With COVID-19 hitting everything from production to distribution, manufacturers are looking at how they can continue to supply customers and keep their workforce safe. With the virus at pandemic level, companies are facing constantly changing supply issues both internationally and domestically. Supply chain disruption is a major and moving challenge for manufacturers, requiring close relationships with key suppliers and the agility to make rapid changes to overcome any obstacles.

In addition, office closures and social distancing measures have quickly changed how companies need to operate. It was for this very reason that this manufacturing customer, who has worked with Orange Business for a long time, requested that that we quickly increase its remote access capabilities. The company needed to support over 15,000 employees working from home globally to continue operations in the face of the unfolding crisis.

Most manufacturers have robust continuity plans in place, but they are being challenged by the fast-moving nature of a global pandemic. In fact, the demands on the workforce are increasing as the disruption spreads. By empowering employees to work from home and react quickly to changing situations, this customer has been able to sustain capacity, production and distribution with limited impact on its business.

By empowering employees to work from home and react quickly to changing situations, this customer has been able to sustain capacity, production and distribution with limited impact on its business


Working as “one team”

From the beginning of the crisis, Orange has had a strong “one team” approach to crisis management where its experts have worked as an integral part of the customer’s own team. This approach has provided Orange with valuable real-time information to fully understand the customer’s business priorities and quickly plan a way forward.

Orange, for example, is invited to the company’s daily high-level contingency planning meetings. This trust comes from strong governance and a long-standing relationship.

The joint crisis-management team has followed the pandemic closely and remote worker access has been ramped up accordingly. The customer originally had licenses for 5,000 concurrent remote workers with secure VPN access, although no more than 2,000 employees were ever working remotely at any one time. This access was typically used for employees operating in the field and business travel.

COVID-19, however, has changed this requirement. As countries started to lock down, Orange had to increase concurrent remote working capabilities from 5,000 to 10,000 in 24 hours. The company already had a dedicated platform for remote access from Orange and this has allowed us to double the number of users in a day. To add to the urgency, a positive test for COVID-19 at the company’s headquarters followed, which meant that it had to be shut immediately and ahead of schedule. This created an additional 1,300 people who needed to telework.

Triple remote access requirement

Overall the customer required a tripling of its remote access capabilities. The dedicated remote access platform had technical limitations that required Orange to carry out upgrades in batches of 1,000 users over five days, while closely monitoring for any performance issues. In one instance early on, Orange had to quickly optimize the platform and change protocols to ensure performance levels. This highlights how the “one team” joint interaction can speedily react to an issue and get the service swiftly back on track.

If the company needs to go past the 15,000 remote user mark, Orange has come up with a new solution: Mobile SSL housed in Microsoft Azure cloud. The cloud-based option is more flexible than the dedicated platform and makes it easier to scale up or down. This solution will enable the customer to load balance between the current dedicated remote access platform and the one in Azure if it needs to increase remote users without any performance degradation.

Orange has also doubled the size of the company’s two internet gigabits links at the customer’s data centers in Geneva. This has allowed the customer to cope with the immediate need for additional internet bandwidth.

Continuing delivery from factory to outlet

The concept of “one team” has truly proven itself in this crisis. It has spotlighted how Orange and its customer continue to successfully work together to respond rapidly to the ever-changing circumstances COVID-19 is throwing up. This is bringing stability in an increasingly uncertain situation.

When COVID-19 started to upend the company’s daily activities, both teams joined forces remotely, across time zones, round the globe. Together they are responding to this unprecedented public health crisis, protecting employees and ensuring the supply chain from factory to outlet isn’t broken.

Remote working expanded from 5,000 to 10,000 in 24 hours