Mobile Warehouse Solution Keeps Operations Center Rolling
Upgrade network operation center with limited on-site storage and facility access
Mobile warehouse with convenient access to inventory
- Reduced costs by eliminating on-site storage
- Simplified site clean up
- Minimized touches, receiving and installation time
Our customer, a network integrator, has extensive credentials in enterprise network services including information assurance and information security, network engineering, and software application and network integration. More than 50 percent of the employees hold national security clearances which means the customer requires an even higher level of trust between itself and its suppliers such as Anixter. This trust proved invaluable during a recent project involving a Fortune 500 company, one of the network integrator’s bigger clients.
Specifically, the Fortune 500 company was upgrading its network operations center. As the center is an essential part of the company’s infrastructure, all the “drops,” or installs, had to be done on the weekends so as not to interfere with the network that had to be continuously running. Also, work was being done during the fourth quarter and had to be scheduled around a number of holidays, which added a level of complexity.
In addition, the company would not allow onsite storage for security as well as aesthetic reasons. Adding to the challenge was the issue of product availability because many of the required components were specialized materials (e.g. patch cords) that would normally be shipped directly from the manufacturer to the network operations center’s location. Anixter saw an opportunity to leverage its Supply Chain Solutions expertise in a way that would meet everyone’s needs.
With responsibility for the Fortune 500 company’s operations center, the network integrator knew that it would be necessary to upgrade the cabling system as part of the conversion to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. Consequently, the integrator was seeking an on-site inventory solution to eliminate lead-times, provide security, lower total supply chain costs, and improve overall productivity and installation for the deployment of these systems.
In all, the initial conversion phase would involve roughly 8,000 drops to be completed in a three-month period. Anixter and the integrator leveraged their collective strengths to devise a plan that would allow the team of 60 installation technicians to seamlessly complete the upgrade with as little impact as possible on day-to-day operations.
The integrator’s project manager said, “The operations center was a high profile assignment that allowed us to demonstrate that we would be able to perform at the level our customers have come to expect, even with the inevitable changes that are part of such a project. Given the thousands of drops we were installing over a three-month period, while only being able to work on weekends to minimize impact on the operations center, Anixter demonstrated its value as a trusted partner that gave us the confidence that we would be able to deliver on our promises.”
Installation technicians would arrive on Friday afternoon and had to be gone by Sunday night, which meant that Anixter had to develop an efficient deployment plan. One of the goals was to reduce the amount of customer product “touches” to minimize human error. Consequently, Anixter developed a mobile warehouse solution that was stocked with all the necessary materials and could be shipped to the company’s site and easily hauled away by Monday morning. The mobile warehouse also effectively addressed security concerns about having materials stored on-site.
Special arrangements needed to be made to account for the fact that work would be done on weekends. Anixter recommended a stocking package that provided enough material so that work would not be impacted by missing parts that otherwise could not be picked up until Monday. The integrator returned any unused product to Anixter and was only billed for the products that were actually used, which provided an obvious financial benefit to the integrator.
Anixter stocked the mobile warehouse in a logical fashion that mapped directly to the customer’s build-out schedule for the weekend. Features of the mobile warehouse included convenient access to the entire trailer, detailed packing and inventory information and labels to clearly identify products.
Product and Technology Expertise
Despite the challenges, Anixter’s advanced planning with the customer made it possible to meet the project’s timetable in a cost-effective manner. Another major part of the project’s success was Anixter’s customized solution that reduced costs by not having to store product. It also minimized customer touches, which resulted in less receiving and installation time since much of the staging was set up in the mobile warehouse. Site clean-up was simplified as well because the items were offloaded in the docking area, which made it easier to haul away any materials that needed to be disposed of.
The project manager said, “The Fortune 500 company operations center was up and running by the deadline and came in under budget. Anixter’s Supply Chain Solutions were an integral part of the process.” Going forward, the mobile warehouse solution is already being considered for other phases of the operations center project. Successful projects like these make it possible for customers to take advantage of Anixter’s expertise in defining best practices when using Supply Chain Solutions for technology deployment.