Vervaeke Group, the leading chemical and petroleum logistics provider in Benelux, more than doubled in size through acquisition. 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 and the Mist WLAN Platform 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 Vervaeke Group. “We have made a lot of progress digitizing our processes and information flows.”
A family-owned company operating for nearly a century, Vervaeke Group serves Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, 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 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 ensure that customers’ oil and gas orders are delivered to the right place at the right time, will bring consistent visibility across countries, increase efficiency, and ensure regulatory compliance.
Network transformation together with
Because successful business transformation depends on IT transformation, Vervaeke group also fully refreshed its IT infrastructure.
“The expertise and ease of contact with helped us to save valuable time and increases our flexibility on the work floor.” - Mario de Smedt, IT Manager, Vervaeke Group
To accelerate its move toward an AI-driven enterprise, the company got in touch with , a leading cyber security and cloud networking solutions provider in Belgium. introduced Vervaeke Group to the Mist platform for its new wireless LAN. De Smedt and his team worked closely with to design and deploy Mist at its head office. “We have been very pleased working with . When they initiated the project, 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 ’s assistance to do so.” says De Smedt. Thanks to the expertise and ease of contact with , 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.
Vervaeke Group first refreshed the Wi-Fi at its headquarters in Zellik, Belgium and will continue to expand Mist to other locations with help of .
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,” says De Smedt. “We are very happy with the performance and the user experience.”
At the heart of operations
Mist Wi-Fi is at the heart of Vervaeke Group’s fleet management operations, starting with the customization and maintenance of 750 tractors, 1,000 tank trailers, and 750 tank containers.
Mobile devices have replaced clipboards and paper in its garages and warehouses. Technicians access work orders from tablets, whether the job is to install an on-board 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,” says De Smedt.
Wi-Fi is 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,” he 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 gain the productivity benefits of mobility, but IT still retains appropriate controls. “Mist gives us a picture of the usage and allows us to control Internet use,” he 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,” says De Smedt.
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?” and 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,” says De Smedt. “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.”
Looking ahead to Location Based 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. Vervaeke Group plans to leverage the virtual BLE capability to identify trucks as they enter their sites for maintenance or cleaning, further streamlining operations.