Logistics Leader Transports Vervaeke Accelerates Digital Transformation with Mist Wi-Fi

Transports Vervaeke, the leading chemical and fuel logistics provider in Benelux, more than doubled in size through two acquisitions in the last three years. To ensure smooth operations and continued growth, the company embarked on a digital transformation initiative. Successfully digitizing the business also demanded IT transformation. The company chose the WLAN platform from Mist, a Juniper company, to empower its employees to work easily from anywhere in its garages, warehouses, and office locations.

“We are in the midst of full digitalization of our company,” says Mario De Smedt, IT manager at Transports Vervaeke. “We have made a lot of progress digitizing our processes and information flows.”

A family-owned company operating for nearly a century, Transports Vervaeke serves Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and Germany, transporting chemicals, gas, fuel, and other dangerous goods. It also offers a wide range of logistics services by road, train, and boat to other regions and internationally. The company operates from 13 locations and employs 950 people, 850 of whom are drivers.

After acquiring a multimodal transportation provider in 2019, the company embarked on a business transformation journey. It is consolidating and modernizing applications to create a single view of its European operations. A single enterprise software platform will integrate the once disparate business processes of its acquired companies. A new data lake will provide a 360-degree view of its operations and customers. Consolidating its transportation management system, which is essential to ensure that customer orders are delivered to the right place at the right time, will bring consistent visibility across countries, increase efficiency, and ensure regulatory compliance.

“Thanks to the expertise and ease of contact with Infradata, we were quickly able to plan updates of all the access points and perform firmware updates when desired.”

— Mario De Smedt, IT manager, Transports Vervaeke

Network Transformation to Keep Pace

Because successful business transformation depends on IT transformation, Transports Vervaeke also fully refreshed its IT infrastructure.

To accelerate its move toward an AI-driven enterprise, the company got in touch with Infradata, a leading cybersecurity and cloud networking solutions provider in Belgium. Infradata introduced Transports Vervaeke to the Mist Platform for its new wireless LAN. Mario De Smedt, IT manager at Transports Vervaeke, and his team worked closely with Infradata to design and deploy Mist at its head office. “We have been very pleased working with Infradata,” De Smedt says. “When we initiated the project, Infradata assisted us from A to Z for the setup, implementation, and connection with the existing network. Because we wanted to make a segmentation on the network for the Wi-Fi solution, we could depend on Infradata’s assistance to do so.

“Thanks to the expertise and ease of contact with Infradata, we were quickly able to plan updates of all the access points and perform firmware updates when desired. This increases our flexibility on the work floor and saves us valuable time.”

 

“The machine learning capabilities of Mist makes it very easy to set up and use.”

— Mario De Smedt, IT manager, Transports Vervaeke

Transports Vervaeke first refreshed the Wi-Fi at its headquarters in Zellik, Belgium, and will continue to expand Mist to other locations with the help of Infradata.

The Mist Platform is built on a modern microservices cloud architecture, which brings elastic scale and a focus on network operational simplicity, API-based programmability, and end

user engagement through location-based services. Mist Wi-Fi delivers an exceptional network experience for users and simplifies operations for the IT team.

“We are pleased with how flexible Mist is,” De Smedt says. “We are very happy with the performance and the user experience.”

At the Heart of Operations

Mist Wi-Fi is at the heart of Transport Vervaeke’s fleet management operations, starting with the customization and maintenance of 750 tractors, 1000 tank trailers, and 750 tank containers.

Mobile devices are gradually replacing clipboards and paper in its garages and warehouses. Technicians will access work orders from tablets, whether the job is to install an onboard computer to a new Volvo truck so drivers can receive instructions and orders en route, or to perform maintenance on its fleet. With mobile devices and great Wi-Fi, technicians can check parts inventory, place orders, and even automatically trigger invoicing when the job is complete. “Optimizing our process flows depends on Wi-Fi,” De Smedt says.

Wi-Fi is also available to employees and visitors in its corporate offices. “We have the flexibility within our offices to be mobile with our laptops and handheld devices,” De Smedt says. ‘’When people travel to other company locations, their laptops are automatically connected when they arrive.” With Mist, even demanding applications like voice and video chat perform flawlessly.

With Mist, workers also gain the productivity benefits of mobility, while IT still retains appropriate controls. “Mist gives us a picture of the usage and allows us to control Internet use,” De Smedt says. “If necessary, we can trigger measures to correct the behavior of staff during working hours. We appreciate that we can identify this through Mist.”

Simplified Network Operations

AI-powered Mist delivers unprecedented connectivity insights, which ultimately simplifies network troubleshooting and operations.

“The machine learning capabilities of Mist makes it very easy to set up and use,” De Smedt says.

Marvis, an integrated AI engine, simplifies IT operations through client- level insight, rapid wired and wireless troubleshooting, trending analysis, anomaly detection, and proactive problem remediation. With Marvis, IT staff can ask natural language queries such as “Why can’t Mathais connect to the network?” while guided remediation identifies the root cause and takes automated actions when possible.

“With Mist, we have an overview of all the APs in our different locations,” De Smedt says. “Once we install an AP, it automatically connects to the Mist Cloud, links to our account, and the AP is available for use. It’s a piece of cake to integrate new APs into the Mist platform.”

“We are pleased with how flexible Mist is.”

— Mario De Smedt, IT manager, Transports Vervaeke

Looking Ahead to Location Services

Indoor location services were also a key factor in the decision to deploy Mist. With virtual Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) built into the APs, Mist simplifies location services. Transports Vervaeke plans to leverage the virtual BLE capability to identify trucks as they enter their sites for maintenance or cleaning, further streamlining operations.