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Just two years ago, ICT was Contraload’s problem child. Today, the company regards ICT as an essential enabler for further expansion. Contraload strongly believes in the concept of ICT as a Service, with Arxus – an Uptime Group company – as its partner.
Contraload offers pooling solutions for load carriers, such as plastic pallets, layer pads and containers. The company developed its activities around a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. Contraload’s objective is to make supply chains in Europe greener and more efficient. All of the company’s load carriers are made of plastic. They have a longer life cycle and are easy to clean and reuse. In this way, Contraload’s approach fits perfectly within the concept of the circular economy. Contraload’s customers include companies that are active in various industries, including food and chemical. Contraload supplies the load carriers with which a customer transports his goods. If required, the company also takes care of the cleaning, repair, and recycling of load carriers.
Besides its headquarters in Aartselaar, Belgium, Contraload also has offices in Birmingham, Milan, Barcelona, Istanbul and Paris. The company’s sales team works throughout Europe.In total, Contraload has about 130 employees. “We have experienced strong growth in recent years”, says Finance Director André van Slooten. “The company is evolving so fast that we needed a new, formal ICT strategy.” The analysis of the role of ICT at Contraload showed, among other things, an urgent need for connectivity: not just between employees, but also between employees, customers, and suppliers. Next to that, ICT proved to be essential for the company’s differentiation.
The Internet of Things – including the real-time tracking and monitoring of load carriers – offers a huge opportunity. Finally, ICT also helps reduce the paper flows that are still quite common in the transportation business. Electronic invoicing and reporting, for example, contribute to Contraload’s focus on sustainability.
“We developed a new vision on IT, based on a digital workplace, digital products, and digital services”, says ICT Manager Raf Fonteyn. “At the same time, we decided to keep IT lean and mean by involving an external IT partner for infrastructure and implementation services.” Contraload’s partner of choice is Arxus, an Uptime Group company.
Arxus started working on Contraload’s infrastructure: getting the basics right, with an upgrade of the server park, the roll-out of new PCs, laptops and mobiles running Windows 10, Office 365 and Android the migration of the existing application portfolio to web applications, and a complete overhaul of the company’s ICT security. “We have about twenty servers, which are now all running at Arxus in the cloud”, Mr Fonteyn continued. “To guarantee our business continuity, three Internet lines are provided.” If employees were perhaps a little sceptic about IT in the past, that feeling has completely disappeared. “The IT environment was outdated, and the employees witnessed a couple of security incidents. But that was then. Today, employees enjoy working with new devices and applications, resulting in more collaboration, a higher level of productivity, and increased service to customers.
Recently, Contraload acquired a British company. The ICT environment allows for the smooth integration of that new business. “The great advantage of Arxus is that it acts as our single point of contact for Uptime Group’s complete range of expertise”, Fonteyn added. For the implementation of network and security at Contraload’s new sites, the company worked with Interligo, also an Uptime Group company. “Step by step, we are rolling out Cisco Meraki.”
On a Cronos Group level, Contraload also found the expertise it needed for the implementation of the Dell Boomi integration platform and the BI tool Tableau. “It is essential to keep our business growing”, said van Mr van Slooten. “ICT is indispensable, but at the same time we strongly believe in ICT as a Service.” Whatever ICT need Contraload has, there is always an Uptime Group company that offers the right solution. For Contraload, this new take on ICT has strongly increased the company’s agility. Just a few years ago, IT was Contraload’s problem child. Today, ICT is an important business enabler. “The company’s mindset has changed completely”, van Slooten concluded. “ICT and business now work together to find new opportunities. ICT provides the foundation that allows us to keep growing into new business areas. ICT offers the ability and scalability we need. ICT is no longer the bottleneck that used to hamper our expansion.”
In the industrial and manufacturing world, there has been an extraordinary amount of digital innovation going on in recent years, so the need for specialized IT people is growing. Koen Rutten graduated as an electromechanical engineer, quickly went to work as an IT professional. With Cronos4Industry
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