Logistics Company Designs
New Communications Network

A nationwide logistics company was quickly finding their communications network was becoming obsolete.  Through expansion and acquisition, it was determined a new communications network was required to support current and future objectives.

Network Challenges

  • Local voice services were supported by multiple carriers, had multiple contractual obligations and differed in available features.
  • The VPN network was unstable and lacked the available bandwidth to support future enterprise wide initiatives.
  • The respective telephone systems differed by manufacturer and model. In addition, the systems were aging, many were end of life.  The expected expense to standardize on a phone system across all locations extended the deployment out over three years.
  • There was little valid knowledge of what existed at the remote terminals and the use of the services.

Operational Challenges

  • The organization wanted to move to a centralized call center model to standardize on customer service and support standards, but locally advertised telephone numbers limited that capability.
  • Recent administrative audits identified severe lack of business continuity alternatives which could significantly impact business operations with any extended service outages at the primary location.
  • Each month, the accounting department managed over 100 individual invoices. And, due to the pure volume, there was little review if the charges were accurate.
  • There was limited OPEX or CAPEX available for improving enterprise wide communications due to other priorities.

Network Design

Understanding the operational and network challenges, Orion Communications explored several network solutions provided by multiple carriers.  After a thorough examination of the options, it was decided to move forward with the following network elements:

  • A fiber based data network between the corporate data center and each of the remote terminals.
  • A redundant site was built at one of the other administrative buildings.
  • SIP trunking was deployed at the corporate and secondary data centers, centralizing call flow to each site.
  • IP phones were distributed to each of the remote terminals eliminating the need for remote site telephone systems.
  • Internet access points were implemented at each of the data centers.
  • A cloud based Internet connection was included to support remote terminal Internet traffic.

The network topology that was implemented is illustrated below.

transportation-network

Project Outcomes

Network Services

  • The fiber based wide area data network provided the capacity and reliability to support current and proposed application deployment.
  • The implementation of SIP trunking allowed the customer to eliminate the majority the remote terminal analog lines while centralizing call flow through the corporate call center.
  • The development of the disaster recovery site allowed the customer to fully replicate the primary data center and provide alternate resources should a service outage occur.
  • Available remote terminal bandwidth increased by an average of 325%.
  • Overall Internet enterprise wide throughput increased by 500%.
  • Overall monthly Operating costs increased by less than 5%.

Operational Results

  • With the deployment of the centralized calling, the organization was able to implement a single call center to support their nationwide customer base allowing more than 50 employees across all the locations to be retasked.
  • Because the telephone system only required phone deployment, not complete systems, the organization was able to upgrade the enterprise system in one stage. It also decreased the expected capital costs from $800,000 to $225,000.
  • Monthly telephone bills were either eliminated or grouped to reduce monthly payments from 100 to 7. In addition, monthly deviations could more easily be determined.
  • The build of the business continuity site satisfied most of the concerns driven from previous audits.
  • The addition of future expected terminals was simplified with a general standard deployed.
  • A complete inventory was created documenting the services for each terminal to simplify on-going change management.

Overall, the customer was able to reach its objectives that were expected to be extended over three years into less than eight months.  A portion of the capital costs targeted for the telephone system upgrade were reallocated to the secondary data center.  Although the monthly operating costs for the redesigned network increased slightly, it was deemed that these increases were offset by soft savings.  And, the other outcomes including a more reliable network with greater available capacity allowed the organization the resources to drive their business into the future.