Name of Partner: Smurfit Kappa
Contact: Bob McCarthy, IT Operations Manager
Service: Comprehensive Refresh of UPS systems at 10 Sites across Ireland. Ongoing Maintenance Contract
Paper and packaging specialist, Smurfit Kappa is a truly global business, operating in 370 facilities across 34 countries. The HQ is based in Dublin and there are 9 other locations across Ireland, North and South.
Bob McCarthy was part of the management team that looked after the HQ facilitates in Dublin and the team was then asked to take over IT management for all the facilities in Ireland. Bob says “It soon became clear that the infrastructure we inherited had gone beyond its useful life – in particular the UPS. There were different makes and models, many were older than they should be and past their battery life.”
It was clear that the business needed the support of an external supplier with expertise in UPS. Bob researched the market and came across Total Power Solutions and other providers.
Scope of Works
The project was an extensive one – the HQ and Ballymount facilities in Dublin both had multiple UPS while the other 8 regional facilities had a UPS at each site and each location had a different set of requirements. Bob explains how the project was implemented “Basically we prioritised the locations, then TPS worked through them site by site. They’d arrive and measure the power, recommend a UPS, and price two options; the ideal set-up and also an economical alternative. They were very familiar with the products in the market, what UPS was needed, the different options with network cards, the use of temperature monitoring gauges with remote access – they gave us a comprehensive insight into the options and made key recommendations.”
Ultimately the project involved the replacement of approx. 20 APC UPS.
Considerations in Choosing the Supplier
When the tenders for the work were submitted, Bob was impressed with the response from Total Power Solutions. “They had great references, including APC, who are obviously leaders in the UPS market. And the pricing was right; it was competitive and there was a lot of value in terms of the expertise that would be available for the project. And I like the fact that they weren’t prescriptive – they basically took the approach that whatever we needed, they would work around that. They didn’t try to oversell kit or push through an all-singing, all-dancing contract; it was a good response to our exact requirements.”
Bob was also keen to work with a supplier who would give a very personal service and he found that when he spoke with some of the larger companies, he didn’t get the feeling that they could facilitate the type of relationship and service he wanted. “TPS is a specialist niche player and as such the business isn’t huge – that’s a big advantage when you want the right level of expertise on site – the Director Paul Kavanagh did the first installation himself and I saw he was as pedantic as I was about doing the set-up properly, down to the little details like getting the colour coding right etc. “
Ongoing Support & Added Value
Bob was delighted with the way the project was delivered by Total Power Solutions “It was a hassle-free project from my perspective and if any issues did arise, they were dealt with quickly and efficiently.”
The way in which the current support and maintenance contract works is ideal for Smurfit Kappa. “Basically we have an agreed SLA and rates for the regional sites and if ever there’s a problem, we effectively just pay as we go. But for the two larger sites in Dublin, we have the security of a maintenance contract, which is essential for those operations. So it’s the best of both worlds.”
Recently Total Power Solutions were able to introduce Smurfit Kappa to software which offers a birds-eye view of all the UPS. “If anything goes wrong we get an email alert, like if the temperature changes, we’ll know really quickly. It’s a small cost too, given the added value. The system also provides extra benefits such as giving us the first indication that the network is down; as the software can’t detect the UPS.”
Supplier of Choice
In terms of future work, Bob is enthusiastic about maintaining the relationship with Total Power Solutions. “I would recommend them, without a doubt. In fact I wouldn’t look at another supplier. Their personal commitment to doing the job right first time and their level of expertise are invaluable. Whatever you need done – they’ll do it.”