There’s nothing like new carpet. And no one produces fine carpet like Mohawk Industries. Mohawk, headquartered in Calhoun, Georgia, is a leading supplier of flooring for residential and commercial applications. The company provides selections of carpet, ceramic tile, laminate, wood, stone, vinyl and rugs for all markets. These products are marketed under the premier brands in the industry, including Mohawk, Karastan, Lees, Bigelow, Durkan, Daltile, American Olean, Unilin and Quick-Step. Mohawk provides a premium level of service with its own trucking fleet and local distribution in the U.S. Its international presence includes operations in Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, Malaysia, Mexico and Russia. Mohawk employs more than 26,000 people and in 2011 posted net sales of $5.6 billion.
As Mohawk continues to grow, so too do the demands on its IT Department, which acts as a service provider for the corporation’s many business units. The IT assets aren’t owned by the IT Department, but rather the individual business units. The IT Department, administered by IS Support Manager Brandon Barnes, is responsible for supporting the business units in the most efficient and economical way possible. Up until a few years ago, Brandon and team faced significant challenges doing that in four areas: tracking inventory, managing mobile users, distributing software and reducing bandwidth usage.
Updating software and installing patches was a long, slow, inaccurate process for Mohawk. They had to create a group policy object [GPO], find each target host’s name, and jump through too many other hoops. In addition, they could not customize the process. If only half the users in a department needed to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Office, Brandon could not target just those machines; he had to upgrade them all. So it was a shotgun approach. It could take up to 16 hours to distribute software, and it always required a lot of extra work.
Bandwidth congestion was also an issue with the inventory-and-distribution tool. If the team had to deploy software to 40 PCs at one location, the solution would send the package across the wire 40 times. So it was not uncommon for them to distribute a critical application and take up all the bandwidth for that site, which would cause even more problems. The support team reached a point where they simply had to replace that tool. They needed a more powerful, full-featured automated systems management tool that allowed them to provide more efficient and cost-effective services to their customers.
Mohawk’s upper management issued a strategic directive to replace the existing tool. As a result, Barnes and his team studied the solutions available in the market and narrowed their choices down to four. During the first round of their selection process, they carefully evaluated the four leading products. They eliminated two and did a proof of concept on the remaining two. They finally chose LANDesk because the other products could not match its feature set. The solution had everything they need and more, including a very easy installation process. Two of the biggest reasons Brandon and team selected LANDesk is its ability to manage remote users and save on bandwidth when distributing software.
Distributing software is significantly easier and less time consuming. Before it could take up to 16 hours to distribute software; now, a major deployment takes an hour. That’s a great increase in productivity. The support team went from having multiple software distribution points to just one, and they only have to send the package across the wire once. In addition, LANDesk’s bandwidth-throttling feature slows down the process so deployments no longer affect users’ machines—they don’t even know the install is taking place. In addition, they don’t have to spend more money on bandwidth.
Other features save Mohawk even more time and money. The team can customize deployments and target only the people who need new software or an upgrade. They now have more peace of mind when it comes to security. Within seven days, the solution patches virtually every machine, which is pretty much complete coverage when you consider the number of PCs that have been retired or not powered on. When it’s time to start replacing aged assets, Mohawk knows exactly how many they have, how old each one is and what shape they are in. Using LANDesk reports, they replace only the PCs they absolutely have to. The result: they can now provide services to their business units at a much higher level than they ever could before and at a more cost-effective price.