AAD has built its reputation on new vehicle sales, as well as the service and repair of buses and trucks. The company also provides both original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components from Leyland and after-market parts through its AD Master Parts, Global Components and Eagle International Spares divisions.
Other facets of the business include logistics: storage, warehousing and transportation of goods for customers and a truck and car hire facility. There is also a new division focusing on the refuse and cleaning sector and another division that provides automatic transmissions for military vehicles.
AAD has designs on becoming a one-stop-shop for all things truck-related. This ambition translates into an organisation that has approximately 500 employees across all its companies within the AAD Group.
With so many people involved in a logistics-based that relies on swift communication, the need for effectively IT services is heightened. It became obvious to the company’s IT department that it required a top–of-the-range connectivity solution to provide such services from a centrally controlled hub.
The fast-growing organisation quickly outgrew the original DigiNet infrastructure and moved to ADSL, but says AAD Systems Manager Riaan van Wyk, there were still instances where the line was slow, which caused numerous headaches for the IT department.
“Moreover, as more and more aspects of the business moved online, so more bandwidth was required. The demand on the network simply kept increasing, and with AAD at that stage utilising an asynchronous line, having only a small pipe out of the organisation meant that things continuously clogged up.”
The biggest challenge that the IT department faced, according to van Wyk, was the fact that management was concerned about the cost per month for a service, as opposed to the benefits it might offer the business.
In effect, he says, what was needed was to translate the IT speak into financial terms. This was achieved by quantifying the impact that downtime had on the organisation’s profitability.
“We initially chose to implement a fibre connection from Neotel at our AAD Commercial Parts division in Pretoria West. This served as a good test of exactly what they were capable of delivering and how effective it would be. Incredibly enough, even though the service we obtained was only a 1Mb line – compared to the 10Mb line we had from the previous service provider - we found that the speeds were nonetheless much quicker.”
“The line is so reliable because Neotel provided us with a one-to-one connection, which means that it is all ours, so it works perfectly. While the line proved to be more expensive than the previous offering, at least with this solution we are getting what we pay for.”
Van Wyk adds that Neotel was really on the ball when it came to the actual implementation too. He says that their efforts were well organised and the account managers kept AAD in the loop at all times.
“Although there were one or two minor issues that arose in this period, the fantastic thing is that all it took from our side was a single phone call and they immediately sorted these out. I think that the real reason it only required one call is because Neotel’s points of contact are a lot clearer, so you get directly to the person who can help you resolve the problem.”
The initial line in Pretoria West was commissioned in February 2013 and went live in the April. Today, AAD has three Neotel lines installed – a 5Mb line at Cape Town-based AAD Truck and Bus and a 10Mb line at the organisation’s largest branch, based in Johannesburg.
Van Wyk claims that the 10Mb line is simply the best thing that the business has ever experienced.
“The benefits were visible in a very short time, so it was almost a no-brainer to implement it elsewhere in the group too. This was particularly pleasing to our financial people, as they were able to see some form of return on investment very quickly,” he says.
According to van Wyk, implementation was seamless and, considering what was involved, it was relatively quick. The improvements in connectivity have been enormous, he says, and it has enabled much quicker communication between our various branches, which spins off into better customer service.
“In fact, if my entire network used Neotel’s connectivity services already, I would be having the time of my life.”
The actual cost savings just on call rates and premicells, boosted by Neotel’s per-second billing offering, are somewhere in the region of 20-30%, he says, which in itself pays for the expense of the service implemented.
- Neotel are competitively priced for their line rentals, and they were comfortable porting our number over. This was critical, because you don’t want to change a number that’s been in service for 40 years.
- Our IT department hardly ever has to deal with irate calls from our branches anymore, since the connectivity is so much better.
Neotel’s service and reliability trumps all else.