Country Lumber

  • IT Services

The Problem

Country Lumber is a locally owned and operated family business that has been serving the Langley, B.C. area since 1981. Known for its focus on strong client relationships, the company supplies lumber, hardware, and building supplies as well as a broad range of value-added services to meet custom needs. IT systems are essential to Country Lumber’s daily operations. System administrator Catherine Hoeppner supports two locations: a busy retail store in Langley and a lumber yard in Aldergrove. Reliable network access is especially critical because Country Lumber has a team of mobile salespeople with iPads and laptops who use VPN tunneling to connect to company servers. “When we first set up our network, we couldn’t get ADSL out at the Aldergrove location so we went with a cable connection,” says Hoeppner. “That meant dealing with two different network providers and supporting different network equipment at each site.” When Country Lumber’s contract with its Internet supplier came up for renewal, Hoeppner saw an opportunity to review the company’s networking requirements. Automatic failover was at the top of her list, along with faster connectivity and reduced complexity. When she was researching options, one of her contacts mentioned a positive experience with Smartt’s failover solution. Since Smartt already hosts Country Lumber’s email, Hoeppner got in touch to learn more about other services.

Our Solution

Smartt proposed a managed service consisting of ADSL with automatic failover to cable. This offered a streamlined network configuration with the same, standard equipment at both locations. This was far more cost-effective than the failover solution Country Lumber’s incumbent provider had proposed, which was a T-1 connection. “Our system diagram went from looking like an octopus to a nice, simple box,” Hoeppner says. “During the first month after the switchover we kept the connections to our other providers in case of problems, but everything went very smoothly and we had a very clean switchover.” With the same configuration at both locations, network management procedures are now consistent and much simpler. The monthly cost of the managed service is about the same as what Country Lumber paid before, but according to Hoeppner they are getting much better value from Smartt. They have a failover solution, faster access, and peace of mind.

The Result

Hoeppner now finds the network much simpler to manage. Just as importantly, however, users are happy with the changes. Users in the Shipping department sometimes experienced very poor performance when they accessed the main database via VPN tunneling. This was more than an inconvenience – it slowed down productivity. “Once we switched to our new managed services from Smartt,”Hoeppner says, “those users noticed a huge increase in speed when they began entering orders into the database”. Another benefit is that Country Lumber’s inventory process has become more efficient, thanks to fast and reliable network access. Because of slow network speeds, staff taking inventory at the Aldergrove yard used to bring documentation to the Langley office for data entry. If there was a discrepancy, they would drive back to the Aldergrove location to double-check; now they can deal with the entire inventory process all at one location. “Working with Smartt has been a positive experience all the way,” Hoeppner says. “Our transition was very smooth. I hardly ever need to call their Support desk, but when I do, it’s nice to have a real person answer the phone and then stay with you until the problem is resolved.”