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Case Study: Manufacturing Company Builds for the Future

Jun 21, 2021

As one of North America’s largest manufacturers of building products and materials, it takes more than brick and mortar to be a leader in modern building materials. With a service footprint that includes all 50 states, they could not tolerate any signs of structural weakness in their network. They turned to external experts for a solution that would put them on a solid foundation for the future.

The Challenge
As a major corporation built by numerous acquisitions, the company was very decentralized for its size. It was an amalgam of locally-operated companies, each retaining its core identity and maintaining its name and unique attributes. Each company acquired also retained its own network infrastructure, and IT management continued making technology decisions independently. At the corporate level, they were missing out on the benefits of standardization, simplification and automation.

The organization engaged our Professional Services team in 2017 to do inventory and document the company’s dispersed IT assets. From that initial success, we earned the status of a trusted partner and began participating in monthly and quarterly planning strategy sessions. This deep collaboration enabled a better understanding of business needs and issues such as the company’s ongoing problem with local service going down at random sites. Service outages meant lost revenue because many orders were taken by phone. The problem was amplified by a lack of network redundancy.

Diverse and reliable connectivity was essential for the company to realize benefits including greater employee productivity and process automation. More bandwidth was required to support security camera surveillance and other latency-intolerant applications.

To ensure future growth would be enabled—and not inhibited—by the network, the company’s leadership knew that enhancements were needed. They also wanted to centralize and standardize network services to achieve a lower total cost of operations. Our Professional Services team met directly with the CIO to prioritize the company’s goals and develop a plan to exceed them.

The Solution
The Professional Services team inventoried all network and voice systems by visiting all locations to document access connections, CPE and phones. They uncovered an extensive and expensive MPLS network. Twenty-five people were dedicated to network operations yet lacked the necessary visibility and tools to transform data into information for well-informed decision making. The Professional Services team prepared a six-site SD-WAN proof-of-concept (POC) project designed to demonstrate the tremendous benefits that could be realized at more than one thousand sites in North America.

As one member of the IT team noted, “By offering us Professional Services first, with no promise of a network sale, it really established trust. We were impressed by their understanding of the challenges created by our complexity. Working together, the proof-of-concept enabled all of us to tailor a solution that met our business goals.”

Following the successful POC, the company deployed SD-WAN and voice services to more than a thousand locations in the U.S. We helped the firm centralize and standardize by upgrading to UCaaS, replacing two problematic voice platforms with one integrated, cloud-based voice system.

The Results

  • By synchronizing a well-integrated implementation of SD-WAN, UCaaS and voice services, the company achieved reliability, visibility and control, in addition to significant savings.
  • Rapid installation and flexible network design, customized to each location by the Professional Services team.
  • Alternate network access for increased bandwidth and resiliency.
  • The customer online portal provides real-time statistics on the performance of every application, including bandwidth usage, down to the individual IP address/user.
  • End-to-end access and network management via a single vendor, yielding significant operational and financial efficiencies.
  • Today’s challenges were overcome, and the company is positioned for continued success.

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