Blue Diamond Growers

Growing a global market

  • Profilo del cliente

    One of the largest almond and almond products suppliers and manufacturers worldwide, the 3,000 grower-owners of Blue Diamond Growers deliver about 1 billion pounds of California-raised almonds annually for markets domestically and worldwide.
    • Vertical: Manufacturing
    • Location: United States
    • Customer size: 3,000 grower-owners, 1 billion pounds of almonds annually

    Vision

    Enable ongoing leadership in food industry manufacturing.

    Objectives

    • Modernize wireless networking
    • Gain centralized management
    • Support ongoing network innovation

    Outcomes

    • Delivers fast Wi-Fi to 3.3M sq. ft, include 80 acres outdoors
    • Cuts troubleshooting time-to-resolution by 50 percent
    • Eliminates product delivery delays

    A billion pounds of almonds annually

    From a few dozen growers delivering several hundred pounds of crops at its founding in 1910, Blue Diamond Growers has developed into the top-selling brand of almonds and almond milk in the U.S. The company’s 3,000 grower-owners deliver about 1 billion pounds of almonds annually for markets domestically and worldwide.

    “Our enterprise has a rich history of leveraging innovation to produce and market almond products,” said Ryan Funk, IT Infrastructure Director for California-based Blue Diamond Growers. “Today, we rely on mobile and IoT-enabled technologies for moving almonds that arrive fresh from the field through production quickly and efficiently, which ultimately enables delivering the highest value to our grower-owners.”

    Gaining reliable connectivity for 3.3M sq. ft.

    To provide reliable, secure, and streamlined wireless mobility across three multi-acre manufacturing facilities, totaling 3.3M square feet of facilities that include over 40 acres of outdoor receiving areas, Blue Diamond set out to modernize its legacy systems.

    “Our existing Wi-Fi solution had grown inadequate for handling our business needs,” Funk said. “As we wanted a solution with a more reliable track record than our legacy wireless, along with a more robust innovation pipeline, we decided to conduct an extensive Wi-Fi market evaluation.”

    "Using AI-powered Central, we’re resolving Wi-Fi trouble calls 50 percent faster."

    - Steven Barnabas, Sr. Network Engineer, Blue Diamond Growers


    AI-powered, future-ready Wi-Fi meets the needs

    Already partnered with HPE Aruba Networking for providing WAN connectivity between its facilities with HPE Aruba Networking EdgeConnect SD-WAN and HPE Aruba Networking Boost, Blue Diamond considered other leading Wi-Fi vendors but ultimately disqualified them as being too complex, insufficiently mature, or having burdensome licensing requirements.

    “With HPE Aruba Networking’s EdgeConnect, we’d experienced a streamlined, centralized solution that enabled us to save over $250,000 annually,” said Funk. “So, we were familiar with the HPE Aruba Networking technology approach and its innovation pipeline.”

    After conducting a thorough proof of concept (POC), Blue Diamond chose HPE Aruba Networking’s wireless solution anchored by Wi-Fi 6E for indoor mobility and rugged outdoor access points (APs) for seamless connectivity in exterior spaces. To streamline and simplify management, AI-enabled HPE Aruba Networking Central was selected.

    “Central was critical to our decision,” Funk said. “With our ultra-lean IT staff managing multiple geographically-disbursed facilities, it’s essential to have a powerful, centralized, and intuitive management tool that also supports manufacturing standards such as NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) and ISO 27001.”

    Speeding product deliveries

    With its new Wi-Fi in place, Blue Diamond began realizing operational advantages enterprise-wide, with the uptime benefits particularly noticeable during the harvest season.

    “During harvest, we receive semitrailers with crops from the fields 24 hours a day,” said Steven Barnabas, Senior Network Engineer at Blue Diamond Growers. “We stage them outside of our manufacturing facilities, where we complete administrative tasks and conduct quality checks using mobile devices for scanning data into our SAP cloud-based ERP solution.”

    With Blue Diamond’s legacy solution, unreliable wireless connectivity meant data entry frequently had to be done manually, resulting in dozens of trucks waiting for hours before they could empty their contents and return to the fields. Such delays contributed to product quality issues and lost productivity for grower-owners.

    Now, the process is significantly faster, highly reliable, and more streamlined. “Instead of counting on having outdoor connectivity challenges weekly in our receiving areas, we can count on our network being always available,” Barnabas said.

    "The intelligence in our new network enables guest device registration to be self-service, which saves approximately 12 hours of combined IT and visitor time daily."

    - Kyle Russell, Network Engineer, Blue Diamond Growers


    Ensuring food safety and quality

    Once almonds enter Blue Diamond’s warehousing and manufacturing facilities, Wi-Fi continues to play a prominent role.

    “Almonds and almond products are barcoded and tracked extensively as they move through our manufacturing and storage processes to ensure food safety and quality,” said Kyle Russell, Network Engineer at Blue Diamond Growers. “Our production employees use a variety of mobile devices, including scanners, tablets, and label printers, all of which feed data into our ERP around the clock.”

    In addition to enabling the scanners to communicate, Wi-Fi also assists with physically managing and securing them. “With hundreds of devices in use daily, we store and secure them in IoT-enabled cabinets,” Russell said. “This enables employees to access their tools as needed and ensures we can track device utilization.”

    To preserve freshness, almonds require constantly-monitored temperature-controlled cold storage, which is accomplished at Blue Diamond with an IoT-enabled solution from Johnson Controls.

    “It’s imperative for the IoT temperature sensors to communicate continuously as an outage can cause fluctuations that result in substantial inventory loss,” Russell said.

    Hours of productivity gained every day

    From a productivity and worker safety perspective, Blue Diamond’s new Wi-Fi provides numerous connectivity improvements both on the shop floor and for visiting business partners.

    “In addition to employee scanners working reliably, plant operators and managers can now use tablets or laptops to control machinery,” said Funk. “This enables controlling machines where they can be physically observed, rather than at a distance from a desk, considerably improving employee safety.”

    For business partners, gaining approvals to access Blue Diamond’s Wi-Fi is significantly streamlined. “Every day, customers, consultants, and vendors visit our facilities to perform quality checks, complete audits, complete construction projects, or maintain equipment,” said Russell.

    “Before, gaining Wi-Fi connectivity was email-based, often required assistance from our IT staff, and typically took about 20 minutes accomplish,” he added. “Now, with the intelligence built into Central, guest device registration is self-service, which saves approximately 12 hours of combined IT and visitor time daily.”

    "With our ultra-lean IT staff managing geographically-disbursed facilities, it’s essential to have powerful, centralized, and intuitive network management tools."

    - Ryan Funk, IT Infrastructure Director, Blue Diamond Growers


    Trouble calls resolved 50% faster

    In IT, the benefits have also added up. For example, Wi-Fi issues that previously required hours to locate and fix now takes seconds. “The Central dashboard is so intuitive that we can visualize an issue by hovering over an alert—you don’t even need to click through,” Barnabas said. “With Central, we’re resolving Wi-Fi trouble calls 50 percent faster, reducing IT overhead while improving user experiences.”

    It’s a similar story for SD-WAN, where issues that could take weeks to resolve now take minutes. “Using EdgeConnect, we’re not only saving hundreds of thousands in connectivity costs but also a trillion dollars in headaches,” said Barnabas.

    Overall, the ease of use and management savings are enabling Blue Diamond’s IT staff to concentrate on higher value initiatives that relate to enhancing receiving, processing, manufacturing, and distribution processes.

    More innovations in the pipeline

    Looking ahead, Blue Diamond is planning to evaluate additional wireless networking solutions for advancing security and user experience benefits. This includes HPE Aruba Networking ClearPass, for built-in Zero Trust and secure access service edge (SASE) cybersecurity, and AI-enabled HPE Aruba Networking User Experience Insight (UXI), for uncovering network degradations proactively and in real time, before they impact experiences.

    “During our initial evaluation of HPE Aruba Networking we discussed ClearPass and UXI,” Funk said. “They would be a great fit for our environment.”

    Other possible adoptions include HPE Aruba Networking Location Services, for further enhancing operational efficiency, and Private 5G, to complement Wi-Fi and enable extending high-performance connectivity over an even larger area.

    "Adopting HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi provided a reliable, future-ready solution with a robust innovation pipeline."

    - Ryan Funk, IT Infrastructure Director, Blue Diamond Growers


    Transforming the impossible into the possible

    No matter which new networking initiatives Blue Diamond pursues, its HPE Aruba Networking deployment is helping the enterprise continue strengthening its century-old cooperative.

    “The service we’ve received from HPE Aruba Networking has been phenomenal,” said Funk. “The combination of exceptional enterprise Wi-Fi and ongoing support enables us to envision operational and product innovations that were impossible before.”

    Ulteriori informazioni

    The combination of exceptional enterprise HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi and ongoing support enables us to envision operational and product innovations that were impossible before.
    Ryan Funk, IT Infrastructure Director, Blue Diamond Growers
  • Profilo del cliente

    One of the largest almond and almond products suppliers and manufacturers worldwide, the 3,000 grower-owners of Blue Diamond Growers deliver about 1 billion pounds of California-raised almonds annually for markets domestically and worldwide.
    • Vertical: Manufacturing
    • Location: United States
    • Customer size: 3,000 grower-owners, 1 billion pounds of almonds annually

    Vision

    Enable ongoing leadership in food industry manufacturing.

    Objectives

    • Modernize wireless networking
    • Gain centralized management
    • Support ongoing network innovation

    Outcomes

    • Delivers fast Wi-Fi to 3.3M sq. ft, include 80 acres outdoors
    • Cuts troubleshooting time-to-resolution by 50 percent
    • Eliminates product delivery delays

    A billion pounds of almonds annually

    From a few dozen growers delivering several hundred pounds of crops at its founding in 1910, Blue Diamond Growers has developed into the top-selling brand of almonds and almond milk in the U.S. The company’s 3,000 grower-owners deliver about 1 billion pounds of almonds annually for markets domestically and worldwide.

    “Our enterprise has a rich history of leveraging innovation to produce and market almond products,” said Ryan Funk, IT Infrastructure Director for California-based Blue Diamond Growers. “Today, we rely on mobile and IoT-enabled technologies for moving almonds that arrive fresh from the field through production quickly and efficiently, which ultimately enables delivering the highest value to our grower-owners.”

    Gaining reliable connectivity for 3.3M sq. ft.

    To provide reliable, secure, and streamlined wireless mobility across three multi-acre manufacturing facilities, totaling 3.3M square feet of facilities that include over 40 acres of outdoor receiving areas, Blue Diamond set out to modernize its legacy systems.

    “Our existing Wi-Fi solution had grown inadequate for handling our business needs,” Funk said. “As we wanted a solution with a more reliable track record than our legacy wireless, along with a more robust innovation pipeline, we decided to conduct an extensive Wi-Fi market evaluation.”

    "Using AI-powered Central, we’re resolving Wi-Fi trouble calls 50 percent faster."

    - Steven Barnabas, Sr. Network Engineer, Blue Diamond Growers


    AI-powered, future-ready Wi-Fi meets the needs

    Already partnered with HPE Aruba Networking for providing WAN connectivity between its facilities with HPE Aruba Networking EdgeConnect SD-WAN and HPE Aruba Networking Boost, Blue Diamond considered other leading Wi-Fi vendors but ultimately disqualified them as being too complex, insufficiently mature, or having burdensome licensing requirements.

    “With HPE Aruba Networking’s EdgeConnect, we’d experienced a streamlined, centralized solution that enabled us to save over $250,000 annually,” said Funk. “So, we were familiar with the HPE Aruba Networking technology approach and its innovation pipeline.”

    After conducting a thorough proof of concept (POC), Blue Diamond chose HPE Aruba Networking’s wireless solution anchored by Wi-Fi 6E for indoor mobility and rugged outdoor access points (APs) for seamless connectivity in exterior spaces. To streamline and simplify management, AI-enabled HPE Aruba Networking Central was selected.

    “Central was critical to our decision,” Funk said. “With our ultra-lean IT staff managing multiple geographically-disbursed facilities, it’s essential to have a powerful, centralized, and intuitive management tool that also supports manufacturing standards such as NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) and ISO 27001.”

    Speeding product deliveries

    With its new Wi-Fi in place, Blue Diamond began realizing operational advantages enterprise-wide, with the uptime benefits particularly noticeable during the harvest season.

    “During harvest, we receive semitrailers with crops from the fields 24 hours a day,” said Steven Barnabas, Senior Network Engineer at Blue Diamond Growers. “We stage them outside of our manufacturing facilities, where we complete administrative tasks and conduct quality checks using mobile devices for scanning data into our SAP cloud-based ERP solution.”

    With Blue Diamond’s legacy solution, unreliable wireless connectivity meant data entry frequently had to be done manually, resulting in dozens of trucks waiting for hours before they could empty their contents and return to the fields. Such delays contributed to product quality issues and lost productivity for grower-owners.

    Now, the process is significantly faster, highly reliable, and more streamlined. “Instead of counting on having outdoor connectivity challenges weekly in our receiving areas, we can count on our network being always available,” Barnabas said.

    "The intelligence in our new network enables guest device registration to be self-service, which saves approximately 12 hours of combined IT and visitor time daily."

    - Kyle Russell, Network Engineer, Blue Diamond Growers


    Ensuring food safety and quality

    Once almonds enter Blue Diamond’s warehousing and manufacturing facilities, Wi-Fi continues to play a prominent role.

    “Almonds and almond products are barcoded and tracked extensively as they move through our manufacturing and storage processes to ensure food safety and quality,” said Kyle Russell, Network Engineer at Blue Diamond Growers. “Our production employees use a variety of mobile devices, including scanners, tablets, and label printers, all of which feed data into our ERP around the clock.”

    In addition to enabling the scanners to communicate, Wi-Fi also assists with physically managing and securing them. “With hundreds of devices in use daily, we store and secure them in IoT-enabled cabinets,” Russell said. “This enables employees to access their tools as needed and ensures we can track device utilization.”

    To preserve freshness, almonds require constantly-monitored temperature-controlled cold storage, which is accomplished at Blue Diamond with an IoT-enabled solution from Johnson Controls.

    “It’s imperative for the IoT temperature sensors to communicate continuously as an outage can cause fluctuations that result in substantial inventory loss,” Russell said.

    Hours of productivity gained every day

    From a productivity and worker safety perspective, Blue Diamond’s new Wi-Fi provides numerous connectivity improvements both on the shop floor and for visiting business partners.

    “In addition to employee scanners working reliably, plant operators and managers can now use tablets or laptops to control machinery,” said Funk. “This enables controlling machines where they can be physically observed, rather than at a distance from a desk, considerably improving employee safety.”

    For business partners, gaining approvals to access Blue Diamond’s Wi-Fi is significantly streamlined. “Every day, customers, consultants, and vendors visit our facilities to perform quality checks, complete audits, complete construction projects, or maintain equipment,” said Russell.

    “Before, gaining Wi-Fi connectivity was email-based, often required assistance from our IT staff, and typically took about 20 minutes accomplish,” he added. “Now, with the intelligence built into Central, guest device registration is self-service, which saves approximately 12 hours of combined IT and visitor time daily.”

    "With our ultra-lean IT staff managing geographically-disbursed facilities, it’s essential to have powerful, centralized, and intuitive network management tools."

    - Ryan Funk, IT Infrastructure Director, Blue Diamond Growers


    Trouble calls resolved 50% faster

    In IT, the benefits have also added up. For example, Wi-Fi issues that previously required hours to locate and fix now takes seconds. “The Central dashboard is so intuitive that we can visualize an issue by hovering over an alert—you don’t even need to click through,” Barnabas said. “With Central, we’re resolving Wi-Fi trouble calls 50 percent faster, reducing IT overhead while improving user experiences.”

    It’s a similar story for SD-WAN, where issues that could take weeks to resolve now take minutes. “Using EdgeConnect, we’re not only saving hundreds of thousands in connectivity costs but also a trillion dollars in headaches,” said Barnabas.

    Overall, the ease of use and management savings are enabling Blue Diamond’s IT staff to concentrate on higher value initiatives that relate to enhancing receiving, processing, manufacturing, and distribution processes.

    More innovations in the pipeline

    Looking ahead, Blue Diamond is planning to evaluate additional wireless networking solutions for advancing security and user experience benefits. This includes HPE Aruba Networking ClearPass, for built-in Zero Trust and secure access service edge (SASE) cybersecurity, and AI-enabled HPE Aruba Networking User Experience Insight (UXI), for uncovering network degradations proactively and in real time, before they impact experiences.

    “During our initial evaluation of HPE Aruba Networking we discussed ClearPass and UXI,” Funk said. “They would be a great fit for our environment.”

    Other possible adoptions include HPE Aruba Networking Location Services, for further enhancing operational efficiency, and Private 5G, to complement Wi-Fi and enable extending high-performance connectivity over an even larger area.

    "Adopting HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi provided a reliable, future-ready solution with a robust innovation pipeline."

    - Ryan Funk, IT Infrastructure Director, Blue Diamond Growers


    Transforming the impossible into the possible

    No matter which new networking initiatives Blue Diamond pursues, its HPE Aruba Networking deployment is helping the enterprise continue strengthening its century-old cooperative.

    “The service we’ve received from HPE Aruba Networking has been phenomenal,” said Funk. “The combination of exceptional enterprise Wi-Fi and ongoing support enables us to envision operational and product innovations that were impossible before.”

    The combination of exceptional enterprise HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi and ongoing support enables us to envision operational and product innovations that were impossible before.
    Ryan Funk, IT Infrastructure Director, Blue Diamond Growers