Oberto

Challenges

  • Move away from controller-based wireless network and provide guaranteed connectivity and reliability
  • Leverage mobile hand-held scanner devices to improve production and distribution operations
  • Manage network remotely across numerous office and warehouse locations

Results

  • Reliable and robust wireless network in place across all locations
  • Product and distribution functions now operate 100% wirelessly with greater accuracy and reduced cost
  • Intuitive network management allows IT staff to easily monitor and configure Wi-Fi

Oberto Brands Selects Aerohive for Enterprise Wi-Fi

About Oberto

Oberto was founded in Seattle in 1918 by Italian immigrants and is the second largest producer of beef jerky in the nation. The company makes and markets more than 400 varieties of dried meat products, with annual revenue of $220M. It offers meat jerky in beef, pork, and turkey versions, as well as snack sausages. All these goodies are sold under the brand names Lowrey’s Meat Snacks, Pacific Gold Beef Jerky, and Oh Boy Oberto! Oberto also sells all-natural jerky using no preservatives or artificial flavors. The company’s products are available nationwide and in Canada through supermarkets and club, convenience, and mass- merchandising stores.

The company is deeply committed to providing the highest quality, best tasting meat snacks. In 2013, Oberto’s Original Beef Jerky was rated number one in Consumer Reports’ taste tests. In recent years, Oberto has expanded production and distribution to meet consumer demand, opening a warehouse facility in Nashville, Tennessee in addition to its Seattle-based operations in nearby Kent, Washington.

The Challenge

Oberto had Cisco equipment in place, but it was in urgent need of an upgrade due to limited capabilities and features. One of the biggest drivers for a wireless replacement was the ability to fully leverage mobile scan devices in warehouse and production environments. With its existing solution, Oberto was unable to use the hand held devices in all locations due to insufficient and unreliable coverage. The company was not able to take advantage of all the features of the software, which was directly impeding production and driving up costs. With plans to double its hand held devices over the next year for greater inventory tracking and management, the company needed a reliable and robust Wi-Fi solution.

In addition, the existing technology was limited to 802.11b. A controller- less solution was a much better option all around to avoid a central point of failure, enable remote management and have a simplified management interface allowing anyone on the IT team to easily monitor and control the network.

Oberto has administrative offices and a production facility in Kent, as well as two brick and mortar outlet stores in the Seattle area. With the addition of its Nashville warehouse and production facility, it valued a solution to host all locations on one network with remote management.

Solution

Oberto considered solutions from Cisco and Meraki, but chose Aerohive for a controller-less architecture that was easy to manage and control from the cloud. The company set up two separate networks, one for corporate use, including the production and warehouse facilities, and a guest network. The guest network uses captive web portal and requires users to agree to terms and agreements page, previously not an option at the time with its previous Cisco solution. The Nashville facility connects back to the corporate network via a VPN tunnel.

Oberto chose AP350, AP330 and AP170 access points to deploy throughout its operations, depending on the requirements for each location. In its production environments, AP170s were the ideal choice because they have to be washed down frequently to comply with sanitization regulations.

While Oberto did not have the network demands of a large number of users or devices, the company needed a large amount of reliable and robust coverage. Its warehouse in Nashville is more than half a million square feet and employees rely on Aerohive to enable inventory and production management, frequently roaming within the building to complete responsibilities.

Enterprise features built in to the Aerohive HIveOS have been helpful for Oberto, especially Spectrum Analysis, which has allowed the company to better troubleshoot and identify areas of interference. Guided configuration settings have made it simple and easy for the company to set up and configure its network across all geographic locations.

Oberto is using HiveManager Online for cloud management and the IT team has appreciated seamless updates and that features are automatically added. Robert Hendricks, System Administrator at Oberto adds, “We have not had one instance where HiveManager was unavailable or experienced issues. Being able to monitor bandwidth, device level, types of traffic and other diagnostics has been incredibly helpful to our operations at Oberto.”

Results

Since implementing Aerohive, Oberto has a comprehensive wireless network in place in all office and warehouse locations, with ample bandwidth and connectivity.

All production and warehouse employees are now using Honeywell Intermec hand held mobile computers that input data directly to its QAD software for soup to nuts inventory tracking, bar coding functionality and data collection. The hand held devices are now used to scan raw meat as it enters a facility, weigh and track the product, and pull metrics after final production, a capability Oberto was previously not able to implement wirelessly. Before Aerohive, these tasks were completed manually, taking more time with less accuracy and greater cost.

At its headquarters location, conference rooms and other meeting areas have reliable Wi-Fi and the company is able to host large events, such as a regional training session for Aerohive users in the greater Seattle area in the past year.

Robert Hendricks has found the Aerohive interface very easy to navigate. “Now I am able to monitor our network and see where traffic is going, which helps us manage our network use and bandwidth availability. Aerohive is extremely intuitive, which helps us leverage monitoring and reporting features, as well as have a comprehensive picture of our network.”

Oberto hopes to soon provide Aerohive APs to remote sales employees who work from home in order to easily connect to the corporate network. Even though some remote employees are not tech-savvy, the IT team could easily configure the APs, and ship to staff for plug and play deployment. While the brick and mortar stores do have Wi-Fi, the company is not yet using wireless to its full potential and hopes to implement Aerohive features and capabilities across more functions in the future.

Adapting for Success

Quality and innovation have guided Oberto since its early beginnings, and it has consistently updated its product lines and flavors to meet customer tastes and demand. It is not surprising the company continues to adapt, adding enhanced mobile technology to its production and distribution processes.

The company chose Aerohive for a controller-less solution with rock solid connectivity, vital for its warehouse and food production operations. “In many ways, we are a very simple company without demand for a highly complex network architecture. However, Aerohive has met and exceeded our expectations, especially when it comes to customer support. A lot of solutions work great, but it’s the little things that make a difference; I wholeheartedly recommend any company requiring enterprise Wi-Fi to check out Aerohive.”

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