Telecommuting isn’t cultural for the automotive industry. Managing huge numbers of people working from home as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns and handling sensitive data have been huge challenges for the industry.

The pandemic has disrupted all businesses. The automotive industry is one of the most interconnected in the world, leaving it extremely exposed by the pandemic. Communications and collaboration are essential to keeping business operations moving.

A robust homeworking strategy has been central to coming up with the right response to the coronavirus, which has been a moving target for automotive manufacturers from the beginning. This requires dispersed teams to be in continuous contact to continue all non-manufacturing related activities.

This automotive manufacturer has built a strong relationship with Orange and has invested in an infrastructure that allowed it to quickly respond to the pandemic in both the short and long terms. This paid dividends when the lockdowns were announced.


Keeping communications open

This automotive manufacturer asked Orange Business for support in getting its UK knowledge workers to work securely from home. It wanted to maintain productivity as much as possible and asked Orange if it could move 15,000 members of its global workforce to homeworking over a weekend. Prior to the pandemic the company had a maximum of just 2,000 users working remotely at any given time.

The company had a major advantage over its competitors in that it had already invested heavily in an infrastructure that supported homeworking. This was primarily due to its heavy Internet usage. Orange first added licenses to support the additional users within 48 hours of the large-scale homeworking program starting. This process went smoothly and satisfied capacity requirements.

The Orange architect and technology director and security consultants worked in tandem with the automotive manufacturer’s IT team as part of a “one team” approach. They analyzed where improvements could be made in the infrastructure to optimize the user experience for telecommuters.

With comprehensive testing, Orange found that there were some bottlenecks in the UK backbone, which would impact performance. To overcome this issue, Orange upgraded the network bandwidth, adding 2.5 Gbit/s to each of four critical links to connect users to the service. The company already had ample Internet bandwidth. This project was mirrored for 4,000 users in Asia and 5,000 in the U.S.

Orange also advised the automotive manufacturer to change its internal network infrastructure to allow better load balancing of remote users. For example, if its Singapore gateway was overloaded at any point, users from India would be diverted to the UK gateway to ensure users have the bandwidth they need for business applications.

Orange monitored Internet bandwidth using Zscaler and made recommendations to the multinational where it saw user behavior was reducing performance. Based on the findings, the customer made the decision to block users from using certain media streaming services to optimize performance.

Orange is now putting a further contingency plan in place for server failure, which provides additional capacity to support the entire remote workforce seamlessly.

Securely connecting remote workers

Orange has helped this automotive manufacturer continue operations by swiftly getting knowledge workers to work from home. This has been a major challenge for some of its competitors in the auto industry, but one it has managed successfully, thanks to the “one team” approach.

employees moved to homeworking

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