Pinnacle Renewable Energy Logo

With RingCentral, This Green-Energy Producer Is Putting its Operations Further into the Black

“Your platform just handled 15,000+ concurrent calls!”
 —RingCentral client
Company profile:
Pinnacle Renewable Energy, publicly traded as PL on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of industrial wood pellets. The company’s products provide sustainable fuel for renewable electricity generation, used by large-scale thermal power generators as a greener alternative for reliable, renewable power.
Year founded:
200+ employees
British Columbia, Canada

While businesses and governments have increasingly voiced their concerns about the need for environmental sustainability in recent years, Pinnacle Renewable Energy has been working to solve this problem—and making a significant contribution—for more than three decades.

One of the worlds leading wood-pellet producer in the world, Pinnacle Renewable Energy is helping societies across Europe, the UK, and Asia make real strides toward environmental sustainability, by helping their utilities derive more of their energy from biomass products such as wood pellets.
Although the public hears less about this renewable-energy source than solar and wind power, wood pellets provide clean, cost-effective energy to millions of people—and the benefits of this power source are enormous. These by-products of timber manufacturing are carbon-neutral to produce, derive usable energy from forest waste that would otherwise be destroyed, and pose none of the environmental risks that spillable fossil fuels do.
Utility companies around the world are discovering the value that wood pellets can add to overall energy output for their customers, which is why Pinnacle Renewable Energy today has billions of dollars in long-term contracts for its products.
But while Pinnacle was helping the world move away from fossil fuels, one area of the company’s own operations was becoming fossilized—and undermining its staff’s efficiency.
RingCentral logo

Moving the final 5% of its IT infrastructure to the cloud

Neil Lertnamvongwan, Director of Information Technology, points out that Pinnacle has always been a forward-thinking company. As a result, 95% of the business’s IT systems were cloud-based. “Our phone system was the laggard,” he says. “We have locations across British Columbia and Alberta, as well as in the US, and each had its own PBX system with standard telephone connections and copper wires running through the offices.”
Finding a cloud solution for Pinnacle’s phone infrastructure was the logical next step. As Neil explains, one major factor in the company’s decision was the opportunity for cost savings.

Empowering staff to work anywhere… just in time for COVID

Neil’s team had begun migrating Pinnacle’s offices to RingCentral and expedited the rollout when the COVID lockdowns went into effect. Suddenly faced with transitioning all office staff to working from home, the team had to speed up its RingCentral rollout. But even though they were rushed, they had no trouble implementing the company’s new work-from-anywhere communications environment.
“It was perfect timing, and the transition itself was seamless,” he says. “We made sure everyone had RingCentral on their laptops, we gave them all headsets, and we told them, ‘This is now your phone system—and you can use your existing business extension through your RingCentral app.’”
As Neil explains, Pinnacle’s employees appreciated the ease of the RingCentral system, the fact that they could continue using their business numbers, and the many capabilities they had in a single solution. “A lot of people told me they were thrilled that they could now do team messages, SMS, digital faxes, and make phone calls from one app.”
And while online meetings had always been a challenge for the company in the past, RingCentral’s built-in video conferencing solution solved that problem as well, and opened up many new opportunities for team communication.
“We had only a limited number of licenses across a few different conferencing apps, which created problems when people wanted to set up a meeting but had to ask a coworker for their account,” Neil says. “With RingCentral, we were able to say, ‘You don’t have to share licenses anymore. You have your own now, and you can use it as often as you want.”

Bringing the company together

The irony of Pinnacle’s current situation, Neil notes, is that while the company’s employees are physically more separated than they’ve ever been, they’re also communicating, sharing knowledge, and building company culture more than ever. Monitoring the staff’s RingCentral usage, Neil and his team have seen not only a tremendous increase in employee communication but also several creative new ways the company is using its RingCentral tools to stay connected.
“Our HR and safety teams used to hold lunch-and-learn meetings when they could,” Neil explains. “But that meant sending staff to every location, which took a lot of resources, so we didn’t do it often. Now we’re doing those events, as well as other company wide meetings, via video conference — so everyone in the company can participate together. It’s interesting: During a forced shutdown of our offices we’re actually growing closer as a team.”