Boating company reduces IT task from 60 to 3 minutes

Beneteau’s tagline is ‘Avant-garde in boating,’ and it has grown from humble beginnings to a worldwide market leader for boats. Their reputation has been earned by successfully evolving the brand with an eye toward designs—unusual, experimental and always beautiful. When outdated technology became an anchor to their reputation, it was time to right the ship with a new solution.

Industry: Boat building/repair
Customer: International HQ: St. Gilles Croix de Vie France, North American manufacturing locations, 8,200+ employees worldwide
Challenges: Outdated communications system, network outages, poor phone quality in manufacturing facilities
Windstream Enterprise Solutions: SD-WAN Concierge™, OfficeSuite UC® , Dual Access, EnGenius cordless phones
Results: Improved call performance, 100% network uptime, increased employee productivity

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Choppy performance

Since their founding in 1884, familyowned Beneteau has been focused on performance and innovation in shipbuilding. Today, they represent 12 unique brands and over 200 boat models from sailboats to yachts. The company’s U.S. operations serve primarily recreational boaters, charter companies and private-use owners and account for about 30% of revenues. In addition to the N.A. headquarters in Annapolis, MD, Beneteau operates production sites in Michigan and South Carolina.

Reliable communications had become challenging for Christian Matthews, network administrator for Beneteau N.A. and his four-person IT team, as their existing PBX system had reached its end-of-life, was costly to maintain and difficult to manage. Making changes or resolving issues meant connecting to the PBX management interface at their French headquarters, which could take upwards of 30 minutes to an hour. Also, the cordless phones they used in their 250,000 square foot warehouses and manufacturing facilities for 70+ DECT users had reached end-of-life, and finding a modern solution was proving to be nearly impossible.

In addition, Beneteau was having problems with periodic network outages. Their MPLS network lacked redundancy to ensure reliable connectivity between their North American locations. When the network went down, they “had nothing.” Beneteau knew they needed to ensure maximum uptime, and they needed a network that would support cloud-based communications services

“Windstream Enterprise assigned a dedicated engineer to help us migrate from our antiquated premises-based phone system to OfficeSuite UC. This was a real value to me.”

Christian Matthews, Network Administrator Beneteau

Righting the ship

Windstream Enterprise recommended cloud-based OfficeSuite UC to replace the outdated PBX system. “Not only is there no premises-based equipment to maintain, but OfficeSuite UC’s intuitive portal centralizes and simplifies management across all our North American locations,” said Matthews.

To solve the handset issue, EnGenius Durafon cordless phones were deployed at the warehouse and manufacturing locations. Built out of rugged materials and featuring exceptional range, the phones are ideal for this type of environment. Employees no longer experience dropped calls, even outside their buildings, or crosstalk interference as they would with other modern DECT solutions.

SD-WAN Concierge replaced MPLS for site-to-site connections. Connections were upgraded to higher bandwidths, and they added second connections for an active/active configuration. To further demonstrate SD-WAN’s versatility, Windstream Enterprise provided an onsite demo of voice failover that was a big selling point, and increased Beneteau’s confidence that the network will always support their ability to communicate with local and international locations

Smooth sailing solutions

OfficeSuite UC has significantly reduced the burden on the IT team by providing reliable communications and enabling them to manage the system faster and easier via their own online portal. What used to take upwards of 30 minutes to an hour, now takes less than three minutes with OfficeSuite UC. Plus, empowering employees to manage their own settings like call forwarding and voicemail has greatly reduced the number of user requests they receive.

Finally, SD-WAN delivered the assurance of uptime and redundancy that Beneteau Boats needed.

Overall, Matthews is very pleased with the Windstream Enterprise solutions. The active/active dual access provided more bandwidth and better performance for data and voice applications and has resulted in 100% uptime since implementation almost a year ago. 

“With SD-WAN and OfficeSuite UC we have increased uptime significantly and reduced the number of end user requests on the voice system. This allows the IT department to focus their time and resources on executing IT initiatives, not just supporting employee requests.”

Christian Matthews, Network Administrator Beneteau

About the Author

Windstream Enterprise

Windstream Enterprise believes people should expect more from their service provider. Our mission: as network, security and application performance become continuously more critical, WE will be the partner that responds to unique customer needs—a pathfinder to help lead them through technology transformation. A trusted advisor to help them connect, transform and elevate their businesses.

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