THOR-LO Reduces Costs by 70% With Improved Wireless Infrastructure

Brand manufacturers and distributors rely on wireless networks that are stable, efficient and easily accessible. They also need seamless delivery of voice traffic and business-wide data transferred over the enterprise network. THOR-LO, a manufacturer of Thorlos padded socks for hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing and other activities, achieved these goals, and others, while cutting costs by 70% and better managing its growing business.

IT spending was reduced and network agility increased by integrating new HP networking solutions into THOR-LO’s existing HP Converged Infrastructure deployment, which for years has helped the manufacturer deliver voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services and business applications at a lower cost of ownership. The newly integrated HP solutions have streamlined communications, improved employee productivity, simplified data center management and affected an overall cost savings that covered the expense of the networking solution integration, according to an HP press release.

Among the benefits of the upgraded IP solutions, THOR-LO’s telecommuting and other roving users now are fully integrated and can take their telephone extensions anywhere. “This transition has brought new flexibility to our ability to respond to business interruptions and other unexpected network events more efficiently,” stated Bart Russell, IT Manager at THOR-LO.


“Our retail customers expect world-class products, customer service and delivery performance from us in every interaction — and that’s what Thorlos product consumers expect of our retailers,” Russell told Retail TouchPoints. “When the market speaks to us, it’s unwilling to wait; we need to respond with a communications infrastructure that works like the proverbial light switch: ‘there when you need it.’”

The new HP network implementation, completed in only six weeks, includes several elements. One is the HP FlexNetwork solution, comprised of the HP 5500 Switch Series and HP 7500 Switch Series. Along with a common codebase and instruction sets, the solution delivers voice and data traffic more reliably. It also enables THOR-LO to implement consistent configurations across the enterprise, while reducing maintenance and training efforts, Russell explained.

Another element is the HP MSM Controller Series and HP MSM Dual Access Point Series wireless mobility products. Together these provide a strong, flexible and unified network to simplify business processes and modernize business communications. “These wireless access points allow us to keep our wireless infrastructure simple and effective, while adding 802.11N speeds,” Russell said. “We easily can install and more fully rely on the internal wireless applications that help us track materials throughout the production and distribution processes. It also has added flexibility to create ad-hoc work environments to support emerging requirements.”

In addition, THOR-LO implemented the HP Intelligent Management Center to simplify network management and better manage its growing business under a unified wired and wireless network.

As a result of the new HP networking solution, THOR-LO replaced three disparate phone systems with a single VoIP system; reduced expenditures by 70%, which covered the cost of the HP networking solutions; automated time-intensive and error-prone manual tasks; and connected the new HP networking solutions with existing HP server and storage solutions seamlessly.

Insight, an HP partner and Arizona-based global provider of information technology, hardware, software and service solutions, worked with THOR-LO on the deployment.

“Thorlos is a premium product with a premium brand experience, and we hold our IT personnel as part of this strategic advantage in the marketplace,” Russell said. “Since we didn’t have the expertise in-house to assure our communications network was voice-ready, HP’s expertise allowed us to roll in implementation services and hardware, keep our costs under budget and further enhance our brand experience.”

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