Case Study: Sterigenics MPLS Network Solution in China

Sterigenics needed a reliable network solution for their China offices to run their ERP system. The network proved to be very reliable and performance superior to the previous infrastructure.

  • Challenge: Sterigenics needed a reliable network solution for their China offices to run their ERP system.
  • Solution: China Telecom Americas proposed a CN2 MPLS VPN solution with Managed routers.
  • Key Benefits: The CN2 MPLS VPN solution with Managed routers came with SLA covering the congested Trans-Pacific portion between the United States and China. After a quick an efficient installation the network supporting two sites in Shanghai and one in the US has proved to be very reliable and performance superior to the previous infrastructure.

Sterigenics International, Inc Headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, IL, Sterigenics International, Inc., is a leading global provider of contract sterilization solutions and radiation processing services. With 38 facilities across North America, Europe and Asia, Sterigenics is the only company in the world to offer technology in all leading sterilization modalities. As a result of this broad-based network, customers around the world receive the convenience of cutting-edge technology and expert technical support close to their production and distribution facilities.

Sterigenics attracts clients which span multiple sectors and markets, including firms within the medical device, pharmaceutical, and food safety industries. Sterigenics anticipated a major growth in network traffic in their expanding Shanghai activities. The IT Department needed to have a reliable network solution for the China facilities to access their global ERP system. The initial IP circuit was adequate for light usage, but due to the congestion on the public Internet, it was difficult to get the performance they needed from their IP SEC VPN tunnel between Shanghai and the United States. From Shanghai to North America to the heart of the European Union, Sterigenics International is expanding—building new facilities and enlarging existing ones, to bring the latest in technology and increased speed-to-market to medical device manufactures worldwide.

Working Together
China Telecom Americas and Sterigenics began to work together around the same time that Sterigenics was beginning construction on their second facility in Shanghai. At that point, higher bandwidth network solutions were required to support their newly-implemented global enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. The Chicago Office of China Telecom Americas reached out to Sterigenics, the concerns were discussed and a plan of action was developed. Mike Smith, Vice President of IT at Sterigenics, explains: “After describing our application environment and networking requirements, the China Telecom Americas sales team and engineers presented a couple of options, from which we selected the one that would best work for us both functionally and within our budget. China Telecom Americas also understood that we did not have staff on the ground in China, so we required a solution that they could install, monitor, and support.” At the beginning, the service was a 2M IP Access line, which kept costs low for Sterigenics. This level of service was maintained for nearly two years. However, due increased congestion, the IT department at Sterigenics came to realize that MPLS was a better solution for them so China Telecom Americas migrated the Sterigenics network to MPLS.

Solutions that Worked
China Telecom Americas proposed a CN2 MPLS VPN solution with managed routers. This service came with an SLA covering the congested trans-pacific portion between China and the United States. After a quick and efficient installation the network supporting two sites in Shanghai and one in the US (Downers Grove IL) has proven to be very reliable and performance superior to the previous infrastructure. In addition China Telecom configured and installed the routers in Shanghai and is managing these routers proactively through their NetCare service giving Stergienics IT staff the flexibility to focus on other strategic areas in their business while China Telecom does the proactive monitoring. In addition to the MPLS solution, CTA also proposed and provided a backup private line between the two locations in Shanghai so in the event one of the locations fails, the network will automatically reroute to the other location via the private line. This addresses the business continuity for the Shanghai locations and mitigates the risk for any operational and production issues.

In The End
An MPLS solution was selected to connect Sterigenics’ two operating facilities in China; a separate leased line between the sites provides essential backup. Through China Telecom’s services, local customers can now access Sterigenics’ global ERP environment and also utilize an automated data collection bar coding system.

China Telecom’s round-the-clock support and monitoring meant Sterigenics could launch its global ERP environment in China without having to invest in on-site IT resources or a 24-hour operational support staff. Since implementation, China Telecom Americas has been able to continue customizing its service to accommodate Sterigenics’ international growth strategy. Sterigenics credits China Telecom Americas with playing a key role in helping them pave their way to success in China. With the continued assistance of China Telecom Americas, Sterigenics is currently exploring the possibility of expanding to other parts of the Asia-Pacific region, where China Telecom has additional resources to deliver and extend the CN2 MPLS VPN network.

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