Cloud-managed Networking Unites Global Manufacturing Operations

Scale manufacturer replaces legacy IT equipment and saves time and money with cloud-managed network appliances.

teraoka seiko
Cisco Meraki

Manufacturers know better than most businesses the expense of replacing legacy equipment. With high costs for the industrial machines, programmable logic controllers, IT gear, and other systems needed to build everything from consumer packaged goods to cars and electronics, many manufacturers choose to milk their capital expenditures as long as possible. That can mean waiting years before replacing old equipment.

One manufacturer, however, has found a way to replace legacy IT equipment while saving time and money, thanks to cloud-managed network appliances from Cisco Meraki.

A legacy of innovation

Japanese scale maker Teraoka Seiko has been in business for more than 85 years. While the company still makes scales, it has since expanded its business to include self-checkout cashiers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and many other related devices and appliances. Although the technology has changed over the decades, the company’s commitment to innovation and its international focus has remained constant.

The company’s 3,500 employees work in offices and factories around the world, including at 115 locations in Japan alone, as well as in Singapore, China, the U.K., South Korea, France, Canada, amongst others. Managing network devices for all those people and locations caused a major headache for the Teraoka Seiko IT department–each network appliance, for example, required a site visit to configure, upgrade, or otherwise manage.

The company needed a way to manage all the various locations from a central controller, according to Takahito Natsubori, the company’s IT director. While Wi-Fi seemed like a good way to connect all the appliances at a given location, the systems seemed too expensive to justify and represented a single point of failure; if a controller went down, it would take out the location’s whole Wi-Fi network with it.

Finally, he came across Cisco Meraki’s cloud-managed network appliances. Not only did these devices promise centralized management at each location but they also allowed for comprehensive management across all installed locations around the world. “I was truly shocked that such a thing as Meraki existed,” says Natsubori.

Management from a web-based dashboard

A defining feature of Cisco Meraki is their web-based dashboard. The dashboard allows administrators to configure, set permissions for, troubleshoot, and maintain network appliances across an organization—no matter how far-flung its offices. It was the game-changer Natsubori was looking for.

Although Meraki wasn’t officially available to the Japanese market, Natsubori was determined to order 100 Meraki wireless access points (APs) to get started, and ultimately made Teraoka Seiko one of the first companies in Japan to take delivery on Meraki products.

It was worth the effort. Natsubori got those first 100 APs up and running by himself, using the Meraki dashboard. “I actually don’t remember how long the installation took because it was so easy,” he said.

Following that first successful deployment, Teraoka Seiko added 70 more Meraki APs, along with Meraki switches and security appliances, all of which the IT team could configure and manage in the cloud, through the Meraki dashboard.

One of the big benefits to Natsubori and his team: no more international travel to install devices. That’s just one of the many benefits making this legacy equipment upgrade well worth the investment.

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