Video Conferencing in a Global Manufacturing Environment

Case Study: Vaughan Benz and BrightCom Integrated Telepresence

By Stan Baldwin
Updated: April 18, 2011

Design, sales and management in the United States, manufacturing in China, a business structure shared by many global companies. With simple products or complex products, over large production runs it takes serious coordination between the home office and the production facility to assure the results are to specification, on time and on budget. When the product is custom designed furniture for the notoriously finicky hospitality industry, there isn't much wiggle room.

From assuring the customer's expectations are fully translated into the finished product, to managing the staff, controlling materials and tracking finances between offices thousands of miles and two distinctly different cultures apart, David Benz, president of Vaughan Benz, knows that communications is everything.

Vaughan Benz, founded a quarter century ago in Los Angeles, California, runs a state-of-the-art furniture production operation in Shanghai, China. Their 20th Century management tools; e-mail, phone, fax and frequently travel, were not only costly, they were no longer up to the task of supporting a rapid growth rate.

Talking face-to-face brings important, even critical, characteristics to communications, but clearly more travel was not the answer. In addition to keeping their competitive edge, delivering high-quality furniture which consistently satisfied demanding customers, a richer communications medium would help keep the Vaughan Benz corporate culture unified and supportive. David Benz decided it was time to look at the capabilities of video conferencing and telepresence systems.

Mr. Benz explained BrightCom was chosen because they were local, offered stellar customer service and could deliver a wide range of video communication solutions. Of particular importance to Vaughan Benz were dragging and dropping files from laptops or desktops as needed, sharing data across Microsoft Office, Open Office, Adobe PDFs, as well as sharing HD images and HD video clips. Teams needed to collaboratively markup and edit documents. Further, management and control of the services had to be easy, flexible and reliable.

The Visual Collaboration System that BrightCom and Vaughan Benz have built, on a processor based infrastructure, connects equipment from many vendors and supports wireless connections. Up to 16 video broadcasts are possible, serving an unlimited number of participants. Bandwidth is adjustable in real-time and the proceedings can, of course, be recorded.

Quality of Service (QoS) is a challenge, as is ensuring usability for both the U.S. and Chinese teams. An important additional application of the video conferencing system is improved communications with customers, both during the sales process and then through the design, build and delivery of an order. One of the goals for the future evolution of the Visual Collaboration System will be to make the communications with clients even more effective.

Providing designers and production staff the capability to review the shop drawings together will also be a next step. On the manufacturing side, Vaughan Benz plans to bring the BrightCom telepresence technology to the factory floor. They have taught the closer the communication between planners and producers, the better the products and the margins.

For more information: or

Featured Research
  • Video Conferencing Showdown

    If you feel overwhelmed by the video conferencing options available for your business, you aren’t alone. There are dozens and dozens of different solutions, ranging from no-cost options to software that will cost thousands. The question is which one is right for your business and how can you get the most value. more

  • Best Video Conferencing Features for Business

    Most businesses are currently underutilizing their video conferencing software because they aren’t aware of the different ways it can be used. Understanding the different features of video conferencing software can be critical to getting the most out of your investment. These features often vary from one option to the next as well, so it's important to do your homework before choosing a specific service. more

  • 9 Ways Video Conferencing Supports Business Growth

    90% of information is transmitted in the human brain is visual, and people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Video and video conferencing is fastly becoming the new must-have business tool for generating profits and successfully growing your business. In fact, over the past four years, the percentage of companies utilizing video conferencing has jumped from 41% to 58%. more

  • 9 Tips for a Compelling Video Presentation

    Face-to-face communication is the most effective way to collaborate and bring ideas to life in your business. Because of this, many businesses invest heavily in travel budgets so they can meet in person to create and nurture business opportunities. However, video technology has become more accessible, affordable, and user-friendly over the years. In fact, the enterprise video business market will reach $36.5 billion by 2018. more

  • 9 Ways Video Conferencing Gives You a Competitive Advantage

    Embracing video conferencing in your business can bring your company many lucrative and positive benefits that will help you excel through better communication and more efficient collaboration. In fact, 89% of professionals agree that video conferencing reduces the time needed to complete projects or tasks. more