Critical Logistics

By Stephen Bigelow  |  Posted 2004-03-15 Print this article Print

Critical Logistics

Specifically, CBE ordered and leased MM&Ms new PCs and had them shipped to the companys warehouse, where the firms image was loaded on each. CBE then repackaged and distributed the PCs to MM&Ms multiple locations, where CBE installed each system, ensured connectivity to the network and verified that applications were running.

As a Hewlett-Packard Co. Networking Partner and Premier Service Provider, CBE found the use of HP Compaq platforms an easy choice and turned to Compaq Evo d530 desktops and Evo n800c notebooks for the project. However, other aspects of the four-month, 500-labor-hour project proved a bit more complicated.

For example, imaging was a key element, and each new PC had to receive MM&Ms corresponding software image before delivery and deployment. Symantec Corp.s Ghost 8.0 was the tool of choice for imaging tasks.

The CBE service treatment

  • Financing makes projects more affordable

  • Working off-hours minimizes client disruptions

  • Follow-ups at milestones ensure client satisfaction
  • Another key challenge was timing or, more specifically, efficiency. The massive installation had to be accomplished with as little disruption to the firm as possible. Due to the detailed configuration requirements of each PC, CBE put together a group of approximately seven engineers to manage deployment.

    "The majority of the installs had to be done outside of normal business hours as to not disrupt the daily activities of the users at MM&Ms various locations," Willett said.

    The firms multiple locations made the challenge even more daunting. To meet the projects tight deadlines and requirements, CBE made day trips to each MM&M site in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York, often leaving the Bay State in the wee hours of the morning.

    Ultimately, Willett said, the real added value was in the time and effort saved in imaging and deploying PCs. "When a customer attempts to complete this themselves, they sacrifice the tasks that the employee does every day," he said.

    Still, the payoff for such detailed efforts is a happy customer. "It would have been near impossible for me to complete this task with my own staff in the time it took CBE to deliver," said MM&Ms Norton.

    Stephen J. Bigelow is a former electrical engineer. He now works as a technical author specializing in PC and networking topics. His e-mail address is

    Check out eWEEKs Desktop & Notebook Center at for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.


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