HOW SCALABLE DATA CENTRES HELP MAINFREIGHT’S VISION

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No one can accuse Mainfreight of thinking small. You have to think big to take a local trucking company in New Zealand and grow it to a global logistics giant — one with warehouses around the world.

That bold thinking about growth means they don’t just think five or 10 years down the road.

“The 100-year vision is something that our company founder came up with,” says group IT Infrastructure manager of Mainfreight, David Hall.

“If we invest 50 million dollars in a new facility, we’re not doing that thinking about it over the next 20 years — we’re thinking about that over the next 50 years or so.”

It takes a special team to build such a strong global operation from New Zealand.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on our culture and our people, and we think that’s a differentiator between ourselves and our competitors — both in New Zealand and other countries,” says Hall.

Whether they’re working in customer services, on the depot floor, moving freight, or as a customs agent, the pride is evident and helps the company achieve its goal to be a global logistics company that people can trust.

“That’s made a huge difference in our ability to grow rapidly over the last 35 years,” Hall says.

As a leading shipping company, Mainfreight needed an easy-to-manage — yet state-of-the-art — data centre that would meet present-day needs and support their growing global expansion. The challenge was completing it in three months, from design to implementation.

Schneider Electric modernised Mainfreight’s existing data centre infrastructure in Hamilton. In less than 12 weeks, Schneider deployed a modular, scalable EcoStruxure data centre with the performance Mainfreight needs to run its business well into their future. Expandable UPS, power, cooling, and enhanced software capabilities provide flexibility for future growth. EcoStruxure IT on-premise DCIM solution takes data from connected devices, delivering the analytics and visibility Mainfreight identifies as key to its growth ambitions.

Mainfreight plays a big part in the ongoing economic development of New Zealand. That unique attitude makes the company very particular about who it chooses as partners.

“Schneider Electric isn’t just a vendor, they’re a partner of ours,” says Hall. “As our company also grows and develops we see Schneider potentially getting involved in other parts of our business, whether it is building management, services, or the many other solutions which they can provide as well.”

EcoStruxure software provides Mainfreight with the necessary visibility to maintain the performance and the efficiency of their infrastructure. The software is particularly beneficial on the company’s operations, helping them monitor, manage and maintain data centres that are remote to where IT teams are based.

This goes beyond just modernising systems to be set up for technological advances. It also means collecting data that allows Mainfreight to pursue new services to customers that give them an edge on the competition.

“The ability to provide big data-type analytics on what the business is doing in terms of stock levels and other things like that has become quite an invaluable thing,” Hall says.

Mainfreight’s systems have grown as the company has grown. There’s been a shift from the use of manual systems into automated systems, with opportunities for the use of Electronic Data Interchange to automate the way customers transact with them and vice versa.

“As a logistics company, we’ve become this hub for data moving in and out of our business,” says Hall. “We are developing ways to capture that data, manipulate it, analyse it, and provide something useful back to our customers they can then use to help their businesses grow.”

Modernising for the future and to accommodate where the business is moving with the demands on data storage and analytics, Mainfreight constructed a new data centre in New Zealand which houses all the necessary infrastructure to provide the platform to deliver those exact types of services. Pressed with a tight deadline due to an expiring facility contract, Mainfreight and Schneider worked together to overcome the construction challenges and achieve the data centre build requirements ahead of schedule.

“The speed at which Schneider was able to implement the solution gave us the breathing space in other parts of the project,” Hall says.

With Schneider, Mainfreight has identified a partner it can depend on to help it fulfil its bold promises for the future.

The Results

  • Modernised, scalable and efficient data centre solution• From planning to operation in three months — four weeks ahead of schedule• Full visibility into performance with EcoStruxure IT software and services

    • Peace of mind that the solution can scale with its business needs

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