Manufacturers of electronic components are battling with delays in supply shipments as COVID-19 tears through industries across the globe.

Lockdowns have halted production and disrupted supply chains. Even small delays in raw material deliveries can hamper component suppliers’ production, so communication with business partners has never been more critical in gaining visibility into supplies.

Electronics manufacturers must mitigate "supply shock" by working closely with partners to manage short-term and long-term inventories. This is where an unexpected event changes the supply of a product.

This is precisely why this multinational electronics firm came to Orange Business.

The company needed to trigger a remote working program for its employees’ safety and, at the same time, ensure that communications technologies were also in place to collaborate with business partners in these unstable times.


Communication in a crisis

As the pandemic began to unfold, the multinational electronics firm came to Orange Business with a significant communications issue that could potentially cut off collaboration with its partners. The company had cancelled its Cisco Webex contract with Orange and was migrating to Microsoft Teams. The version of Webex it was using was end-of-life, and it didn’t see a need to upgrade. Then COVID-19 hit. With a massive move to home working, there was not enough time to upgrade its business partners to use Microsoft Teams.

Orange bought some time by asking Cisco to keep the company’s old Webex platform live, even though it had closed it down to all other users. Orange then worked around the clock to configure and install a new set of Webex tools on a 12-month license so that the company could continue to collaborate with its business partners through the pandemic.

Orange also increased the capacity of the company’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) licenses from 400 to 600. With VDI, engineers could still access their CAD applications securely and remotely.

As lockdowns have been happening across the world, the company has had to get tens of thousands of employees working remotely. It was evident from the beginning, however, that the company’s infrastructure could not support this many teleworkers, particularly in China, Italy and France. The company found its connectivity hubs in these three countries choked, with only half of users being able to get remote access. This resulted in a massive downturn in productivity.

Orange upgraded the number of concurrent user licenses for the VPN to 6,000 users in the space of 48 hours on receiving the first request.

With the workforce globally suddenly forced to start remote working due to lockdown, Orange received urgent requests to increase the bandwidth capacities on the pair of hub-sites for Italy, France, Switzerland and Singapore. Within a couple of hours over the weekend, the Orange team doubled the bandwidth of these hubs. It also deployed active-active configuration instead of active-backup, thereby effectively quadrupling the available bandwidth for the end-user traffic on those locations.

Containing component delays

Orange and the customer worked together in a "one team" approach to ensure the business remained fully operational and in contact with critical business partners. Orange worked on the WAN alongside the company’s internal IT team working on the LAN.

Collaboration and agility came to the fore in the face of an urgent business request. Previously only half the company’s workforce could work from home. Now 100% of users are seamlessly connected remotely, and productivity is back to near normal.

licenses upgraded within 48 hours