Following a change in ownership, Brownes had to quickly migrate and revisit its IT architecture, while continuing to support the full operation of the business.
Industry: Food Manufacturing
Solution: Data Networks, Internet, Data Centre, Unified Communications and Cloud Backup
Following a period of foreign ownership, Brownes was purchased by a private equity firm in 2010. The sudden shift in ownership meant that Brownes not only had to deal with the divestment from its previous owner, but almost overnight, they had to migrate off IT infrastructure that was being run from New Zealand.
So, not only was Brownes faced with a full migration, they had to completely revisit their IT business model, and quickly. According to the IT Manager, Brad Flintoff, “it almost needed to be set up as a greenfield site but with all the same legacy applications.”
An additional challenge was the need to support the continuation of not just some, but all functions of the business, from fulfilling and delivering orders, to running the factory SCADA systems, moving the milk off the tankers, putting them through the factories and facilitating pasteurisation, not to mention packing and automated warehousing.
Brownes also required an agile system that could be scaled across business units with the acquisition of award-winning West N Fresh Gourmet Yoghurt and Casa Dairy.
“The capabilities and reliability of the new system has freed up some of my time, meaning I can focus on the things that really matter, like managing my teams and delivering the best outcome for our internal customers.”
Brad Flintoff, IT Manager
The underlying principle for Brownes selection of their infrastructure and technology partner was reliability. Brad put it candidly, “if we go offline for an extended period, we stop supplying milk and the shops will start running out. Survivability is key - cows never stop giving milk!”.
To ensure the best outcome, Brownes spent quite some time aligning IT goals to what the business wanted to achieve and compared proposed solutions. In the end they chose Vocus because the company could support their entire infrastructure and offer the support Brownes needed throughout the migration process.
Vocus assisted Brownes to deliver a fully virtualised IT infrastructure, supported with a VCE VBlock converged infrastructure, the first of its kind in Western Australia. The solution supported integrated SCADA, factory automation, ERP, office and production systems as well as an end-to-end electronic receivals, scheduling, production and despatch.
All IT infrastructure is now located at Vocus data centres, with diverse fibre linking back to the Brownes sites for reliability. With the relocation to a data centre, Brownes replaced their Alcatel on-premises PBX system with a hosted and managed service provided by Vocus, further improving efficiency.
Flexibility of user access is supported with the use of Cisco Thin Clients, which delivered true virtual access and gave the IT team high degrees of control, and a very low overhead laptop and desktop fleet to service.
For Brad, the highlight was having the design and implementation done in a very short time frame. Within six months the whole environment was up and running and they were able to implement new business processes. Additionally, one technology partner provides Brownes one point of contact.
Since implementation Brownes hasn’t had a single unplanned infrastructure outage, helping the business run smoothly. The acquisitions of Western Fresh and Casa Dairy have been “seamless”, with the business taking on and integrating different systems and applications quickly.
In addition, there has been a significant reduction in IT operating costs with no significant, unplanned capital outlay for physical infrastructure.
IT staff can now spend more time adding value to the business, with fewer resources needed to just keep the lights on. Brad noted the IT environment has been popular with staff as remote access from anywhere in the world helps improve flexibility and productivity.
As a result, there has been a massive uptake of the new systems straight away and no downtime during the migration.
“The capabilities and reliability of the new system has freed up some of my time, meaning I can focus on the things that really matter, like managing my teams and delivering the best outcome for our internal customers.” highlighted Brad.
For all the work and investment in the environment, Brad says he sleeps comfortably at night knowing that he won’t receive panicked midnight phone calls saying the servers are down. Surely, a great result for any IT leader.
Enter your details below and we'll get back to you.