Catacomb, Inc. is a globallogistics provider that offers fully integrated freight and supply chain services through managed warehousing and domestic and international freight forwarding. Services range from door-to-door domestic and international delivery services to total supply chain management. With branches across the United States and Europe and partners worldwide, Catacomb continues to expand, and it has experienced rapid growth through acquisitions.
Note: The term supply chain refers to all the elements involved in bringing an organization's products from the raw-goods stage to the customer.
The Association for Operations Management (APICS) dictionary ((http://www.apics.org/Resources/APICSDictionary.htm) defines "supply chain management (SCM)" as the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance globally.
The Business Challenge
Catacomb is competing in an environment where freight transport is as much about keeping customers informed as it is about on-time delivery. The company has adopted web-based technologies for tracking freight, differentiating its services, keeping customers informed, and ensuring the on-time delivery that is Catacomb's hallmark. As a result, Catacomb enjoys a very high level of customer satisfaction.
Its mobile workforce has rapidly increased, with drivers using PDAs to scan consignments, which are then synced in real time via GPRS links to headquarters applications that track the consignments. Customers use Catacomb's web services to view the progress of orders, from dispatch to warehousing to final delivery. Customers also use Catacomb's web-based systems to create freight documentation and generate reports. With the EDI interface, invoices and payments are transferred directly between the customers' systems and Catacomb, saving both time and money.
As the company has expanded, the data flowing in the system have increased as well. Now, with more than 5,000 employees and thousands of customers worldwide, Catacomb is suffering from the effects of explosive growth. Demands on its wide area network (WAN) are exceeding capacity. The main data center has experienced several network outages and unscheduled downtime. The aging ISDN telephone system is failing, as the company has avoided the costly upgrades necessary to keep it operating at optimal performance. Telephone bills have increased without warning, and the voice mail system is overloaded.
Catacomb wants to provide increased bandwidth between all 47 of its US offices and the main data center. There are five (5) metropolitan areas that have four (4) to eight (8) Catacomb locations that need to coordinate among themselves: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and San Diego. The company desires a reliable and secure network to accommodate its planned growth as well as the unexpected.
The company does not want to spend any more on telephone services than it does today, and its goal is to upgrade the services while protecting against escalating costs from its ISDN service provider.
Efficiency and productivity goals for this rapidly growing company are of paramount importance, and there is a desire to provide capabilities and services that incorporate technology solutions to improve in those areas as well as retain the high level of customer satisfaction. Catacomb is also interested in reducing travel between its sites by implementing video conferencing.
In addition, Catacombwants to be able to monitor and manage data and voice services, and ensure that capacity and usage is appropriate to its business needs.
Using this case study, you are to identify a minimum of five (5) requirements, analyze them, and offer a proposal that provides Catacomb with a converged network solution and explains how the components of the solution, and the solution as a whole, meet the identified requirements. The proposed solution must address each of the requirements identified. At least one (1) diagram must be incorporated to illustrate your proposed solution. You should do some research to address the cost issues and defend the proposed solution from a cost-benefit perspective. This is to be a general analysis of the benefits versus the cost of a converged network, not a full cost-benefit analysis with cost data.