With over 1,500 employees distributed across more than 15 manufacturing facilities in the United States and Canada, Scale Computing’s manufacturing customer is one of the leading food manufacturers in North America. The company is a large, multi-billion dollar food manufacturer and marketer of branded and custom made food items, and to say that their operations are both complex and interdependent would be a vast understatement. The company manufactures more than a thousand individual product SKUs and produces over three billion pounds of finished goods each year. In addition to manufacturing a broad array of food products, the company also manages the packaging, labeling, and distribution of products for a range of customers that include wholesalers, suppliers, and restaurants. With a global pandemic destroying supply chains and budget uncertainty looming, the customer’s IT leadership was eager to embrace the public cloud.
The company’s Director of IT Infrastructure oversees a team of just nine full-time staff members, who together spend their days maintaining a patchwork of aging IT systems to ensure business operations keep running with minimal disruption. Says the IT Director, “as a food manufacturer, we have to squeeze efficiency from every corner of our infrastructure. And because our profit margins are razor thin, we are constantly being asked to do more with less. However, we spend so much of our collective time just trying to keep the lights on, that it’s pretty challenging to find the time to think strategically about how IT can transform the business.”
Scale Computing Helps Bridge the Cloud Gap
The maturity of public cloud services has been a game changer to resource-strapped industries, enabling them to offload the burden of IT management, and maintain a focus on their core business. But for all public cloud’s advantages, there remain numerous practical concerns, such as network and application latency issues, which can introduce a variety of risk factors to everyday operations.
For this large food manufacturer, downtime was simply not an option. Because so many of their critical enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are so intertwined with other core operational workflows, even a small amount of downtime could quickly bring other systems to a grinding halt. As the company explains, “we have print functions that are contained within the ERP system which are used to produce bills of lading for delivery trucks. If a truck with perishable items gets stuck at the staging area waiting for a print out, it has a ripple effect that hits our bottom line.”
Recognizing these constraints, the IT leadership began investigating new approaches that would effectively shrink and standardize their IT footprint, enable their small team to remotely manage these resources, and provide the automated redundancy their business required. When they came to learn about Scale Computing’s solution, they quickly realized it would serve as a practical bridge between these two disparate operating models. “Scale Computing is our hybrid cloud solution,” the IT Director says. “You pick a technology that starts you down the path. Maybe you begin with site-to-site recovery, then you move to cloud recovery and with every step, you are minimizing your dependency on the physical equipment in your facility.”
My advice is that if you're trying to simplify your environment, and also position yourself for whatever that next level of compute infrastructure may look like, you have to look at Scale Computing.
Scale Computing Simplifies Remote IT Deployment
Implementing an IT modernization initiative is a challenging endeavor in the best of times. Doing so in the midst of a global pandemic, where only workers deemed ‘essential’ are allowed inside a facility, makes it all the more challenging. This is why the IT team was excited by the simplicity of deploying Scale Computing HC3 infrastructure to their remote facilities.
Scale Computing’s solution offered the client a simplified deployment, meaning the limited IT staff did not need to travel offsite. From a cost perspective, manufacturers look at IT spending through a different lens than other industries. Capital expenditures for equipment are significantly higher and subject to different depreciation schedules – all of which has a direct impact on the investment lifecycle. Scale Computing’s HC3 provided a low entry cost point and fast ROI, in addition to the easy scalability needed to meet future network demands. The company has realized other significant sources of savings from their initial deployment. “In just one location, we anticipated having to stand up no fewer than 10 VMware virtual machines which represented an immediate savings of $30k, not to mention several thousand dollars in certification and training fees.”
As the IT Manager says, “My advice is that if you're trying to simplify your environment, and also position yourself for whatever that next level of compute infrastructure may look like, you have to look at Scale Computing.”
Learn more about Scale Computing and how we’re helping manufacturing organizations simplify their IT infrastructure.