Case Study: BraunAbility

Beth McFarland
Pingboard doesn’t take much to understand in order to get going, maintain, or to use. That was huge for us. Beth McFarland | Training Specialist

In the 50 years that Braunability has been operating, they’ve grown from a small, family-based business running out of their founder’s garage to nearly one thousand employees spread across several locations. It’s the kind of long-term success most companies can only aspire to.

But as the business continued to grow and spread out, leadership found themselves struggling to stretch the intimate, personal feel of a family business over their fast-expanding employee base.

“We had grown so quickly that we had lost touch with who everyone was,” explains Beth McFarland, a Training Specialist at BraunAbility. “We were no longer an organization where you could just go to the person next to you and find out what you needed to know.”

Organizational Blues

That problem was quickly becoming more than just a cultural one; operations were beginning to suffer, too.

With so many offices, finding the best person to contact had become a time-consuming problem. Employees would often have to call three or four of their peers before they finally found the person they needed.

The only tool available to help navigate each department was a paper org chart that was out of date almost as soon as it was printed. With hundreds of employees, accurately tracking who held which role at any given time was virtually impossible.

“With our steady growth, the org chart was constantly being updated and reprinted,” Beth explains. “It was a nightmare to maintain.”

As a company that thrived on giving their customers their independence and freedom back, having a process that inhibited their own staff ran counter to what they stood for.

“It was also unwelcoming to our new hires and remote employees,” Beth explains. “We wanted to change that. We wanted them to feel excited that they were here and they were a part of our family, and the systems we had in place didn’t support that any longer.”

We had grown so quickly that we had lost touch with who everyone was.

A Simple Solution

Beth was assigned to the team tasked with finding a solution that could help BraunAbility reconnect employees, cut costly delays and help restore that small-business culture that had helped them grow in the first place. She evaluated several options, but none of them adapted well to what BraunAbility needed.

“We looked at a full-blown intranet system,” Beth explains. “But we weren’t interested in that. We needed something simple; something we could get running quickly.”

That’s when Beth came across Pingboard. She was immediately impressed.

“The look and feel was very modern, very fresh, and very welcoming,” Beth says. “Pingboard is a system that doesn’t take much to understand in order to get going, to maintain, or to use. That was huge for us.”

A big win for BraunAbility was that Pingboard could be set up without needing to divert resources or time from their busy IT department.

“It was crucial for us that Pingboard didn’t take any time from IT to get set up. We didn’t need any special knowledge or time commitment; the app basically builds itself.”

A large part of that easy implementation was thanks to Pingboard’s Customer Success team who carefully walked Beth and her team through every step of the process, working to ensure that the rest of BraunAbility’s employees responded to Pingboard as positively as Beth’s team did.

“We had a couple of conference calls where we went over what Pingboard could do and how we could use it to accomplish our goals,” Beth says. “That planning up front made the setup and installation very easy on us.”

We needed something simple; something we could get running quickly. Pingboard didn’t need any special knowledge or time commitment.

Rekindling the Sense of Family

Shortly after implementation, Beth started to see the impacts Pingboard’s employee directory and org chart were having – especially with new hires.

“It was so great for new and remote employees,” Beth says. “They finally had a tool they could go to in order to find the information they needed instead of always having to rely on others.”

The communication bottlenecks were steadily clearing up as more employees tapped into the resources Pingboard put at their fingertips.

More importantly, Pingboard had helped restore that intimate, friendly environment that had been so integral to BraunAbility.

“Pingboard really helps maintain our close family culture and connects our remote locations,” Beth says. “It’s brought us all together and keeps us connected.”

And as BraunAbility continues to grow, Beth remains confident it was the perfect solution.

“Pingboard was what we needed and more than we expected,” Beth says. “It allows us to connect, to understand the roles we have; it takes our family culture and adds a virtual aspect that connects those who aren’t local.”

While BraunAbility won’t ever be run out of a garage again, they’re pleased to know that close-knit feeling won’t dissipate as the company keeps growing into the future.

Pingboard really helps maintain our close family culture and connects our remote locations. It’s brought us all together and keeps us connected.

BraunAbility is the world leader in wheelchair vans, wheelchair SUVs & wheelchair lifts. They have been changing what independence means to wheelchair users since 1973.