Vital Connectivity Between Widespread Locations
Headquartered in Seattle, Charlie’s Produce has a multi-state distribution network with centers in Los Angeles, Boise, Anchorage, Portland, and Spokane. Core IT is provided centrally from Seattle with an IT team of 12 looking after the needs of some 1,000 employees. Each distribution center has dedicated purchasing teams who coordinate the procurement of local products and collaborate on regional and international purchases.
Efficient connectivity with these sites, which are thousands of miles apart, is critical for the daily operation of Charlie’s Produce and historically it was based on MPLS telecom links with aging routers and switches.
Forty years of continued growth has seen Charlie’s Produce become the Northwest’s leading organic produce supplier and this evolution is based on innovation and technology that is woven into everything the company does. However, networking was one area where this was falling down.
“Our failover was not robust enough to provide adequate bandwidth for our remote sites,” says IT Technician, Jason Worthen. “When this happened, it would lead to outages for those sites until proper devices and circuits were back in place. With all of these network issues, expansion and growth provided a challenging task for us.”
Failures of this kind were particularly serious because Charlie’s Produce deals in fresh produce with 24×7 operation.
“We really have no windows when we can go down. Even in the middle of the night when other companies would be fine until morning comes, we just can’t afford any kind of downtime,” says IT Operations Manager, Dan Hudson.