800 store wireless LAN roll-out for Sainsbury’s

Date February 5, 2013 Author Comments Leave your thoughts
sainsbury's wireless lan

Ensign worked with Sainsbury’s on an 800 store wireless LAN roll-out

From its humble beginnings in Victorian London, J Sainsbury PLC has become one of the country’s most successful retail brands.

Now with over a thousand stores across UK and Northern Ireland, employing in excess of 150,000 employees and reporting a net income of nearly 650 million (2011), the company seems to be going from strength to strength.

After a poor end to the 20th Century, 2004 saw the company re-evaluate their direction as they invested heavily in new distribution, logistics and staffing initiatives and it was at this time the company approached Ensign to provide wireless LAN infrastructures to hundreds of Sainsbury’s stores across the British Isles.

With the skills knowledge and expertise in this kind of wireless networking to cope with such high demand, Ensign began work on the project, sending engineers all over the country to perform site surveys on nearly 800 Sainsbury’s stores.

In order to keep the project moving at pace that would ensure that the agreed deadlines were met, all of the access points needed to provide each store with network coverage were configured at Ensign’s head office in Dorset.

In excess of 8000 Cisco 1231G access points were configured over a 12 month period, with each set being shipped to each store when ready. The same system was employed to configure the equally large number of Intermec 750 handheld computers and Toshiba SP2 mobile printing devices, totalling approximately 12,000 and 8,000 respectively.

Once the initial 800 store rollout was complete, Ensign worked with Sainsbury’s to provide them with 24/7 on-site support services – taking up-to 60 support calls per month in 2010 and fixing any issues affecting the performance of their wireless LAN infrastructure.

As well as the on-site support, throughout 2010 Ensign provided a swap-out and repair service for all of their wireless devices – coordinating anything up-to 1,600 swaps per month. This service ensured that, should any of the handhelds or printers suffer a technical fault, a direct replacement would be in-store no later than the next business day.

This support service was so successful that Ensign can boast an overall 95% success rate in meeting the service-level agreements identified by Sainsbury’s.

When asked about the most challenging aspects of the deployment and subsequent support service, Paul Barrington, Customer Services Manager at Ensign, said: “Our main challenges were in the logistics. Initially, surveying the 800 stores and delivering the configured access points and after that, managing the swap-outs, which were in the thousands each month.

“However, the Ensign team were more than capable of meeting these challenges and I am proud of our achievements.”

After the completion of the original store wireless LAN roll-outs, Ensign continued to assist the supermarket chain with on-going technical refreshes – replacing various pieces of hardware and ensuring that the wireless infrastructure remained at the highest level of performance.

To find out more visit Ensign @ www.ensign-net.co.uk

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Author Gregg Meade

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