Metalweb delivers metal products including aluminium, steel and titanium for high-end applications. It has been part of US-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum since 2007. Metalweb’s customers come from sectors including aerospace, defence, motorsport and medical devices.
Metalweb is based in Birmingham and the business employs around 150 staff at five sites across the UK and turns over around £30 million a year.
The Need for Reliability
Metalweb turned to BTT to assist with improving its networking capabilities. David Vile, I.T. Manager at Metalweb explained the need for a high-quality internet connection became apparent after the business found itself struggling with frequent downtime and latency issues under its old solution.
“We would probably have one issue on a particular site once every two to three weeks. In the worst case scenario, one of our sites was down for three days at one point,” he stated. This was seriously hindering the organisation’s productivity.
In such a competitive industry, this reliability is crucial. “We could lose in one order thousands and thousands of pounds, and that one order could be one customer who can’t reach us instantly, so they will go elsewhere,” Mr Vile stated.
These issues have been completely eliminated since the company upgraded its primary internet connection to a BTT Ethernet solution.
In the first 14 months since installing the fibre technology, Metalweb has not experienced a single minute of downtime.
A Transformed Business Environment
Another key reason for the move was to support Metalweb’s rollout of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, which underpins almost all the company’s activities. Mr Vile explained that deploying such a solution simply would not have been possible without the speed benefits fibre can provide.
“The new business system is completely different than the old one, and will not run over the old network – it’s too slow. So [fibre Ethernet broadband] has enabled us to roll out our new ERP system across all sites,” he stated.
“Our ERP system covers absolutely every part of the business, so pretty much 99 per cent of all our computer users also use the business system,” Mr Vile continued. “It covers everything from sales order processing, through to stock control, transport and dispatch and into accounts as well.”
Without this system, the business would be unable to operate anywhere near its full potential. it, therefore, relies on dependable, high-speed internet connectivity to deliver these tools from Metalweb’s main data centre at its head office to its sites elsewhere in the UK.
Preparing for the Future
In the years to come, key priorities for Metalweb’s communications are likely to include greater bandwidth to meet its evolving requirements. Mr Vile explained the next step for the company is likely to be adding voice traffic to its network via an IP phone system, which will increase the burden on its infrastructure and require strong, futureproofed connections.
But thanks to this new solution that BTT has provided, the company is well-positioned to handle this and any other future requirements.
“They’re very good at what they do. They’re very good at listening to what we wanted.
I’m quite a technical, hands-on IT manager and I know generally what I want. So it was nice to engage with them at a technical level,
that they understood that and we could work closely together to get it bang on.”