Global Pharmaceutical Company Saves Six Months and 14% on Network Infrastructure Build
In this case study
- Client reduced project timeline by six months using WWT labs to streamline testing and configuration.
- Client realized faster time to market, cost savings and risk reduction through lab and integration services.
The manufacturing industry is undergoing massive change, much of which has been driven by geopolitical discourse, supply chain disruption, local sourcing and new production strategies. A leading global biopharmaceutical company tapped WWT, their long-time technology solutions partner, to help them capitalize on these market opportunities by investing in a substantial capital project.
The vision of this expansion project entailed building a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical campus that included new plants and multiple buildings. At the time they engaged WWT, the company was facing mounting challenges in executing their vision — challenges that included a chipset shortage, lengthy IT lead times and pandemic-driven supply chain constraints.
Their digital transformation vision also called for incorporating automation and digitization technologies into their network strategy, architecture and infrastructure to serve as the foundation of the new manufacturing facility. With leadership approval to invest, it was up to the IT and OT teams to execute the vision. Any delay in network infrastructure readiness would inevitably impact most, if not all, business go-live plans for the new plant.
Moreover, the company's own internal rigorous network change control process was pushing up the boundaries on the plant construction timeline, which entailed careful network change planning and execution. The company required all deployments be built to simulate manufacturing operations in a like IT environment prior to cut-over when feasible. Plus, the network needed to meet internal and external compliance requirements and align with prudent cost controls in order to avoid budget creep and change orders.
WWT partnered with the biopharmaceutical's IT and OT teams to identify and execute innovative solutions to their business challenges and requirements, including leveraging a purpose-built, full-scale simulation environment in our Asia Integration Center (AIC).
Our team quickly kicked into gear, working around strict architectural guidelines to:
- Design and pre-build the plant network in our AIC at the same time as during plant construction. The purpose was to create an identical environment for testing prior to go-live.
- Specify, order, receive, test, stage and assemble more than 500 pieces of technology, including 160 LAN switches, 300 access points, wireless LAN controllers, multiple firewalls and thousands of patch cords and small form-factor pluggables (SFPs).
- Coordinate with the client's manufacturing equipment providers to establish logical and physical LAN designs that allowed the new OT infrastructure to integrate into the new Enterprise Network backbone through OT/IT firewalls. This included functional testing by connecting to the client's network and testing through the OT firewall.
- Connect the testing environment in the AIC to the client's network using Meraki SD-WAN with 4G LTE for full solution simulation. Upon review and approval by the network and security management teams, the connectivity from the AIC to the client's network was established in just two days due to the creative use of Meraki SD-WAN and 4G technology.
By mimicking real-time production and leveraging 4G mobile data connectivity instead of expensive leased lines, WWT was able to test change control processes and enable engineering compliance testing. All of the pre-configuration and simulation work was done in accordance with end-state topology.
Saving time and money and enabling faster time to market
WWT was able to support our client's objectives, strategy and digital transformation while providing multiple benefits, including:
- A six-month time savings for the client as we built and tested the environment during plant construction, solving complicated configuration issues and eliminating any dead-on-arrival (DoA) product constraints.
- Due to supply chain pressure and ongoing price increases, our AIC enabled the client to pre-order the network equipment for the new campus and start the build process offsite. The client's network infrastructure manager acknowledged that they would have paid about 14 percent more for the same products if they were to wait for their requirements to be finalized given OEM price inflation.
Our solution enabled quicker time to market along with cost savings while mitigating risk for the company in many ways, including prevention of DoA equipment; solution assurance through simulation testing; the avoidance and mitigation of uncertain equipment delivery times; and the delivery of a pre-configured, pre-tested solutions that expedited project implementation.