Hussey Seating

Few businesses make it past the five-year mark, but Hussey Seating Company is closing in on two centuries. One of its cultural touchstones is to find dealers and vendors that go beyond the transaction to become true partners. When it came time to review its IT structure, Hussey Seating found that partner with WGTech.

Hussey Seating is a world leader in developing and manufacturing seating solutions for sports, entertainment, education, and worship markets. Based in North Berwick, Maine and family owned since 1835, the company’s products range from portable seating found on NBA sidelines and event centers, bleachers found in most school gymnasiums, to fixed seating and telescopic platforms found in some of the highest trafficked arenas and stadiums. Its partners are loyal – many of their exclusive dealers are on second-generation relationships – and so are its employees. When its long-time IT manager passed away, the company needed to make a choice: try to find a replacement, or work with an external vendor. It extended its existing relationship with WGTech while it made the decision.

“Our IT manager had a unique set of skills and I wasn’t sure how I could replace him,” says Jaimie Rowe, VP of Engineering and Technology, Hussey Seating. “WGTech had been providing escalation support for issues we could not solve internally, and they had been our go-to provider for professional services when we were making major changes. It was a natural transition to have them step in and provide emergency support while we tried to figure out next steps.”

IT is strategic to Hussey Seating – at its heart, it is a company that engineers and manufactures seating solutions by heavily leveraging technology for everything from developing very sophisticated quotes to designing custom solutions with 3D CAD software. Order processing is automated and integrated with multiple company systems. “We are a global company. Orders come in all day and all night, and if something goes down it costs us,” says Rowe. “Without IT, we can’t move production into the factory fast enough, get our orders fast enough, or get quotes done fast enough with the volume of business that we have.”

The company quickly realized that its breadth of technology required a diverse skill set that could best be managed with a team of experts rather than a single individual. With its strategic and critical reliance on IT, Hussey Seating needed an IT services partner.

Hussey Seating made the relationship with WGTech formal after several months of transition. “We entered into a managed services contract that includes virtual IT management and strategic planning,” says Rowe.

Hussey Seating immediately started realizing the benefits from its new relationship with WGTech. While any individual IT manager can excel in several areas, WGTech’s team has deep expertise in all technology used by Hussey Seating. “Instead of knowledge of one or two people, a managed service agreement with WGTech allows us to benefit from a significant depth of expertise across disciplines,” says Rowe.

Business continuity is improved, as WGTech can deploy and manage the real-time replication of its two data centers. “That is beyond the scope of an average IT manager,” says Rowe. “With WGTech, we get networking, storage, servers, and virtualization expertise. We can leverage them as a team.”

Another benefit has pleased Hussey Seating’s internal desktop-support professional, who originally was skeptical of the WGTech partnership. “We wanted to maintain tier-one support in house, and he was unsure how the escalation to WGTech would work,” says Rowe. “Today, he is a strong proponent – he can actually take a real vacation with WGTech as a back up, and he has experts that come on site all the time so he is learning from them and benefiting from having peers on the job.”

But the biggest benefit is the strategic planning support to help Hussey Seating plan for the future. “I can work with someone at a peer level at WGTech on long-term planning and strategy,” says Rowe. “I can’t know everything, and my role is varied. WGTech brings me the understanding of what is new, what is up-to-date, and where we should be heading strategically with technology.”

Together, Hussey Seating and WGTech are building a long-lasting partnership that supports their day-to-day business while working together for the future. “I don’t want just a vendor, and I don’t want to be just a customer,” says Rowe. “WGTech is a mutual partner and has become an integral part of Hussey Seating.”

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