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    The entire network from a single source — Huawei and abtis modernize infrastructure at Wackler

Collaborating with IT service partner, abtis, Huawei modernized and standardized the network infrastructure of Wackler, a transport company based in Swabia, southwestern Germany. The project successfully increased capacity while reducing administrative work.

Transport company L. Wackler Wwe. Nachf. GmbH — Wackler for short — was founded in 1846. Based in the town of Göppingen, Wackler has always embraced innovation. Indeed, it first turned to IT as far back as 1972 — when the industry was known as Electronic Data Processing (EDP) — and its first computer, from NEC, had to be programmed using punched tape.

Today, Wackler’s attention is focused firmly on digitalizing the company's processes. There are two aspects to this work: first, mapping the highly complex processes of a cargo business; second, increasing overall efficiency. "It’s very difficult to find staff," explains Bernd Wagegg, who heads up the IT infrastructure team at Wackler, and the shortage of staff extends to both truck drivers and dispatchers working across Wackler’s two locations: in addition to its head office in Göppingen, Wackler also has a branch in Wilsdruff, near Dresden. The company is planning to open a new high-bay storage area in Wilsdruff in 2021 and the project has a lengthy "to-do" list. Delivery routes need to be optimized. Closer ties with partners need to be established. And process chains need to be streamlined, including the optical measurement of cargo, the dimensions of which can vary greatly — Wackler transports everything from small rattan birdcages to sparkling wine to metal stands for car tires, and sometimes even entire cars.

Overall, Wackler faces three big challenges. Continued digitalization is generating ever-increasing volumes of data. A non-uniform network environment, extending over two sites, creates a lot of administrative work. And it’s difficult to provide WLAN in the planned high-bay storage area.

Digitalization Requires a Powerful Network

A sound IT infrastructure is a priority in the current climate. “If the network goes down, the trucks and deliveries cannot leave the yard,” explained Wagegg. In particular, network performance is critical.

“Each site currently uses 200 cameras to record and measure packages,” said Wagegg. The system links the data generated by the cameras to the scanners used by logistics staff to log packages. Indeed, to increase efficiency, Wackler is currently in the process of switching to 4K cameras, which generate significantly greater volumes of data.

One particularly complex task was finding a way to manage a network that, over decades, had undergone a diverse range of developments and used a host of devices from different manufacturers. For Wagegg, this meant performing a lot of tasks MANUALLY, as well as long journeys between head office and the second site. It was clear what was needed: in addition to expanding the network, the company's equipment pool needed to be standardized to a single manufacturer, to simplify management processes.

The Entire Network from a Single Source

Huawei and abtis created an innovative solution for Wackler. Huawei provided equipment and technical support, supplemented by abtis’s standardized management solutions, significantly improving the efficiency of Wackler’s IT construction. This solution included Huawei eSight, Huawei S5720-52P-PWR-LI-AC switches, Huawei S5720-28P-PWR-LI-AC switches, Huawei S5720-12TP-PWR-LI-AC PoE switches, Huawei AC6005 WLAN controller, Huawei AP4030DN access points, Huawei L-AC6005-8AP resource license (access licenses), and Huawei Hi-Care service support (for all devices). abtis provided managed services, consulting services, and project monitoring services.

Alongside Huawei's extensive portfolio of powerful network hardware, another key factor in the decision to work with the company was the Huawei eSight management solution. “Systems that make it possible to manage diverse network environments are generally very expensive. With eSight, we've found a solution that not only satisfies our criteria, but that is also affordable for a mid-sized company like Wackler,” Wagegg commented. For him, this means that everyday operational tasks have become easier, leaving more time for digitalization projects. In addition to network management, Huawei eSight also supports management of server systems and storage systems.

abtis — a Silver-level Huawei Enterprise Partner based in Pforzheim, employing 85 members of staff — took the lead in network restructuring, starting with Wackler’s headquarters in Göppingen. The company employs six certified Huawei technicians — four LAN specialists and two WLAN specialists — who proved invaluable to the project, since deploying WLAN in a high-bay storage area is no mean feat.

Wagegg collaborated closely with abtis, during planning and implementation. In turn, the IT service provider worked closely with Huawei, and for Wackler, this was a key factor in the success of the project: “I like being able to speak with the manufacturer and I want to know what I'm getting into. We are very happy with how the collaboration with abtis worked. We had access to the right people at all times, and even when the project was completed, we were able to clarify any finer points quickly and easily,” explained Wagegg. "It was a great collaboration, in terms of both the technology and the people."

“We see our ability to collaborate closely with our partners as one of our key differentiators, particularly when it comes to SMEs,” said Henning Czerny, Vice Director of Networking Solution Sales at Huawei Technologies Germany. “This approach allows us to implement innovative solutions for our clients, working together as equals.”