Flexipol Packaging

IT Infrastructure Modernisation to Support 24/7 Operations

What problems did they have and why did they need NCS Support Services?

The company had outgrown its IT infrastructure.  Its network cabling system didn’t provide full coverage across the site, leaving some staff without access to important information.

As a 24/7 manufacturer, Flexipol Packaging wanted to ensure that their IT systems were always online and available.  The company needed peace of mind that their systems would be reliable and fully working, even through the night when IT support may not be available.

Why did they choose NCS Support Services?

Flexipol have a progressive approach to IT and review their entire IT infrastructure every 5 years to ensure the technology supports their business plans and company growth.

“It is our company policy to reinvest in the best IT products available for optimal results.  We are very pro-active with our IT and prefer to invest and prevent problems before they occur” says John Higson, Financial Accounts Manager.  He continues, “We have a longstanding relationship with NCS and they know our system inside and out.  We didn’t even approach any other companies to propose on the project as we were confident NCS would provide the perfect solution.”  

What solution did NCS Support Services provide?

As a 24/7 manufacturing facility where employees need real-time access to production data, it was obvious that Flexipol’s IT infrastructure had to expand.  This would allow business-wide interaction across one IT network with the added support of downtime prevention.

This would mean a focus around three main areas:

1.  A review of their company-wide hardware
2.  A restructure of their fibre optic cabling to inter-connect the three buildings
3.  A full rethink of their server infrastructure with a goal of improving on an already-resilient system to support 24/7 operations

More specifically, a resilient network cable structure was drawn up and implemented.  New fibre optic links were installed underground to connect the three separate buildings.  The cabling is all run through Hewlett Packard’s redundant, Layer 3 managed switches.  This provides superfast connectivity for all three buildings into the company’s IT network.

The review of the fileserver infrastructure led to the installation of a new pair of fully redundant HP servers and a HP StoreVirtual/LeftHand SAN solution.  This new hardware investment ensures that the core IT systems stay online and available, even if any hardware fails or a power outage hits the site.  The staff and network don’t even know there had been a problem.

Managing Director of NCS, Carl Nelson added “Our server and storage redundancy protects their core business software applications in real time against hardware failure.  It’s the perfect solution for a business who need to be online 24/7, like Flexipol.”

This large scale project took NCS six months of planning and design, followed by a phased installation to allow for appropriate testing and minimal disruption to the business.

What does the future hold for Flexipol Packaging?

The restructured fibre optic cabling means Flexipol are now utilising fully their line-of-business software, as it is now available to all locations and employees.

The new highly-available servers and storage network mean the company have peace of mind against manufacturing downtime.  There has also been a decrease in IT management time; when updates and patches are released, one server can be temporarily taken off the network and updated safely, knowing the other server node is keeping the business running as normal.

John believes if this project had not gone ahead, they would have been at risk of system failure as the previous hardware was aging and becoming less reliable.  He and his colleagues now have confidence that they have a well-supported system, which protects them even against unfortunate situations arise such as fire or theft, with redundant servers and storage being located in the different units.

Flexipol also now benefit from a regular weekly visit from an NCS systems engineer, who attends site to ensure the smooth-running of their IT operations.

The company continue to review their IT regularly so they can remain ahead in business.  “Reinvesting in IT is not a luxury.  It is essential to prevent equipment failures and we remain proactive rather than reactive” finishes John.

Interested in how NCS can help your company?

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