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VMC upgrades its telecom infrastructure

December 15, 2010
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Vuppalamritha Magnetic Components (VMC), which commenced operations in 2002, provides a broad range of telecom equipment and accessories. The company’s product portfolio includes telecom backbone transmission equipment (including fibre-to-the-home solutions such as GPON and GEPON); customer premises equipment (such as fixed wireless terminals, ADSL 2/2+ modems, etc.); power conversion products; connectivity accessories; and magnetic components.

The company has five manufacturing units with production facilities for its product line. It also has a service network across 16 locations in the country.

As the company’s business grew and expanded, VMC realised the potential of telecom as a strategic business tool and rapidly upgraded its existing communications set-up. The manufacturing major opted for a multi-tiered set-up, which catered to its increasing voice and data requirements. tele.net traces the development of VMC’s communications infrastructure.

Legacy system

The company’s initial communications infrastructure was very basic, says B. Venkataramana, executive director at VMC. “Until a few years ago, our communications requirement was very rudimentary. It primarily comprised voice (telephony) and there was very little data requirement. It was mainly used by senior management for internet access and for connectivity within the office,” he says.

Over time, however, the need for a more modern set-up became increasingly apparent. “Our headcount continued to grow steadily. Last year witnessed a major spike, with our headcount almost doubling. The biggest driver that brought about a change in our telecom infrastructure was the fact that we had to support 300 customer locations, via 26 centres across India, besides a large mobile sales and customer service workforce. Because of this, not only did our data requirement increase exponentially, but we now needed full-time remote connectivity to our service centres and our mobile workforce,” he elaborates.

The shift

Today, the company has a relatively elaborate communications setup in place. The manufacturing major uses a mix of standard telecom tools, along with various IT applications.

To connect 26 centres across India, the company uses a web-based customer relationship management (CRM) application to accept and track customer queries round the clock. This connectivity is achieved via a VPN network, which was chosen because it offers secure access. In order to seamlessly connect its five manufacturing plants, an optic fibre set-up has been used, with a bandwidth of up to 2.5 Gbps. This is being provided by Vishwaroopa Broadband Services, a local internet service provider.

The company plans to implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to ensure 24x7 connectivity at its various manufacturing plants. According to Venkataramana, “Since we manufacture telecom equipment, we use our own products, which are designed in-house wherever possible and within our network.”

With regard to wide area network technologies, connectivity within each of VMC’s regional offices and the company headquarters is via a secure local area network (LAN). Each of these regional LANs is further connected securely through the internet. These LAN-based networks also have an ADSL connection provided by multiple operators, including Bharti Airtel, with Reliance Communications serving as a back-up. The bandwidth of this connection is 8 Mbps at each location.

For its mobile workforce, VMC provides data connectivity support via USB dongles. These are Tata Photon Plus connections. Also, each of its remote sites have VPN switches for security mechanism, along with firewalls.

VMC also uses a host of enterprise applications. These include GIT, a version control management software, and AutoCAD, a design and manufacture software. In the future, the company plans to implement Oracle ERP too.

Besides this, the manufacturing major uses videoconferencing facility, web servers and mail servers, as well as workstations for design and development work. All its systems are Windows based with various productivity-related softwares also in place. Its research and development systems are equipped with CAD- and CAM-related software.

Over 80 per cent of the company’s employees have access to this network.

Challenges and benefits

The company did not face any major challenges while making the telecom upgrade.

Not surprisingly, the communications infrastructure has resulted in several benefits for the company, observes Venkataramana. He says, “We have instant access to both our people as well as the systems. Our remote sites are connected 24x7. This has increased productivity, enabling our employees to work from home as and when required.”

Future plans

With regard to the company’s future communications-related plans, Venkataramana says, “”We are in the process of implementing ERP systems. Our headcount is expected to increase by 25 per cent in the next six months, which will require us to add at least two offices across Hyderabad. This means more bandwidth and better voice facilities such as conference calling and videoconferencing.”

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