Kardex Mlog Logistics plans and implements integrated material flow systems and automated high-bay warehouses, complete with control systems for the installations. Its three business segments—greenfield installations, refurbishment and after-sales service—are based on its in-house manufacturing facility in Neuenstadt, in south-western Germany. Mlog currently employs some 300 people and is part of the Swiss Kardex Group. The company’s goal can be summarised in a single statement: to optimise their customers’ logistics processes. Kardex Mlog operates the IT at its Neuenstadt site itself, in close coordination with the group’s parent company in Switzerland.
As a long-standing customer, Kardex Mlog Logistics has consistently come to Bechtle with small-scale projects and orders. The arrival of a new head of IT injected fresh momentum into the company’s IT department, which specialises in fully automated logistics solutions. Aware of the importance of IT for Mlog’s continued success, this new manager personally advocated for upgrading the company’s technological landscape—and for entrusting such an extensive project to Bechtle.
Mlog’s new IT environment was to be modern, highly available, secure and scalable. Bechtle and Mlog held joint workshops to discuss various scenarios, by the end of which Mlog had arrived at a clear goal: it wanted two data centres with mirrored infrastructure to ensure parallel operation of its IT. Moreover, it wanted this technology to adequately serve its purpose for at least five years, complete with warranties and the assurance that the technology in which Mlog had invested would continue to be viable in future.
An initial project was carried out by Bechtle and Mlog to ensure that the prerequisites for the upcoming server and storage upgrade would be met. An analysis revealed that support was no longer available for certain hardware and that Mlog had obsolete data storage and an undocumented network. Added to this were outdated software and antiquated active components. Mlog’s previous IT systems were housed in two data centres that had been updated in the past few years, including with Bechtle’s help. Parts of the environment had been virtualised, but some systems still existed only in physical form. Data storage was therefore not centralised, but rather spread across various server and storage units.
Mlog’s head of IT asked that the project be implemented by the same team that advised him during the proposal stage, as these employees were the deciding factor in his decision to go with Bechtle. They had listened to the IT manager’s requirements, answered his questions, countered his objections and forged a close relationship with him.
Together with Mlog’s top IT staff, Bechtle’s project team reviewed the options of several manufacturers before settling on HPE ProLiant servers and an HPE 3PAR StoreServ storage solution. This choice was influenced by Mlog’s desire to have a homogeneous solution. On this HPE basis, Bechtle automated many of Mlog’s IT-related business processes, thereby significantly simplifying the administration of its tech environment. In addition, Mlog improved its IT performance and is now able to meet new business requirements more quickly. Hardware and software-related costs were also reduced.
Finally, a service plan was established to provide support for the new IT landscape. Every two months, Mlog will receive one day of assistance from Bechtle, with the option of requesting additional support at any time.
Not only Mlog’s IT department, but also its business has benefited from the new IT setup. Revamping its technology has enabled the company to operate and manage its customers’ systems on virtual platforms, using capacities that are flexible, easily upgradeable and equipped with artificial intelligence. In addition, Mlog staff has broadly accepted and is pleased with its smart IT management.