Reliable uptime supports productivity and online sales
With an online-only retail operation backed by an internet-enabled data center and warehouse, Hanna Andersson was acutely aware of the risks associated with network downtime. Bigleaf optimized network connectivity at all three locations, to keep the company’s entire e-commerce operation up and running without disruption.
Hanna Andersson depends on e-commerce and ERP
Hanna Andersson is a children’s lifestyle brand with a longstanding reputation for top-quality apparel. The children’s lifestyle brand began selling from a catalog in 1983, and later established 55 retail stores and 11 outlets.
Beginning in 2019, the company pivoted to an online-only sales model and closed all its brick-and-mortar stores. Hanna Andersson’s 400 employees now manage the entire operation from three U.S. sites: headquarters offices in Portland, OR, a data center near Seattle, WA, and a Louisville, KY, distribution center.
Hanna Andersson’s e-commerce system is both an online catalog and a retail sales venue. The website is supported by the company’s ERP, which manages inventory and fulfills orders. Hanna Andersson also relies on critical business applications, including Office 365, other SaaS applications accessed via the cloud and hosted by Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
Challenge: Risks and costs of internet downtime
Network downtime is a direct cause of lost productivity, according to Tony Velasco, Director of Infrastructure and Operations for Hanna Andersson. The data center and warehouse are especially sensitive.
“If connectivity goes down at our data center, every single employee is affected,” Tony explained. “Our IT team is inundated with support calls, because no one is able to work,” he continued.
Internet connectivity issues in the warehouse can cause even more disruption. Even when a circuit doesn’t fail completely, intermittent outages or performance degradation can disrupt an entire shift.
When Hanna Andersson relied on a single circuit or a manual failover process – which was the norm before Bigleaf – an intermittent outage could cause a temporary shutdown. On at least one occasion, the entire warehouse staff was sent home for the remainder of their shift due to internet performance issues.
Losses would be especially acute during the holiday season, when the company’s distribution facility runs 24 hours per day, including 3 hours of unmanned order acceptance and processing.
Solution: Bigleaf reduces risk of downtime, ends “fire drills”
Tony evaluated several network optimization and SD-WAN solutions before choosing Bigleaf. Ease of use was a key benefit. Tony was also relieved to find that Bigleaf works outside the firewall, so there was no need to change the company’s established security policies, technologies, or vendors.
Since introducing Bigleaf, Tony doesn’t need to worry about internet downtime or performance optimization. Bigleaf keeps Hanna Andersson’s internet connections up and running, and all business-critical applications perform as expected.
Bigleaf fixed serious issues automatically, before they affected Hanna Andersson’s network operations. In a recent review of his Bigleaf Web Dashboard, Tony learned that there had been an outage on a main circuit that serves the company’s Seattle-area data center. That outage could have caused a downtime event, but Bigleaf corrected the problem seamlessly. For a company with 400 employees and an untold number of customers, even a few minutes of lost productivity and lost sales could have entailed significant costs.
Earlier in the year, one ISP’s line had recurring performance issues and a series of outages. That ISP serves the Hanna Andersson distribution center in Louisville, but thanks to Bigleaf, there was no impact on business operations. Bigleaf monitors circuit performance constantly and directs network traffic automatically to the circuits that are best suited for each application. That dynamic adjustment improves the quality of service so applications and services work as expected.
Result: Bigleaf saves Hanna’s time, money, and brand reputation
“Bigleaf saves my IT team so much time,” Tony said. “Instead of spending hours troubleshooting and resolving problems, we can look at the Bigleaf Web Dashboard to identify and address the source of a faulty connection,” he explained.
When the problem originated with an ISP, Tony presented that ISP with evidence from the Web Dashboard to show where and how the issue could be addressed.
With Bigleaf’s help, Hanna Andersson can now deliver an outstanding customer experience, enhancing the brand’s reputation for quality and reliability. The company was recognized by Newsweek in 2023 with a second-place award for customer service among online retailers of children’s clothing and products.
“We wouldn’t have achieved that recognition without Bigleaf,” Tony said.