developer and sales strategist to go global.

North American sales strategist, developer and distributor for pet foods uses daily video communication to keep researchers, marketing specialists and management on track for global expansion.


When pet food makers need to create products that will have widespread market appeal, they rely on the expertise of SPF North America to provide palatability enhancements. SPF North America operates R&D, testing, and sales facilities around the world. Though this distributed model makes sure that key personnel can engage locally with customers and partners, the distances between SPF Diana sites makes real-time collaboration a challenge.

SPF North America’s strategic use of Polycom telepresence solutions is serving as a proving ground for a global video communications infrastructure. With manufacturing and R&D facilities in South Carolina and Wisconsin, SPF North America makes daily use of Polycom HDX 7000 and 6000 room telepresence solutions to solve a full range of business challenges from staff and forecasting meetings to training and production updates.

The network, designed and implemented through Polycom-certified channel partner Prime Line Communications, has delivered nearly immediate ROI by helping SPF North America improve its operational efficiency while drastically cutting the time and expense of domestic and international travel—in some cases by up to 80 percent.

Streamlining Collaboration

By mixing science, culinary arts, and specialized taste-testing, SPF Diana’s palatability professionals ensure that all pet food ingredients—even coatings that preserve freshness— are agreeable to four-legged diners. Spurred by a competitive marketplace, the multinational company is quickly expanding in North America. SPF’s manufacturing and R&D operations in Hodges, South Carolina and Mondovi, Wisconsin, will soon be joined by two new facilities.

“Our parent company is in France and we have sister locations throughout Europe, South America, Australia, and Asia, so it’s crucial for us to communicate effectively,” says Yves Grisard- Van Roey, IT director for SPF North America. “Traditionally, we’d rely on in-person meetings to keep productive. But like all companies, we’re reducing our travel.”

Meanwhile, augmenting voice conference calls with WebEx and GoToMeeting met with little success. “They were complicated,” says Grisard-Van Roey, “with very limited usefulness.”

After he saw a local presentation by Polycom and Prime Line Communications, Grisard-Van Roey concluded SPF North America could save time and money with a Polycom telepresence solution.

To present the case to SPF Diana management in Paris, Polycom and Prime Line provided a Polycom telepresence system to SPF’s Paris headquarters. Twenty minutes after arrival, the system was connecting executives in Paris and South Carolina in HD.

“Headquarters saw how easy the Polycom system is to set up, and how bandwidth-efficient it is,” he recalls. “Not only did they ‘green light’ our deployment, they wanted one in France. Polycom and Prime Line made that happen.”

Polycom HDX room telepresence solutions link SPF facilities in Hodges and Mondovi, while a Polycom Video Border Proxy (VBP) firewall traversal solution simplifies deployment, management and security of the company’s converged video, voice, and data network.

Saving Time and Money

The systems have proven incredibly popular with users, resulting in widespread adoption and increased ROI. R&D staffers collaborate with management and production personnel on formulations, while production relies on video to coordinate logistics, establish forecasts, and communicate ingredients. Many of these interactions would once have required in-person meetings. “If a recipe changes, everyone is impacted,” says Grisard-Van Roey. “Without video, our R&D people would have to travel three times as often.”

Grisard-Van Roey has seen his own travel costs plummet. “We’re implementing a new ERP system, which would require 10 trips to Mondovi,” he says. “The Polycom systems have saved me eight of those trips on that one project alone.” At roughly $1,500 per trip and two days of travel, Polycom telepresence has saved SPF an estimated $12,000 and 16 days of productivity for every IT staffer. “One trip to France can cost $3,000 and three days of travel,” he says. “These Polycom systems pay for themselves in three to six months.”

With Polycom’s standards-based systems, SPF can host video calls with partners and customers, while Polycom’s support for H.264 High Bandwidth technology enables full HD telepresence starting at just 512kbps.

Meanwhile, construction is underway to build a Polycom-equipped test center where dogs and cats will gauge the appeal of products in development. Polycom telepresence systems will also be built into two new expansion facilities in the United States and Canada, scheduled to come online in 2011. “For SPF, we took our classic approach by designing a solution that improves collaboration across multiple locations, while addressing the customer’s needs and business challenges,” said Will Tripp, director of video conferencing for Prime Line, which provides VoIP telephony, video conferencing, infrastructure cabling, and WAN services throughout the United States.

With the help of Prime Line, which also provides service and support to SPF North America, the company plans to implement a Polycom VOIP system. But that’s just the beginning. “When we launched the Polycom solution here, managers in the other countries heard about it,” Grisard-Van Roey says. “This will be going global.”

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“One trip to France can cost $3,000 and three days of travel. These Polycom systems
pay for themselves in three to six months.”

Yves Grisard-Van Roey, IT Director, SPF North America

“Headquarters saw how easy the Polycom system is to set up and how bandwidth-efficient it is. Not only did they ‘green light’ our deployment, they wanted the same thing in France. Polycom and Prime Line made that happen.”

Yves Grisard-Van Roey, IT Director, SPF North America