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Winsupply redefines collaboration for entrepreneurs with Google Workspace

June 12, 2024
Christopher Schrameck

Senior Vice President of IT, Winsupply

Michael Collins

Director of IT Infrastructure, Winsupply

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Meeting customers where they’re at

Winsupply has supported entrepreneurs in wholesale distribution and technologies since 1956. Winsupply’s mission is to reinvent traditional business strategies to solve modern challenges. That comes through providing both materials for distribution as well as software and business solutions to help entrepreneurs operate their businesses. As more customers embrace the latest technologies—from new procurement systems to digital sales integrations—it’s essential that Winsupply supports the way they want to do business, from developing e-commerce sites to tying their tech stacks back to brick-and-mortar sales locations. Google Workspace is not only core to supporting the needs of customers, it’s at the foundation of how Winsupply connects, creates, and collaborates as an organization.

Modern technology for modern problems

More than 20 years ago, Winsupply adopted a series of solutions and applications that, together, loosely supported collaboration. These tools were great for the time, but as the organization grew, technology goals were reevaluated, and there was a chance to build an ecosystem that allowed IT teams to develop and connect tools with a focus on collaboration. 

This was an ambitious but necessary goal because each of the 650+ local companies Winsupply supports has its own unique challenges and ways of working. Flexible, customizable systems—from email to file management to video conferencing—are required to allow local companies to be entrepreneurial and solve problems their way.

The team explored a lot of different technology vendors, but most of them focused on specific solutions and goals rather than taking a holistic approach to understanding the business. The Google Workspace team said they would “meet the organization where it was,” which aligned closely with Winsupply’s approach to its own customer relationships. Even though the Workspace team had specific solutions in mind, they didn’t want to impose products or solutions. Instead, they came in to learn how Winsupply operates as a business and then provided the tools that Winsupply IT decided were the best fit for the company.

An aerial view of Winsupply's Support Services Campus in Moraine, Ohio

Switching to a new way of working—without the headaches

After choosing Workspace and a few other solutions, Winsupply partnered with Promevo to support the rollout and change management process. The team at Promevo scrubbed the existing datasets, built an implementation schedule, helped the IT team migrate the users and data to Workspace, and provided insight into integrating with Okta (the solution chosen for identity management). In collaboration with an internal project manager, Promevo also helped Winsupply successfully migrate the entire Dayton, Ohio-based support campus and a majority of local companies to Google Workspace.

After any major IT project, organizations expect to see a surge in support questions or challenges. But with Workspace, everything simply worked. The switch was intuitive, and power users outside of IT were able to support colleagues across the business without the IT team having to do much additional work.

To further smooth the transition, Winsupply established a training program that included a wide range of employee resources, including onboarding checklists and video-guided training, to make the transition as intuitive as possible. Following the internal rollout, feedback was gathered to revise the onboarding materials as Workspace was extended to more local companies.

With all of this in place, adoption has exceeded expectations. It also continues to deepen in unexpected ways. For example, Winsupply never mandated or pushed Google Chat, but it’s quickly replacing email for internal, real-time communication and collaboration. Workspace also makes it easy for people to embrace other products across the solution. For example, when employees schedule a meeting in Calendar, the invite automatically adds a link for attendees to join over Google Meet. And if someone imports a file into Google Drive, it automatically opens in DocsSheets, or Slides, depending on the file type. With these types of native integrations and connections, the team doesn’t have to learn new tools or change platforms as they connect, create, and collaborate.

Gemini in Winsupply’s future

An exciting benefit of building a new tech stack with more modern tools is being able to market this innovation to potential employees and users. This includes adopting and showcasing AI features, such as predictive text in Gmail and automatic transcripts in Meet. Winsupply is exploring additional email automation for local companies’ bills of material or product orders. Next, the IT team is looking for places where Gemini can enhance internal processes.

Starting the generative AI project with a few select power users will allow Winsupply to prove how the technology can support teams across the organization. As employees see firsthand how Gemini boosts their productivity and helps them make time for more strategic tasks, it will make it easier for them to provide even more ways for entrepreneurs to optimize their own businesses.

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