Methven New Zealand

Aruba powers award winning New Zealand manufacturer

Methven is a world-renowned multinational manufacturer of beautifully designed, award winning showers, taps and valves based in New Zealand. After experiencing solid growth, Methven was moving into brand new premises to allow for business expansion, with mobile working a top priority for Alan Henderson.

"With a long-term commitment and passion for design and innovation, we were looking to revolutionise the way we work," explains Henderson, Group Information Systems Manager at Methven. "Creating a workspace that centred around mobile working was a top priority for our new precinct."

Seeking a Comprehensive Enterprise Solution

With Methven expanding into a new location, the decision was made to overhaul its IT infrastructure.

With a long-term commitment and passion for design and innovation, we were looking to revolutionise the way we work. Creating a workspace that centred around mobile working was a top priority for our new precinct. Alan Henderson, Group Information Systems Manager

One of the most important areas of focus was installing a robust solution that could seamlessly support staff constantly moving between the office and warehouse – a network that could enhance mobile working, as well as the dense structure of the building.

"The factory has a lot of steelwork and 12 metre high ceilings", explains Henderson. "We required a strong offering that could withstand the dense warehouse environment."

Before the move, Methven originally chose a competitor to complete the wireless implementation. Once the IT team understood the new building structure and requirements, Methven selected Aruba. With the help of its local partner, Softsource they architected a full proof solution with Aruba's pervasive 802.11ac network technology.

"One of the primary drivers for choosing Aruba, was the wireless equipment complemented the environment. The system could cut through metals and ensure connectivity everywhere," explains Henderson.

Pervasive enterprise Wi-Fi system deployed, Aruba Mobile First Architecture meets Methven’s needs

To meet Methven's needs, 802.11ac indoor access points (APs) were chosen to ensure the entire site was covered, to allow uninterrupted coverage.

With HPE's wired solution already in place, Methven would have a unified wireless and wired network, which would meet the needs of the business.

"There is definitely value utilising both HPE and Aruba's offerings, as we're working with one equipment vendor, who understands our needs and can deliver a cohesive solution," says Henderson.

A squeaky clean deployment

An important factor during the deployment phase for Henderson and his project team was the ability to have technology within the new premise up and running as soon as staff arrived into the building.

"From an IT perspective, the wireless deployment was one of the most painless elements of our infrastructure move. The roll out was quick and easy," says Henderson. "Our first discussion occurred in March, we chose the equipment in April, and we moved into the new building in July. It was truly a seamless process."

Invigorating staff with a company-wide wireless networking solution

Another key driver for Methven's IT overhaul was to empower staff to be truly mobile and to implement a new way of working.

"With a strong wireless solution underpinning our IT infrastructure, we have been able to change the way our employees work", says Henderson.

Methven has now moved away from dedicated meeting rooms, with booths, seating areas and spaces created for staff to congregate. There is plenty of space where they can bring their laptops and work anywhere that suits.

These changes have had significant business benefits for Methven too.

"We're certainly seeing an increase in productivity from our staff – opening up the entire building, including the outdoor space with outside seating allowing staff to work in the sun or at the canteen. We wouldn't be able to do this without the network Aruba provides – allowing complete coverage across our entire space."

Underpinning all business functions

Methvens' business benefits didn't stop at staff engagement, with business operations now performing in a more efficient way.

Machinery and equipment in the warehouse also connect to the robust Wi-Fi Network, with the ability for machines to integrate with other products.

"Having reliable Wi-Fi at Methven is critical for our business, as all machinery and staff devices rely on it. Aruba's wireless network connects various machinery, such as the forklift with mobile hand scanning units," explains Henderson.

Methven's ERP System, dynamics AX 2009 also relies on the network, connecting various divisions of the business and allowing staff to gain access to critical information. Extensively used throughout the office and warehouse, Aruba also supports Microsoft Skype for Business, which is an important element for the IT team, as staff regularly connect with the various regions Methven is located.

Prepared for the future

With over 100 guests connecting to the Wi-Fi at any given time, Methven is looking to implement Aruba ClearPass, to automate and simplify the provisioning of network access for guests, and also provide expansive security features that will keep enterprise traffic separate from guest traffic.

Also impressed by the capabilities of Aruba's AirWave technology, Henderson and his team are exploring AirWave to proactively monitor the health and performance of all devices connected.

"We are committed to exploring Aruba's further offerings. AirWave will provide us with the relevant information to allow us to monitor if there are too many devices connecting to one particular AP and easily identify shadow areas, which we will be looking to implement in the future.

"Aruba's robust solution has transformed our business, providing a reliable solution that delivers business benefits, enhances staff engagement and has certainly given the IT team a great sense of satisfaction," concludes Henderson.