Logistics Company Enlists Key Information Systems for Disaster Recovery and IT Efficiency

Logistics Case Study

Overview

An international logistics company with three terminals in the U.S. wanted to ensure business continuity for its communications and operations systems. One of the logistics employees had built the organization’s primary application from the ground up on IBM i, which ultimately consumed his main function with health checks and maintenance rather than innovation. Since the team heavily modified the IBM i-based app over the years, the organization had to overcome new obstacles to keep it running. The client was combating inefficiencies in the application as well as daily fire drills, which tied up its experienced employees. The delays started to cascade in to the logistics operations as well as the reporting that accompanied ongoing activities.

In 2015 the logistics company made the conscious decision to shed as much customized IT infrastructure as possible, and outsource the operations to strategic partners. The organization sought trusted partners to monitor and maintain anything from their networking systems to their IT disaster recovery. A longtime client of Key Information Systems (KeyInfo), the company looked to its IT partner for ways to eliminate the application upkeep and consolidate its IT infrastructure.

The Process

Over the course of several years, KeyInfo outfitted the logistics company with critical IT infrastructure it relies on today. Within the last six years, the company also transitioned much of its infrastructure to automated processes. The logistics system’s sensors could notify laborers and coordinate machinery for properly placing containers according to the day’s schedule and manifest of who would pick up the incoming goods.

Beyond monitoring and maintaining the infrastructure to support the automated systems, KeyInfo also began testing the logistics environment with disaster recovery services for the client. About a year ago, the company declared a true disaster. A critical component failed on one of the client’s systems; additionally, it was an uncommon piece that would take more than 24 hours before the part would be available from the manufacturer. On top of that, the company would require additional time to install and implement the component. The logistics company’s ability to process everything in the port ground to a halt.

The Result

With the help of an effective DR system in place, the company could work with KeyInfo to recover operations in less than an hour. Due to the speedy recovery, the logistics company avoided tens of thousands of dollars per hour in labor, operation and productivity loss. Rather than daily firefighting, the organization has been able to free up the equivalent of two full-time developers’ attention on the application. In turn, this increased the amount of freight the client could handle each day. The company now has a resilient infrastructure to handle emergencies as well as the many ship manifests, communications, and goods coordination.

As a result of outsourcing the infrastructure upkeep and DR to KeyInfo, the logistics company has also been able to dramatically streamline processes. The infrastructure automation also brings the logistics client to the forefront of its industry. Due to the heightened risks and stringent safety requirements, the computerized processes can react quickly to changes, improve laborer security and avoid potential six-figure public safety fines. If logistics change on the fly, an automated crane can prepare for a truck arriving an hour earlier than anticipated by moving containers around to bring the desired load to the top of the pile. Since the upgraded systems provide the logistics company with accuracy up to the inch, it will also save rent expenses and space in the port. Thanks to KeyInfo’s expertise and flexibility, the logistics client will also enjoy modernization, massive customization and lower barriers to cloud adoption and digital transformation in the future.