Manufacturers are often cited as classic examples of failure to adapt to new circumstances. But the very opposite happened at Greene, Tweed, a privately-held firm, which began as a New York hardware company in 1863. Leather-braided buggy whips were just one of dozens of products Greene, Tweed made in the 19th century; and one of literally thousands it has made since evolving into a sophisticated, worldwide, technologically-oriented manufacturer headquartered in Kulpsville, PA. Today, Greene, Tweed’s elastomers, thermoplastic composites and other materials are widely used in the aerospace, semiconductor, oilfield and petrochemical industries.
Ethan Hill, Greene, Tweed’s Senior IT Manager for Infrastructure, says “When I first started at Greene, Tweed, we were at the nexus of transitioning from a small manufacturing company to a multi-national corporation. As our revenues increased, our IT practices were dramatically changing. We had some advanced IT systems and had just implemented SAP, but there were no such concepts as virtualization or high-speed networking.”
About six years ago, the company brought in Anexinet, an award-winning systems integrator and technology management company with a record of enabling mid-size and Fortune 1000 clients to optimize the value of their IT investments. Anexinet recommends, designs, delivers and supports systems integration with leading technology partners to align IT with a client’s business goals.
“It was the right move at the right time,” says Hill. “We had legacy, siloed systems that didn’t allow us to optimize the resource utilization of our IT capital investments. When I brought in Anexinet, we did an evaluation of the current state of our data center. With their help, we spent several months educating ourselves and management on the enabling systems and processes that exist to take our data center from individual pizza boxes that serve one function, to where we are today with a fully virtualized backend storage infrastructure as well as the VMWare application infrastructure.”
Greene, Tweed’s previous storage silos required substantial manual care and had large amounts of unusable space because they were not shareable. These were replaced with a high-speed fiber-optic storage area network. “This has allowed us to be much more responsive, flexible and adaptive to the ever-changing needs of our growing company,” says Hill. The single greatest effect, he adds, has been the boost in productive manufacturing time made possible by the reduced downtime associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. “We’ve dramatically increased availability of the systems so that manufacturing can have three shifts over the weekend with very infrequent system interruptions. This has also eased the burden on our IT staff.”
Hill gives Anexinet much of the credit for these and other improvements. One thing he appreciates “is the ability for me to maintain a lean IT staff and supplement with specialist consulting when needed.” Another is that Anexinet is “so intimately familiar with our infrastructure, that the ability for them to provide solutions to problems that I identify is hard to match. There is no ramp up time. They’re also able to help me understand industry trends and opportunities for improvement.”
Most important, Hill says, is Anexinet’s dedication to their customers which is “second to none. For example, we had a significant failure of a piece of hardware that was central to our operations while I was on vacation in Disney World with my family. A power outage caused an entire blade center to go down, and I learned about it while waiting in line at Space Mountain. I made one call on my cell phone to the management team over at Anexinet, and two hours later, five of their staff members were on site repairing the problem. Their ability to bring specialist resources to bear and their commitment to their customer was unparalleled.”
“I definitely intend to continue working with them,” Hill concludes. “I have happily endorsed their services to other customers. They are true trusted advisors. I’m looking forward to a relationship with Anexinet for a long, long time.”
by Robert Kim