Construction leader saves $6K annually from clear communication with Zello

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As the most diversified heavy highway construction company in the state of Iowa, Manatt’s, Inc. strives to provide exceptional products and services while maintaining the highest possible safety standards. Manatt’s is based in Brooklyn, Iowa and for 75 years has built, paved, and hauled its way across the Midwest and beyond. In 2016, the family-owned business decided to update their systems and look for a new technology solution. According to Information Technology Business Analyst, Kyle Lint, Manatt’s knew that they had been “behind the times,” but were determined to better streamline operations by upgrading their communications technology.

Challenge: Customer faces compromised communication

In one area of the company, Manatt’s was operating on a leased Motorola radio system that required them to buy new equipment or risk service shut down. Not only were the two-way radios expensive, but they were also limited in their scope, which prevented Manatt’s from dispatching their drivers in that market. Drivers were frustrated because the dispatchers they needed to communicate with were out of range. Plant managers were disappointed because they couldn’t get a hold of the drivers. Their VHF low-band radio system that was used in the rest of the company just wasn’t handling the job and could not keep up with their needs. And with multiple locations across the state, it was imperative that communication was uninterrupted for their ready mix, trucking, construction and paving crews.

Solution: How Zello helped

Moving from two-way radio to Zello was simple and affordable. Hank Schares, Manatt’s dispatcher and plant manager, embraced the solution immediately. “It doesn’t matter where you are, the range is unbelievable. The clarity - it’s crystal clear. It’s better than the old two-way radios.”

As a Ham radio user as a teenager, Kyle Lint was already familiar with the consumer version of Zello. “Communication was always something I was interested in. When I first heard about Zello, I was like, man, this is cool!” Lint investigated to ensure that Zello’s solution would help Manatt’s continued success.

He inquired about Motorola’s PTT’s solution but knew it would be more expensive. In fact, Manatt’s was able to save around $6K per year when they made the switch to Zello from the leased Motorola system. “I’m taking pride in getting Zello rolled out across the company and phasing out the old radio systems,” said Lint.

Conclusion: Communication with unlimited range and uptime

Manatt’s upgraded their dispatch system at the same time and has now integrated that system with Zello, allowing for a seamless solution. Manatt’s drivers and dispatchers are equally impressed. Driver and trainer Rick Byrn could tell the difference immediately. “The nice thing about Zello is that if dispatch is on the phone and they missed a driver call, it lets the plant manager know that they can then contact the driver that called.” Accessibility is also a huge win over two-way radios. “With two-way radios, they had the speakers on the trucks but you had to come up to the cab to get a hold of you. This way, as long as you have your device with you, you can hear it.”

Manatt’s continues to grow and diversify throughout the state and plans to roll out Zello across more of the company. The implementation is simple and straightforward, which further supports their focus on quality, service and safety. “Zello made it easy,” Lint added.

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