Case StudiesSnack Brands

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Snack Brands Australia is a young, 100% Australian owned and operated company that in mid 2008 acquired some of Australia’s iconic snackfood brands such as Thins, Samboy, CC’s, French Fries, Cheezels and more. Each of the brands have a truly unique Australian history and hold a special place in the minds and hearts of many Australians. Combined with The Real McCoy’s range including Jumpy’s and Burger Man, Snack Brands Australia has experienced strong growth since 2008 and is now ranked number 2 in Australia within the snack foods category.

CIO Paul Knox joined the company in June 2008 and with his team, set about putting in place the new IT infrastructure and applications that were needed by the company to move forward in the fast moving FMCG industry. After a thorough search through the IT industry, Harbour IT was selected to partner with Snack Brands to implement the new IT strategy. Since the implementation, Harbour IT has continued to monitor and manage the Snack Brands IT infrastructure. With people and warehouses in every state to support Snack Brands also utilises the Harbour IT Help Desk services on a 24/7 basis.

Snack Brands runs Microsoft AX as its ERP application and although it has been proved to be a very robust and reliable application, its hunger for disk space was becoming apparent. The speed in which it was dealing with the thousands of transactions expected of it was starting to slow and this was impacting on the data entry staffs ability to process orders in a timely manner. An additional problem for Paul was that Snack Foods was only half way through its normal cycle time for IT spending (2010) with funding for a refresh some two years off and a large asset (Servers) still remaining on the Balance Sheet.

“Unbudgeted spending of over a million dollars mid way through a 4 year IT spend cycle was not going to be a good option”Paul Knox,CIO, Snack Brands

After consulting with the team at Harbour IT and working through the various options that included a traditional approach of installing larger more powerful servers in house, it became obvious that the indicative capital spend would exceed one million dollars. Furthermore, that spend would only provide some of the technology that would be needed over the next 3 to 4 years . At this point, Harbour proposed that Snack Brands move part of their platform to the newly built Harbour It Cloud service as a hybrid model. No capital was necessary and Snack Brands could move to a monthly operational expense subscription model resulting in a “pay as you go, pay as you need” outcome.

The major benefits that Snack Brands have enjoyed include;

  • Greater capacity in terms of the level of disk space.
  • Increased speed of applications that has solved the problem of slow order entry and an increase in the operational capacity of data entry staff.
  • Greater reliability.
  • Increased back up facilities.
  • A better Disaster Recovery option.
  • The remaining equipment was able to remain in house till the completion of the current IT cycle (2012).
  • “Ease of mind. knowing that you have access to a massive infrastructure if and when you need it” (Paul Knox)

Paul noted that the implementation of the cloud solution had been a smooth seamless process and was totally painless. Harbour IT drove and project managed the whole transition and delivered on the outcomes that had been agreed to. From a security point of view, it was important for Paul to know where his applications and confidential information were going to reside and that they would be given the highest level of attention.

“In a world of Cloud suppliers, there are many who will happily rent you space at cheap prices. Where Harbour is different is that they are a full service value add supplier. We also know where our applications reside and who is looking after them.”Paul Knox, CIO, Snack Brands

As the end of the current Snack Brands IT cycle is approaching and the remaining equipment is nearing end of life, it has now been agreed that the remaining applications will also be moved to the Harbour IT Cloud environment. Paul sees that additional benefits will be obtained including easier management, a more complete and robust Disaster Recovery option and the option to turn services on and off as needed with just one phone call.

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