- Replace its existing Wi-Fi hotspots with a networked WLAN, to enable secure roaming for staff and guests, between design studios, offices and warehouses
- Reduce time spent managing and remediating on-site WLAN connection issues, in order to free-up resource within the IT department
- Offer staff and guests custom access profiles for personal and corporate-owned devices.
- Controller-less architecture and cooperative control delivers intuitive, reliable experience for users, and dramatically reduces maintenance for IT team
- Easy application of profiles for staff and guests, personal and corporate-owned devices, enabling effortless roaming across company estate
- HiveManager Online enables IT team to manage and monitor entire WLAN from any device and any location.
The VeldhovenGroup Fashions Seamless WLAN from Aerohive
Based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, The VeldhovenGroup started in 1950 as an importer for various clothing producers, before establishing itself in 1980 as a fashion house. Its four brands – NONO, Sandwich, Turnover and Stills – are globally acclaimed, and exude the company’s mission to “supply premium-quality European fashion all over the world via an organisation in which product quality and service to business partners and consumers are of an excellent level”. The VeldhovenGroup’s aim, and the essence of its vision, is to ensure operational excellence.
The creative heart of NONO, Sandwich, Turnover and Stills beats in Amsterdam. Here, a team of highly qualified designers work on the concepts, designs and artwork. The management and marketing/ communication departments are also based in Amsterdam, and the company’s distribution centre is located nearby. Today, The VeldhovenGroup has more than 1600 employees.
In-house creativity and attention to detail is paramount to The VeldhovenGroup’s success. The company’s employees are dedicated to the slick design, marketing, sales and distribution of its brands and routes to market.
Behind the scenes, the company’s back office team operates with the same vision – the seamless integration of ICT infrastructure with core business processes essential, and drive for efficiencies, without compromising quality, relentless.
Rene Bennekers, ICT coordinator at VeldhovenGroup, took responsibility for assessing how the company could better utilise its wireless network.
“We had a wireless network at our offices, design studios and distribution warehouse, but these operated individually – none were networked. The Wi-Fi at our distribution warehouse had a management platform, though this was not accessible via the internet. The remaining Wi-Fi hotspots required on-site maintenance. “This made it difficult for staff to utilise Wi-Fi when visiting multiple sites and, with the emergence of iPads and smart devices, was increasingly a problem for prospective fashion buyers that expect guest access whilst visiting our business. Together, these challenges really stretched operational budget.”
Taking into account the IT team’s management challenges and user expectations from Wi-Fi, Bennekers compiled a wish list of objectives which included secure, seamless roaming between sites for both personal and corporate-owned devices; automated task management and central operations portal, and minimal hardware.
Bennekers and his team initiated a process of research and analysis into WLAN solutions in the market. At this point, Haagcom, The VeldhovenGroup’s provider of telephony services, suggested Aerohive.
Assessing each solution on price, flexibility, complexity and architecture, Bennekers was also interested in each vendor’s relationship with its partners. He explains; “It’s important to us that there is a good support mechanism for our IT infrastructure. From experience, a vendor that invests in its channel throughout the lifetime of a deployment, helps create an environment for success.” Following the initial assessment process and a subsequent pilot conducted over a six week period, Bennekers and his team selected Aerohive’s controller-less WLAN solution. The nature of Aerohive’s WLAN architecture was a key selling point.
“We considered traditional controller-based as well as the latest generation of WLAN infrastructures, to compare which would provide the greatest long-term opportunity for the business. In every test, Aerohive delivered the best performance,” said Bennekers. “Its network topology is highly intuitive, helping create a reliable experience for users, and was really easy for our IT team to implement – including integration with existing systems such as our Alcatel Lucent telephony infrastructure. Moreover, there is significantly less hardware to install, let alone maintain.”
Once Bennekers’ decision had been made, the Aerohive solution was implemented into The VeldhovenGroup’s offices within a few days. A short time after, HiveAPs were deployed into two warehouses, where the primary devices used are handheld barcode scanners and wireless headsets for voice picking. Within the office environment, the WLAN supports notebooks, smartphones and tablets, and a private and guest network available.
“The ability to create multiple access and security profiles for individual users or types of device is really useful. Staff can move from office to warehouse to design studio, without needing IT support, and can also use personal devices if they so wish. The fact that our CEO doesn’t need to log in with different credentials in each of our offices is invaluable!” adds Bennekers. Integrated network-based mobile device management functionality allows the IT team to create profiles per user and per device, helping safeguard the network, and which also requires just a single log-in for users. Having implemented Aerohive’s WLAN into offices and warehouses, the biggest benefit to the IT department has been HiveManager Online. “The cloud-based management system brings great flexibility to the IT team, enabling them to access and maintain the WLAN from any location and any device. It has a very simple interface from which the team can easily remediate issues relating to either the Access Point or device,” explains Bennekers. “We’ve experienced only teething problems since deployment, which were quickly ironed out with Haagcom and Aerohive’s technical team. Otherwise, performance has been fantastic.”