Understanding the challenges
Burns Pet Nutrition approached FluidOne to address issues it had been experiencing with its wide area network (WAN). As the company grew and the number of outlets and sites it worked with expanded, the WAN was unable to keep up.
Added to this, as every site was very rural, speeds were slow, resulting in day-to-day processes taking a long time, and reducing productivity.
In the local area in South Wales there had never been a good telephone connection so one of the drivers for upgrading was the provisioning of VOIP. In addition to solving the connectivity issues it would also deliver costs savings.
Previously, each of the four main sites were connected to a managed WAN via copper services, including an ageing SDH circuit for the main office. These four sites were able to talk to each other, but all their satellite sites – including the farm, pet shop, garage and sales people – had standalone Internet facing ADSL. To be able to network with these sites, additional DSL services were needed at the main sites in order to create a VPN. The VPN was also used by remote sales representatives to connect to the network.
Burns Pet Nutrition wanted to connect all the sites and all the reps together on the network in order to continue its growth. In early 2015 Burns Pet Nutrition plans to roll-out a new Yappy solution with Sage ERP X3 and the previous WAN would not be able to support it.
Above everything else, Burns Pet Nutrition needed a network that could scale and grow as fast as it did.
In order to meet the current demands of the business and enable future development, FluidOne installed a private wide area network (PWAN) solution using a mixture of Ethernet and Fibre connectivity.
A centrally hosted Cisco firewall allowed not only every connected site to talk to each other, but also for Internet breakout through the same network..
Each site had very different requirements for bandwidth and uptime, therefore a variety of technologies and carriers was used. All core sites required resiliency to ensure continuity of the ordering and stock management system, a business critical application. At each site either Ethernet Fibre or EFM was delivered with a second resilient route into the PWAN in the case of an outage.
All satellite sites were also connected into the PWAN using ADSL. As sales people moved and changed, these sites could be added and removed from the PWAN with ease enabling scalability.
All sites needed to be able to access the main server bank at headquarters in Kidwelly and data held at the warehouse. With the PWAN in place, the teams have been able to be more productive while also modernising how they work.
The fully managed PWAN solution met every requirement. Every site had a connection into the network that was tailored for that sites’ specific business function, whether a store, warehouse or headquarters. Reducing the number of connectivity lines made for an easier to manage the network, with vastly improved visibility of Burns’ own network. The centralised Internet breakout allowed the company full control over Internet usage across the entire business.
The roll-out was project managed in order to ensure a smooth transition from the old network. An always-available dedicated Account Manager allowed easy communication throughout the project, and a hand-on approach from an experienced Network Operation team meant that the network was set up exactly as the client required.
Each site and service was in place under its own short-term contract so that when newer technologies reached the rural sites, the network could be upgraded easily and without hefty cancellation clauses.
The new network’s functionality has enabled the company to look at projects that were previously pipedreams – iPads for sales people that are connected into the network via 3G, company-wide Wi-Fi using Meraki and VoIP telephony. Burns Pet Nutrition is now also in a position to go ahead with the planned Yappy solution roll-out early in 2015.
Giles Morgan, Network Support, Burns Pet Nutrition said, “With the FluidOne PWAN, connectivity between the sites is greatly improved meaning we can write bespoke apps and even share printer functionality. We haven’t had any major problems since we went live but even if we did the support from FluidOne all the way through has been great. Just knowing they are a phone call away is peace of mind enough.”