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Case Study: Industrial Sewer Cleaning Supplier Future-proofs their Network

Jun 21, 2021

As a nationwide supplier of industrial sewer cleaning equipment, parts and service, our customer prides themselves on one thing: putting their customers first. However, frequent network and voice outages across their 15 branches were negatively impacting their ability to deliver the “premium is standard” service. The unreliable system meant losing real-time visibility into their equipment and parts inventory, leaving them working harder, not smarter, to support their customers.

The Challenge
With a large geographic coverage area stretching across the United States and into Canada, this industrial equipment supplier works hard to stay on top of inventory management. This includes keeping track of heavy equipment like sewer cleaning trucks, excavation equipment, street sweepers and aerial lifts. Their single-threaded MPLS network connection lacked reliability, and with no back-up available, frequent localized outages (sometimes for as long as 24 to 48 hours at a time) made tracking inventory a nightmare.

“Locating inventory—particularly parts for the equipment—and getting it where it needs to be is a challenge on the best of days. Add an outage that prevents real-time inventory tracking, and it’s almost impossible to stay accurate and informed,” says their IT manager.

He also doubted that the system could handle any cloud-based apps the company wanted to adopt, and he was concerned about the mounting costs of maintaining the MPLS connection.

The Solution
The company chose to go with the SD-WAN solution with dual fiber and broadband connections. The active/active configuration ensures resiliency while eliminating network outages. Furthermore, the Dynamic IP voice services allow for call routing and overflow forwarding to better serve customers. Finally, having one vendor for voice and data streamlined the process considerably, freeing up even more time for the overtaxed IT team.

The Results
The new system has helped tremendously from a business continuity and cost savings perspective. The company moved their in-house servers with mission-critical applications to a pair of geographically diverse colocation centers as part of the SD-WAN solution. One site serves as the primary location and the second serves as the disaster recovery back-up. Together, they provide the redundant power and internet connections that they didn’t have before.

The setup improves bandwidth and resiliency, essentially eliminating both voice and network outages. The streamlined system ended up saving the company 15% on overall costs while allowing for better customer service. Best of all, real-time status of inventory has never been better.

One of the benefits of the SD-WAN solution is making use of the award-winning customer portal, which Gravlin admits provides great insights and status checks across their network. “We can get very granular—right down to particular devices—to see potential problems and make adjustments on the fly. It makes troubleshooting simple.”

The customer also notices greatly improved app performance, particularly for uploading and downloading video content used for demos and training. When faced with implementing a remote workforce when the COVID-19 situation evolved, the customer didn’t worry at all about bandwidth or network capabilities.

Moving forward, the company is poised to use their new network to its full advantage to innovate for their customers. They are looking to shift investments from hardware to cloud-based apps and services, and potentially lift the burden of managing services away from their in-house team. The customer is also pleased to continue our partnership due to our thorough direction and responsiveness.

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