Understanding the challenges
T. M. Lewin and FluidOne had worked together for many years when the fashion company needed to look at its network to support an expansion into Australia. In addition to a flexible network to support this expansion, the company also wanted to improve reliability of its head office Wi-Fi service.
Their priority was the quality of the solutions as in many respects the expansion would be reliant on them. The new stores’ till and stock systems needed to feed back into the UK head office from Australia to ensure that they got all the support they needed to thrive.
It required a simple process that mirrored the current UK network, while increasing speeds and bandwidth for a UK staff Wi-Fi solution in head office.
In order to meet the demands of the growing business, FluidOne put in place an IPsec VPN to the UK-based network as a simple and cost-effective option. This was supported by a managed MPLS Network in Australia to ensure seamless connectivity with the head office. In addition, the Wi-Fi network at head office was upgraded to allow additional bandwidth to cope with the employees’ reliance on mobility.
The new network enabled the successful opening of stores in Australia and has automated the supply chain. In the retail industry it is essential that stores open on time with the correct stock otherwise it simply becomes a cost centre. FluidOne delivered the project on time, which guaranteed that opening could go ahead as planned.
While suppliers are based globally, all orders go through the systems in the UK so the VPN and MPLS are crucial to ensure a seamless connection to create cost savings and efficiencies in stock control.
The timing was extremely important as any delay could not only cause financial damage but also reputational damage as the brand launched in a new market. FluidOne appoints a dedicated Account Manager who is involved in the sales process right through to implementation and go-live date, rather than each process being handled by a different team. As the Account Manager understood the specific needs of T.M. Lewin and was able to deliver on them and work closely with Head of IT, Paul Huntington to deliver all aspects of the project.
Due to the IPsec VPN and the managed MPLS working together, the UK head office and the Australian stores work flawlessly together delivering data. In addition, the combination has increased the security of the network.
FluidOne worked closely with Australian telecommunications companies to assist in delivering services to T. M. Lewin. By giving choice to the retailer, the Account Manager was able to reduce costs while still delivering high quality Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These SLAs offer access to a 24/7 network operations centre with onsite engineer support. With FluidOne managing all these relationships it meant that the company doesn’t need to spend additional time liaising with providers directly.
The growth in Australia has seen the opening of multiple stores, all of which have connected easily into the current system and comply with the PCI DSS meaning that future international expansion is possible.
Paul Huntington, Head of IT, T.M. Lewin said, “ FluidOne has made it possible to connect seamlessly into a stable AUS Data MPLS which has been critical for T. M. Lewin in its success. They have been excellent in delivery both in the UK and AUS ensuring the network just worked first time.”