London – SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed network and professional services, has signed a three-year services agreement with Karro Food Group, one of the UK’s largest producers of pork products to the retail and food service market. The deal, worth more than £450,000, will see SAS take responsibility for implementing and managing a new BT 21CN MPLS WAN across Karro’s nine-site network estate and includes the provision of SAS engineering, project management and technical design services.
Formerly the UK pork division of Vion Food Group, Karro become an independent operator in January 2013, following a management buyout in partnership with private equity firm, Endless LLP. Today, the company is headquartered in Malton, North Yorkshire, and employs around 3,000 people across its sites in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Karro was introduced to SAS, shortly after the acquisition, to help establish a new UK-based network infrastructure for the company and assist in migrating services away from its former network provider. “The old contract was held by Vion so we had to create a separate network anyway but we also saw this as a good opportunity to improve the service we were getting and have a more cost effective solution,” said Adrian Stockill, head of IT and processing. Connecting all nine divisions on the Karro estate, the new infrastructure will be based on BT’s IP Connect 21CN technology with class of service applied for high priority applications such as SAP, RDP and the company’s payroll and attendance tools. BT Net circuits will also be installed at the key sites for Internet connectivity and failover. “The new network offers some improvements in the capability of the links and this will hopefully be a spring board for collaborative tools like video conferencing,” said Adrian. “We’d also like to add unified communications and CCTV in the future and we should now have the bandwidth to deliver these solutions as well.”
As part of the delivery process, SAS will provide technical design authority for the new network, along with network engineering, project management and circuit provisioning. In addition, the finished BT infrastructure will be managed and monitored by SAS from its West Sussex-based NOC. The project is scheduled to complete before the end of December 2013 when Karro can expect to start seeing a return on its investment. However, whilst Adrian is optimistic about the financial benefits the company will gain with the new network, he’s keen to stress that quality is the greater priority. “There will be cost savings from day-one but the service has to be there,” said Adrian. “We have a 24/7/365 operation that is dependent on our network which makes us dependent on our service provider. SAS understood our business very quickly and we believe it will give us the personal service and proactive management we need to get the best performance possible from our network.” “It’s not surprising that resilience and flexibility have always been major drivers for network acquisition in the FMCG sector but in the past this normally meant paying a premium,” said Charles Davis, chief executive officer for SAS Global Communications. “21CN technology has changed all that and is now giving companies, like Karro, the opportunity to buy a network that is both affordable and fit-for-the-purpose.”