Reliability is critical to further development
Wijngaard Natie, founded in 1864, is headquartered in the port of Antwerp and provides logistics solutions specialising in metals, chemicals, foodstuffs and project cargo. In practical terms, it offers an extensive range of logistics, transport, storage and packaging services to steer their customers' flow of goods in the right direction. In addition to four locations in Antwerp, since 2019 Wijngaard Natie has been running a warehouse complex in the port of Ghent.
Unstable microwave transmission interferes with digital transformation
Initially each of the five locations had a separate Internet connection without underlying fibre optics and high availability was not possible at every location. At headquarters, microwave transmission was also used to create connectivity between the various locations. This microwave transmission, however, proved to be too unreliable in practice for further development. “We were in search of a future-proof infrastructure, suitable for Cloud applications, among others. A stable connection is critical to achieve our goals with respect to the further digital transformation and automation of the remaining manual processes. This next step in our digital transformation sets high requirements not only in terms of availability, but also in terms of capacity and speed," according to Maarten Linden, ICT Coordinator at Wijngaard Natie.
Location independent, centralised working
Arcadiz Account Manager, Walther van Oorschot, adds: "Eventually, a Stretched-LAN fibre ring was chosen between all locations with 1Gb of symmetrical capacity that combines guaranteed continuity and availability with very low latency. In this way, employees, regardless of their location within Wijngaard Natie, can use the same applications with the same user experience, making centralised working a lot easier. The time when everyone worked on the Internet and through VPNs is over. Everyone can now plug into the network and have access to the same functionalities. Another important aspect in this narrative is the rapid detection of issues if they occur. That is why it was decided to take a complete worry-free approach and to purchase connectivity as a Managed Service that Arcadiz proactively monitors 24/7".
Communication is key
"This project's development was relatively smooth," Maarten continues. All unforeseen circumstances, including force majeure due to the coronavirus crisis, were professionally managed so that the project could be delivered on time.
The project also included infrastructure works to build completely separate fibre optic inputs everywhere in order to guarantee 99.9995% availability. This included a number of locations that were more difficult to access, such as, for example, the fibre-optic connection on the quay. Arcadiz and its partners have completed the work very accurately and reliably. We are also extremely enthusiastic about the excellent communication and precise agreements that were always respected within this project".
The decision to choose Arcadiz as a connectivity partner was preceded by a considerable amount of research. A number of alternative solutions and suppliers were also considered, but these did not offer the same rapid follow-up and credibility that Arcadiz was able to provide with its solution, which, moreover, fully fitted into the budget.
For the future, we are taking some valuable lessons on board: for example, we have clearly seen the importance of very early and clear communication between all parties involved so that nothing falls between the cracks. During this early communication, agreements can be made, such as who supplies what type of patchcords, how much rack space, what power supply is required, etc. ... so that the project can also be delivered seamlessly in the final phase.
"Now that everything is up and running, we can move on to the next phase in our mission: rolling out and implementing Cloud applications, including a new ERP package," concludes Maarten Linden. With the new connectivity options, the evolution towards future-proof optimisation within Wijngaard Natie has really begun!