Customer Experience Manager
Balle Bros are one of the largest produce growers within New Zealand. They specialise in the growing, packing, and marketing of high quality produce to the local market and overseas, exporting to the UK and Europe, the US, and Asia-wide.
With close to 30 fields spread from Pukekohe to Ohakune, right through to Canterbury, the lack of fibre quickly became a significant issue for the business. Balle Bros are growing within the export market and via ready-to-go pre-packaged fresh produce as a Business-to-Consumer initiative. Demand for convenient, fresh, high quality produce is growing enormously.
Balle Bros employs between 50 and 60 staff, and that’s without the countless contractors and agronomists etc., who require access to a fully functional and reliable network – all the time.
“The pain point was the lack of real time data out in the field. We’ve got agronomists, marketing, and directors always on the go. Imagine all that data being piped out from a 5Mbps HSNS line – it was a bottleneck. We couldn’t get any real-time data, front or field”, according to Nathaniel Changco, Balle Bros IT Manager.
The existing 5Mbps HSNS line couldn’t cope with the company’s requirements. Balle Bros needed a complete solution that was reliable, resilient, and gave them the ability to communicate seamlessly from head office out into the field.
“There was no fibre presence from Chorus out in Pukekohe, so that was the main constraint. We were stuck with that dilemma”, says Nathaniel.
It was early 2013 when Balle Bros were introduced to Solarix via one of Solarix’s resellers to discuss the details of what was looking like a complex fibre installation and WAN implementation project.
Solarix’s cost-effective Managed WAN Solution was accepted by Balle Bros, and has subsequently enabled them to operate seamlessly and effectively with minimal downtime. They can now focus their efforts on business growth rather than hold ups associated with a congested network and time-wasting activities.
“Now our agronomists, who are always out on the field, don’t have to drive from Ohakune to Pukekohe just to enter key data. With their iPads, they just connect remotely now and there’s no congestion on the network”, explains Nathaniel.
Key benefits include:-
• Zero congestion on the network, network stability, and greater bandwidth,
• Data sharing is now simple. Back office and key financiers have immediate data available. No more waiting,
• Greater research productivity for sales and marketing team,
• Instant response – 24/7 access to highly skilled Solarix engineers,
• Enriched account management and support,
• Cost efficiencies.
Solarix engaged Channel Partner Counties Power to install fibre into the area.
“The differentiator was that we were able to get fibre to their head office in such a remote location. We also helped them by facilitating a fibre run internally (about 500 metres) between the demarcation point and the communications room”, explains David Ferrington, Solarix’s Pre Sales Architect.
During the implementation phase, Balle Brothers acquired Mr. Chips, the Australasian French Fry Potato Processors, and subsequently Solarix integrated fibre and connectivity throughout their premises. Between March and November 2013 there were multiple meetings back and forth and a lot of hands on effort put into the project in a short space of time.
Offering network visibility and immediate response times are integral to Solarix’s Core Service Delivery platform.
“There was a minor incident a few months ago where someone was “hogging” our pipe. Apparently it was a scheduled push, but it was not tweaked properly, so the data was just hogging the pipe. Support put a high ticket on it, and then they provided tools which helped me diagnose, down to the granular level,” says Nathaniel.
“It was amazing! I’ve never met a service provider react that fast. They treat everyone as ‘high priority’. That’s core in any business, and I really appreciate that.”
“One last thing… Balle Bros hand shaking with Solarix for our WAN solution was a big step. It was out of our comfort zone. That has definitely been justified by the service we are getting and the benefits we are receiving from the technology that they have provided – end to end solutions.”