Overhead Door Corporation
Opening the door for hybrid collaboration.
Webex enables Overhead Door to connect its growing hybrid workforce and engage dealers and distributors.
Staying connected during a crisis.
Overhead Door uses the Webex Suite to bridge the gap between stakeholders, business partners, and customers alike.
As a young entrepreneur, C.G. Johnson invents the world’s first “upward-lifting garage door.” He mounts the prototype to the back of his Model T, waves goodbye to his Detroit manufacturing plant, and hits the open road.
The destination? Anywhere—that is, any place in the country he could find a willing distributor. Spoiler alert: He found plenty. By 1924, Johnson and team were already unveiling their next innovation—the first electric garage door opener.
Just like that, the Overhead Door Corporation was born.
Flash forward to now, and things have only gotten bigger and better. With over 100 locations in three different countries—the United States, Canada, and Mexico—it’s safe to say that Overhead Door never stopped innovating. In fact, the company continues making waves not only as a leader in door services but also at the forefront of communication and collaboration technology.
According to Freed, the organization has three operational divisions: vehicular, electronic, and pedestrian access solutions. Beneath these pillars are numerous brands servicing a wide range of residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation applications.
With hands in many pots, everyone at Overhead Door must stay on the same page. Freed and the team realized early on that collaboration technologies would be key to supporting their growing company.
“We’re geographically diverse in terms of where we’re located,” he explained. “Being able to communicate beyond just email and traditional phone calls necessitated amping up our ability to collaborate. Unfortunately, that was beyond what we could do with some of our legacy applications.”
Acknowledging the need to upgrade its current tech stack, Overhead Door decided to transition from its Cisco telephony system into Webex Suite—a full-fledged and comprehensive platform. Originally, collaboration was the driving force behind the transformation—then came the pandemic.
“That was probably the most significant driver because in a matter of weeks, we had to pivot to remote work,” Freed said. “We needed the technology to collaborate remotely and support people who weren’t in the office. When COVID hit, we had to amp up our capabilities to ensure we could remain productive during the crisis.”
Luckily, the company had a longstanding relationship with Cisco. This made the transition a natural progression because they could seamlessly integrate Webex Suite into their architecture. Freed also explained that they never considered other solutions because they saw tremendous value in what the Webex Platform had to offer.
“Even when we pivoted to Microsoft 365, and Teams was still an option, we opted to stick with Webex because of its native integration with the telephony system and the inherent advantages you get there.”
Employee travel was limited, but the Webex Platform was already in place and ready to use. Overhead Door, Won-Door, and their third-party consultants leveraged the solution during their back-and-forth communications. When they reached a deal, the groups announced the acquisition via Webex Webinars.
“It turned out to be valuable, successful, and appropriate under the circumstances,” Freed said. Many employees used the reaction feature to celebrate the event, which also made the announcement more fun and engaging. Shortly after, Won-Door employees were eager to join the platform.
“We took advantage of the fact we could deploy Webex to them ahead of time because they needed to communicate to their customers,” Freed added. “There was also training that needed to happen. And, because of COVID and the need to support people wherever they may be, it made sense to use Webex since the Overhead Door team already had access to it.”
Compared to previous acquisitions he’s experienced, Freed claimed having one collaboration system for the entire company makes the process much easier.
“With any acquisition, communication is key, exchanging information is important, and transparency is essential,” he said. “Having a mechanism to facilitate that certainly helps, especially when dealing with people external to the organization. It’s another nice feature of the Webex App because they can participate in Spaces as part of the conversation.”
“Once everyone got the hang of it, the adoption was high,” he said. “It’s become ingrained in how we operate as a company. I have offshore IT resources, and we use Webex with them all the time. It’s a way to keep people connected.”
For example, the organization holds a town hall every six months for its IT staff, including those working in India. This gives everyone a chance to see each other, collaborate, and come closer together as a team.
“Webex may never replace the value of a true face-to-face meeting,” Freed admitted, “but it certainly breaks down barriers and adds value by keeping people engaged and connected. It just brings a level of productivity and efficiency in how we work today that we didn’t have before.”
Even better, Overhead Door is leveraging Webex to foster a deeper company culture, which is challenging given the distance between its employees.
“One of our core values is that people are our greatest strength,” Freed said. “Providing people with the tools necessary to perform their jobs is critically important to us. Webex, the Webex App, and the entire unified collaboration platform has made a significant difference.”
“You don’t see many people dialing the phone, because they’re using Webex Meetings whenever something is scheduled,” he said. “Our company relies on it every day to host virtual business meetings, town halls, department meetings—any type of session where we need to engage people. It’s our go-to.”
The organization has even gone so far as to equip conference rooms with at least one or two Cisco Room Kits—devices that incorporate collaboration bars, cameras, and more into one all-inclusive system. According to Freed, they’re the natural next step beyond your traditional desktop or laptop.
Aside from internal collaboration, the Overhead Door team also uses these tools to hold external business meetings with dealers and distributors. They also have a group using Webex to train partners on Overhead Door products and solutions.
Using Webex Webinars, company leaders will jump on camera, give a presentation, and hold Q&A sessions after the meeting. As Freed explained, it’s a way to get hundreds of people across the U.S. and Canada onto a platform to report to both customers and employees.
“We held an internal town hall from our corporate office, including a morning and afternoon session. Our CEO and presenters were on video giving an update to the team on the state of the business and initiatives we have going on,” he added. “Between the two, I think we had over 1,000 people remotely attending. These types of things provide us the ability to have a more global reach.”
Never to be out-innovated, Overhead Door also leverages Webex Meeting’s built-in artificial intelligence capabilities, such as background noise removal and real-time translation. “We use noise cancellation every day,” Freed admitted. “To me, that’s become table stakes. It’s another opportunity to give people an interactive and dynamic experience.”
“This technology has enabled a much more efficient and productive way to collaborate across the organization,” Freed claimed. “Between the Webex App, Webex Meetings, and all of the collaboration features we’re fully leveraging, it’s been very powerful. It’s become part of the everyday fabric of how we work as an organization. I think if I took it away tomorrow, we’d be crippled.”
Looking ahead, it’s safe to say that Overhead Door’s knack for innovation won’t be going away anytime soon. With Cisco at their side, Larry Freed and his team are ready for whatever’s thrown their way.
“I believe we’re taking full advantage of what the Webex Platform provides, and we plan to continue doing so.”
Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how Webex can improve collaboration and customer experience at your organization.
Overhead Door Corporation, a leader in innovative solutions.
The organization offers industry-leading door services to customers across multiple countries.
Fueling innovation and culture with cloud-based communication.
Even when we pivoted to Microsoft 365 and Teams was still an option, we opted to stick with Webex because of its native integration with the telephony system and the inherent advantages you get there.
Webex may never replace the value of a true face-to-face meeting, but it certainly breaks down barriers and adds value by keeping people engaged and connected. It just brings a level of productivity and efficiency in how we work today that we didn’t have before.
This technology has enabled a much more efficient and productive way to collaborate across the organization. Between the Webex App, Webex Meetings, and all of the collaboration features we’re fully leveraging, it’s been very powerful. It’s become part of the everyday fabric of how we work as an organization. I think if I took it away tomorrow, we’d be crippled.