Case study: ATS reaches distributed non-desk workers without delay with digital signage

About Advanced Technology Services (ATS) 

Advanced Technology Services (ATS) provides equipment maintenance solutions in the US, Mexico, and the UK for top manufacturers like USG, Kellogg’s, and Benjamin Moore. Customers hire ATS to take on the maintenance of their machinery to increase uptime and improve asset reliability. Most of ATS’s 2900 employees are blue-collar employees working in customer factories.

Holly Mosack (pictured) is the Director of Internal Communications at ATS since 2014.

The challenge: Distributed blue-collar workforce is hard to reach with traditional communication channels

In 2014, ATS had a challenge: they were not reaching their distributed maintenance workers as effectively as they wanted to.

As a service company, they had a high reputation for putting safety and customer service first. They now needed to ensure this reputation was fully supported by internal communication. That’s when Holly Mosack, Director of Internal Communications at ATS, stepped in.

Like most companies, ATS’s approach in the mid-2010s primarily relied on email. 

Even with their benchmark-worthy email open rates, Mosack understood that they needed a better way to bring information to where their employees would be naturally exposed to it  – and, better yet, make it happen with no significant delays.

Mosack knew their internal communication strategy needed to tick multiple boxes:

  • Deskless workers don’t go online unless they have to. Maintenance workers might not even check their ATS email weekly, let alone visit the company Intranet. 
  • ATS needed to accommodate their customers’ ways of working. As most ATS employees work in customer facilities, they had to develop a solution that works with different company cultures and the varying requirements of various IT teams.
  • They wanted a tool that allows real-time information sharing (especially from Power BI) and is easy enough for anyone to use. Site managers needed an easy way to share up-to-date business-critical Power BI data with the maintenance team. In addition, Mosack wanted to get important corporate news before their distributed workforce’s eyes efficiently.

Traditional online channels weren’t clearly cutting it, daily stand-up meetings didn’t always catch off-shift employees even when they came back to work, and traditional bulletin boards were out-of-date on a whim.

Mosack knew they needed something different.

The solution: Digital signage reaches deskless workers where they are

In 2021, ATS found a solution to help them bridge the communications gap and, most importantly, share up-to-date Power BI data with a secure integration: visual media screens powered by Valotalive digital signage software. 

Media screens are placed where ATS employees are naturally exposed to them: next to regular paths of travel and working locations in factories. This way, ATS workers could not avoid seeing important news and updates.

A communication tool that blue-collar managers will actually use

In just a few months, ATS implemented Valotalive-powered media screens in 50 of their 100 customer locations. They’re planning to implement more in the future but wanted to first ensure that site managers will actually start using the product. 

Luckily, this hasn’t been a problem, since according to Mosack, Valotalive is a straightforward system to train new site managers. Many managers have since taken it upon themselves to use Valotalive to display content their team is interested in – or sometimes the ATS customer.

“For instance, some managers have started pulling up a PowerBI report called Equipment Status Monitor that shows the status of all of the customer’s machinery,” Mosack explains.

“Not having to regularly update and print out PowerPoint slides has saved our site managers so much time. The timely portion is figuring out the filters in PowerBI just once,” she continues.

“It’s been great to see that some managers use it for more than just corporate communications. If they only use it for corporate communications, I’m already excited. But some of them now want new monitors in break rooms or for customer communications, and that’s really cool!” 

ATS maintenance worker looking at a Valotalive-powered media screen with a PowerBI report of the status of all of the customer’s machinery (data redacted).

Timely communication makes happier employees 

Perhaps not so surprisingly, providing site managers with communication tools they like to use has also had an effect on overall employee satisfaction.

“While employees might not have been dissatisfied with corporate communications before, they were dissatisfied with hearing things at the last minute that were specific to their site.” 

With Valotalive, this does not happen anymore. 

Site managers can now simply use Valotalive to share updates they need or want everyone to see, whether it’s about an important customer initiative, needing extra coverage and wanting to reach off-shift employees when they come to work, or even just pulling up the RSS feed from for your team that’s really into sports.

One of Mosack’s favorite features in Valotalive is scheduling.

“I love that I can post our performance reviews that expire on December 15, and I don’t have to do anything. Our managers have also figured out: they use it to display reports right before their daily morning meetings.”

Valotalive also allows users to create intelligent content playlists (‘Content Flows’) to determine what content to show on each screen and even weigh content displaying frequency according to its importance.

Pre-scheduled seasons’ greetings for ATS personnel.

No more printouts or obsolete data

While ATS uses many Valotalive integrations to tools like PowerPoint, Sharepoint, RSS feeds, and more, one of the initial decision-making factors for ATS was the ability to pull up real-time Power BI data with a secure integration.

As Mosack explains:

“Our customers appreciate seeing those real-time status reports instead of outdated PowerPoint slides from the day before. I love that it benefits not just the ATS team but also the customer.”

Having access to up-to-date data is arguably important, but according to Mosack, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of good-looking, on-brand communications either:

“I think everyone would rather pay attention to visually appealing screens than black-and-white printouts with grease prints that you assume are six months old anyway.”

A number worth showcasing: zero recordable incidents

ATS is known for its rigorous safety standards. Numbers don’t lie: they have a 50% lower recordable incident rate than the industry average, and some of their locations have been accident-free for 900 days straight. ATS even received the Robert W. Campbell Award in 2023 only 18 other companies have received in the past 20 years.

As Mosack puts it: “If someone is going to get injured, it’s the people working on the machines. Safety is obviously huge for us – our goal is zero recordable incidents.

Needless to say, showcasing impressive numbers like this can positively impact company morale.

“Previously, we updated and posted these numbers manually, both at a site level and corporate level, but now Valotalive Accident Free Days Counter does it for us.”

A media screen that uses the Accident Free Days counter Valotalive app to show incident-free days automatically.

High expectations for customer service were met

As a customer service business, ATS has very high expectations for customer service for all its vendors. “But Valotalive has that same level of customer service that we have.”

ATS is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.

“There was a part of me that was a little bit nervous about working with a company located in a different country”, Mosack admits, “but it hasn’t been an issue at all. And that’s not the case with the majority of US-based vendors.”

As a user, Mosack is also happy with Valotalive’s approach to product development.

“Valotalive has never failed my expectations for finding a solution. When we started, Power BI integration was still a relatively new product, and we had some requests. The team could have easily told us to put a ticket in and see if the community wanted it. Instead, they worked hard to understand how we use Power BI and improved the integration.”

“In general, they’ve done a great job listening to customer feedback and resolving it quickly.”

A communication tool that everyone likes

“Our site managers love it and are using it for customer communications. Our customers love it. Our senior leadership loves to see it in customer facilities.”

Mosack concludes: 

“It’s been a really great partnership. I look forward to continuing to work with Valotalive. I’ve had other digital signage companies approach me, and I just turn them away because there’s no point. I’m happy with what you guys are doing, so there’s no point in looking at other companies.”

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