Optimal connectivity is critical for service continuity
ADPO NV (Antwerp Distribution and Product Operations NV) is a private Belgian logistics service provider, specialised in the storage and processing of liquid bulk goods. In addition to tank storage, ADPO also offers a wide range of services in its one-stop-shop concept, including: warehouse storage and barrel filling, container storage and heating, tanker cleaning and transport as well as customs clearance and forwarding.
Major productivity loss due to poor connectivity
ADPO is constantly working on optimising and further automating its customer services. The IT infrastructure is what it is all based on. Nearly all processes are launched from SAP (employees at the various ADPO locations as well as customers have access to this application), telephony runs on VoIP and we have recently started rolling out Office365. In addition, there are many links to external parties, physical security is connected to the network and a variety of company-specific applications are being used.
According to Geert De Zitter, IT Manager at ADPO: "Until recently we used DSL connections for our connectivity. However, we had a lot of performance and bandwidth issues. It was so bad that we were unable to roll out new (Cloud) applications and were more or less at a standstill in terms of development. Therefore we had to urgently look for a solution, but there are few alternatives in the port of Antwerp. That is when Arcadiz came up with the proposal to install a redundant fibre optic ring, using a large part of available fibre optics through the Scheldt River Right and Left Banks. A solution that also proved to be highly cost-effective.“
New fully redundant network
Arcadiz is one of the few that is familiar with all the fibre optic routes of the various suppliers throughout the Benelux. Marc Vandeputte, CTO at Arcadiz, explains: "The fibre optic routes in the Port of Antwerp are the property of different owners and because of their location on the two banks, the relevant regulations are also different. As a result, a considerable amount of coordination had to take place with all stakeholders. Also for the digging of the last part, the so-called last mile, there was a lot of consultation to ensure that no other pipelines, cables or other objects were affected. As a specialist in the field of optical networks, we not only have specific expertise, but also access to the appropriate contacts."
To be able to guarantee full redundancy of the IT environment, Arcadiz has also updated the entire network infrastructure on layers 2 and 3. After having factored in all the wishes and requirements, a high-level design was initially created, which was then further developed into a low-level design. The firewalls, which ADPO rents from an external party, were also redesigned and therefore seamlessly integrated into the new network. "The whole project went very smoothly," according to Geert De Zitter. "Actually, we've hardly come across any surprises. Good communication and close project management are very important in these types of projects. Arcadiz has shown to have in-depth knowledge, which made it clear to everyone what had to be done and enabled us to work together very well."
In the meantime, we have also started transferring the end customers' VPNs.
The total solution is provided by Arcadiz as a managed service. Geert De Zitter adds: "In order to ensure continuity, it is crucial that the IT infrastructure remain up-to-date. We do not have sufficient time and knowledge to do so within our own IT department. Therefore, we are very pleased to have Arcadiz as a partner, who, in addition to delivery and implementation, is also in charge of monitoring (24/7), management and maintenance. Another major advantage is that we now have a single point of contact for everything that involves the network. Lines are short. Everyone within Arcadiz is up-to-date and handles their own part of the project. The service desk is always available and issues are resolved quickly."
Innovation & sustainability
ADPO is a trendsetter in green logistics in the Port of Antwerp. One of the special projects, for example, is the CSP parabolic mirror (Concentrated Solar Power), which was installed in September 2019 and which, through a thermal oil pipeline, also produces steam that is used in heating and cleaning applications.
In addition, ADPO operates an on-site TOTAL CNG/LNG filling station, a green transport fleet of dual fuel trucks (diesel and LNG), LNG trucks and CNG passenger cars and 4,000 solar panels. In the near future this will be expanded with a number of floating solar panels and a wind turbine (application pending).
The new IT infrastructure makes full use of the renewable energy generated by the solar panels.
"With the new network, we're ready for the future," Geert De Zitter concludes. "From now on, we can easily roll out new Cloud applications. But also adding encryption, unlocking our 5th location and moving the disaster recovery site are plans we can implement in the near future. Only a few weeks after we implemented the new network, the coronavirus pandemic hit. Our staff and our customers were able to continue working from home without any problems. Proof par excellence that the baptism of fire was a success!"
More info about ADPO: http://www.adpo.com/