With NetApp and KeyInfo, King’s Hawaiian’s data storage is on a roll

King’s Hawaiian Case Study

Overview

King’s Hawaiian started on the Island of Hilo in the 1950s. The family business’ rolls became so popular that in 1977 they came to the mainland and opened the first of two factories in Torrance, California. As anyone who’s been to the deli section of a grocery store knows, the company didn’t stop there. King’s Hawaiian opened an east coast factory in Georgia in 2010, and to keep up with demand, opened a nearly identical one right next door just three years later.

All King’s factories rely on great people, of course, but their process is rooted in science and technology, with complex systems making sure each roll is as good as the first ones that came out of the oven in Hilo over 50 years ago.

“We make products that are 100 percent irresistible,” John Linehan, President, Chief Strategy & Planning Officer at King’s Hawaiian said in an interview. “And if it’s only 99 percent we don’t send it out the door.”

The company produces more than 10 tons of rolls per hour, and has become America’s top-selling brand in the fresh rolls/buns/croissant category, according to Food Business News. King’s just rolled out a line of barbecue sauces, and continues to look for innovative ways to introduce more people to Hawaii’s unique cuisine.

Just as King’s Hawaiian factories rely on state of the art technology that performs as efficiently as possible, so does its IT department. To keep up with increasing demand, and bring its information technology up to par with its food technology, four years ago, King’s embarked on a project to revamp and standardize its IT infrastructure at every level, from compute to storage, and everything in between.

A big part of this project was standardizing all its data storage on NetApp. King’s Hawaiian turned to Key Information Systems (KeyInfo) to help tame its complex storage environment, and their collaboration ensures the IT department is ready for the growth and expansion that is sure to come in the future.

Process

Unlike many companies that go through a time-consuming and complex review process before coming to a decision, King’s had already decided that NetApp was the storage solution of choice before even contacting KeyInfo.

“It didn’t make sense to have every flavor of data storage, it wasn’t a good use of resources,”

Said Luis Cupajita, SVP of Enterprise Program Management and IT at King’s Hawaiian explained. “We already had a large NetApp presence, and our IT team was comfortable with it, so it was the obvious choice.”

Throughout the project, the team’s mantra was to keep everything as simple and easy to manage as possible--and get the most utilization out of every asset they purchased. King’s Hawaiian runs a very lean IT department, with only about 15 full-time resources. Every extra step, every non-essential piece of technology takes valuable time away from projects that are critical to King’s Hawaiian’s business.

And keeping up with that business was no small task. The storage environment is broad-reaching, used for everything from manufacturing execution systems and transaction systems to its legacy ERP and even BI. The company didn’t have to be on the bleeding edge of storage technology, it was more important to get the technology streamlined, so it could turnaround projects for the business side quickly and efficiently.

Benefits

The benefits of standardizing all its storage with NetApp using KeyInfo continues to build. By consolidating down to one data storage technology, King’s Hawaiian has saved significantly on personnel expenses, as the company doesn’t have to hire or contract with people that have specialized skills in each of the storage systems it used to deploy.

With only one technology to maintain, and an expert partner in KeyInfo to help, the IT team has taken back time and money that used to be dedicated to merely maintaining multiple data storage systems, and put that time back into the business.

The results of the consolidation project that NetApp and KeyInfo have been striking. The system as a whole has doubled in size, revenue, and volume over the past four years, growing support requirements equally. The company now reports that they pay half the cost they were initially paying for 10 times the bandwidth.

“We are always looking to get the most utilization out of the assets we purchased,” Luis explained. “This project let us maintain a high-performing, high-availability environment at the lowest total cost of ownership.”

NetApp and KeyInfo have also provided significant peace of mind when it comes to security. King’s Hawaiian recognizes that, no matter how good your security is, there’s no way to be 100 percent confident that your company won’t be hit with an attack. The key is being able to weather it. The disaster recovery and business continuity KeyInfo provides guarantees high availability, and ensures that if an attack hits, King’s Hawaiian will be able to recover fully, quickly.

One unexpected benefit has been the relationship King’s Hawaiian’s IT department has developed with KeyInfo. Beyond helping with NetApp and the data storage aspect, KeyInfo has helped with the discovery and integration of many different technologies, and their impact on day-to-day operations. Never drifting far from lock-step, the synergies between the two organizations allow a seamless proactive approach to planning and execution.

“Of course we appreciate KeyInfo’s competitiveness,” Luis chuckled. “Beyond that, though, they are very experienced and patient, they listen to our needs instead of giving us the hard sell, and they work with us to find solutions.”

The next step in King’s Hawaiian’s standardization project is its complex ERP system. Given all that’s potentially involved in an implementation of that size, that relationship might end up being the most important benefit in the long run.

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