Heinz condenses 47 varieties into one with voice/data convergence

Food manufacturer Heinz has implemented a converged voice and data network that will bring a 10% saving in operational costs and...

Food manufacturer Heinz has implemented a converged voice and data network that will bring a 10% saving in operational costs and allow a Europe-wide reorganisation of its IT infrastructure.

Under a contract with Cable & Wireless worth more than £3m, separately procured and managed telecoms and local area networks at Heinz's 47 sites in Europe have been replaced with a single network.

Local teams of network support staff have been replaced with a single European IT department. These staff have been redeployed to work on new projects, said Heinz.

Converged voice and data networks have been promoted heavily by suppliers over the past two years but they are still at the early adopter phase.

Heinz said it decided to implement the technology to future-proof the organisation.

Chris Middlehurst, telecoms manager at Heinz, said, "We invited five tenders and all except C&W came back with traditional separate voice and data networks. At the time, converged networks were at the bleeding edge and it was a risk, but we asked ourselves what would be happening in five years and decided this was where we wanted to be.

"The network is managed down to the phone and Lan level as part of the service. Previously, the voice network was managed by the site's HR department and the Lan was managed locally. We have not cut headcount but can now redeploy staff so we can run more projects internally and on a European basis."

Because the company now uses IP telephony, relocations and changes caused by shifting staff can be carried out as "soft" changes, with new connections and configurations delivered over the network.

Quality of service over the IP virtual private network is graded at three levels: "premium" gives highest priority to voice and videoconference traffic; "enhanced" ensures that core applications such as ERP system traffic is dealt with in a timely manner; and "scavenger" applies to all other traffic, such as e-mail.
This was last published in October 2003

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