Industrial Distributor Saves Big and Prepares for Growth
MMCC depends on its Secure Network Foundation to keep its offices connected and always open for business—worldwide.
Customer Name: Metric & Multistandards Components Corporation
For a global company with five offices in the United States and one in Germany, keeping employees and customers in touch at all times is key. Even a short network outage can interrupt e-mail and leave customer service representatives unable to fill orders.
Metric & Multistandards Components Corporation (MMCC), a leading distributor of metric industrial fasteners, depends on its network to power its most important business operations. Business has doubled over the past decade, to US$20 million in sales in 2005. But the company's growth overwhelmed its Frame Relay network, and performance began to suffer. John Bellnier, IT Manager at MMCC, needed a solution that would keep the lines of communication open at his company, and set the stage for future growth.
"I was convinced that our operations were expanding fast enough that we needed to consider investing in our own infrastructure, not only to solve our bandwidth issues today, but also scale to meet our future growth plans," says Bellnier.
Bellnier wanted strong management tools that could give him the control that he needed to respond to problems more quickly.
Although he knew what he wanted, Bellnier needed a plan, and a way to convince management that he could support a companywide network without a huge staff. To keep costs under control, the solution would have to pay for itself with lower operating expenses over the long term.
MMCC worked closely with Hi-Link Computer Corp., a Cisco SMB Select and Premier Certified Partner, to create a network foundation that would be reliable, secure, and cost-effective.
The new Cisco network quickly eliminated MMCC's network congestion, and improved its reliability. MMCC no longer suffers through network outages that stretch for days, and built-in redundancy helps ensure that they will never happen. Bellnier noticed immediately that users have far less to complain about.
"The nature of IT management is that you usually only get comments when there is a problem," he says. "If no one is calling me, everything is good. And if there is a problem, now I can get it addressed, and the system back up within an hour."
The new network is also saving MMCC a significant amount of money by reducing its management expenses. MMCC's new Cisco solution is already logging a yearly savings of more than US$77,000, and return on investment (ROI) took place in just six months—all the while providing better performance.
I did the math, and the previous system cost us US$11,000 a month," says Bellnier. "Our new network costs less than half that for the T-1 lines that we need."
Bellnier chose to contract with Hi-Link for additional support, so that if a problem arises that happens to be beyond his scope, Hi-Link is always available.
"But I need them less and less," says Bellnier. "I just do not have the traumas that I used to have. When there is a problem, I figure out what it is and I fix it. I am the customer, so I get the respect and leverage that I deserve, and I have an answer for management right away."
Bellnier has been pleased with his Cisco network, and encourages other small and medium-sized businesses to make the switch to a self-managed network.
"Do not limit company expansion by thinking you cannot support or afford a self-managed system with limited resources—with Hi-Link as our partner, we were able to show management how quickly we could recoup the cost, and implement a system with far superior performance and a lot fewer problems," he says. "Make your solution Cisco end-to-end. It eliminates blaming others, and if you run into problems, you deal with Cisco service, which is absolutely fabulous."
To build a solution that met MMCC's needs, Hi-Link interviewed management to get a complete understanding of its client's business operations and goals. Hi-Link recommended a Cisco Secure Network Foundation with T-1 virtual private network (VPN) links to connect its sites. The Cisco Secure Network Foundation gives MMCC a flexible communications platform that delivers performance, built-in security, and high reliability.
Cisco Integrated Services Routers deliver the performance that employees need to work together, share information, and communicate with customers and colleagues. To safeguard confidential business information, Cisco security appliances protect the network from unauthorized users and other network threats.
With the blueprint in hand, Hi-Link's consulting engineers sat down with Bellnier and showed him how Cisco's Secure Network Foundation works together to proactively monitor the system and alert him with any issues. The network is designed to give Belliner control and easy remote access to all network equipment. At the same time, routine maintenance is automated, so Bellnier is not overburdened.
In a small business you have people doing multiple jobs in the company, so they usually have a number of different things to worry about," says Bellnier. "The head of IT often does not have a team working under him or her. And it is really difficult for a small business to have a network down when it is trying to generate revenue and increase business."
With its Cisco network running smoothly, MMCC is already working to improve the system by installing secure wireless access at all of its warehouses and offices. Cisco networks are designed to change and grow as business needs evolve, so MMCC can continue to build on its foundation for years to come