The UK’s Click & Collect Experts Reduce Costs & Achieve 99.99 Per Cent Uptime
Doddle has re-engineered its distributed enterprise network model to achieve greater flexibility for deployment and maintenance—and has subsequently reduced its business CapEx and technology OpEx by nearly 50 per cent. As a consumer facing business with a commitment to convenience, Doddle requires a high level of efficiency to uphold its customer promise. As a business with ambitious growth targets, the ability to quickly deploy and remotely manage network operations in its stores is essential to achieving its expansion plans.
Cradlepoint’s AER1600 all-in-one solution was chosen to replace legacy equipment across 50 stores and is now the technology model for the ongoing expansion. Cradlepoint was able to offer a flexible solution with cloud-managed networking and built-in connectivity for DSL, Ethernet, WiFi, and dualmodem, multi-carrier cellular support—at a competitive price.
Doddle, the experts in ‘click & collect,’ opened its first store at Milton Keynes train station in mid-2013. In autumn 2014 they officially launched to the public, opening another six stores. Today, it has over 80 stores around the UK in train stations, universities, shopping centres, and business parks. It also has partnerships in place with B&Q, Cancer Research UK, and Morrisons, to offer Doddle parcel services within the retailers’ own stores. Doddle makes it easy for online shoppers to collect and return their online shopping at a time and place convenient for them. Customers are able to buy online with any retailer and use Doddle as their delivery address rather than wait in for a delivery. Doddle stores have extended opening hours, including weekends, so customers can collect or return their parcels when it suits them.
With an expanding list of retail partners, Doddle is listed as a delivery option at the checkout of retailers including Amazon, Asos, and Missguided to name a few. Its customercentric service uses innovative IT and network connectivity to serve customers in less than three minutes so they never have to queue to collect or return a parcel.
With many sites in confined or restricted spaces, Doddle needs to operate an efficient and reliable network without cumbersome and space-intensive hardware. Its legacy routing platform required installing a fixed data line, which could take up to 12 weeks. These broadband connections often experienced interruptions and limited service during busy periods. Doodle was looking for a better networking solution that was very flexible and offered network redundancy. It wanted a solution that would allow for every possible connection, anywhere—and at anytime. Doodle also has ambitious expansion plans and needs to deploy and remotely operate its network across a large number of dispersed sites, with only a small IT team supporting its employees and shared resources with retail partners. Cradlepoint has provided a cost-effective, robust solution that meets all Doddle’s needs and doesn’t require a fixed cable or a cabinet of hardware.
The Cradlepoint AER all-in-one network solution for Advanced Edge Routing is perfect for small- and micro-branch networks. Doddle is now able to run sites from a single in-store connection, bringing together routing, multi- WAN support, advanced security, private network support, and high-performance WiFi in a platform that it can deploy, manage, and optimise via the cloud. With one or more handheld computers, label printer, tablet and a payment device alongside the Cradlepoint AER with NetCloud Manager (NCM), the network management service available in the Cradlepoint NetCloud platform, Doddle can get a shop up and running within hours and operate from even the busiest places with a minimal footprint.
Doddle’s legacy network was more expensive to purchase, deploy, and maintain. It required more devices and consequently took up more space. Now, with Cradlepoint, Doddle has a solution that offers a host of efficiencies and advantages that will continue to support its aim of being the world leader in ‘click & collect.’
“We are looking to grow our store estate tenfold in 2017. To be able to do this successfully we had to make sure our network was able to manage connectivity for a growing number of locations and be flexible enough to keep up with our rollout pace. Cradlepoint has been an important element of this and enabled us to shrink the space taken up by hardware, giving us more square inches for parcel storage,” said Gary O’Connor, CTO, Doddle.
Doddle has implemented a number of changes to its technology network to give it greater flexibility to support its expansion. The sum of these changes, including the switch to Cradlepoint, has reduced CapEx and technology OpEx by nearly 50 per cent. Doddle no longer requires multiple devices and has been able to operate networks with a small IT team that can support and maintain its systems remotely.
“There were a number of other vendors we considered when we were looking to make the change, but Cradlepoint offered the best product for the best price.”
Cradlepoint’s solution offers the most adaptable networking available. The AER devices have five network ports at the back, which provides the ultimate flexible networking with built-in connectivity for DSL, Ethernet, WiFi, and dual-modem, multi-carrier cellular support. Cradlepoint’s NCM has made deploying and managing Doddle’s network a ‘doddle.’ It is easy to monitor, validate, and spin up network connections remotely.
“With five network ports on the back, having that extra one works really nicely for us,” stated O’Connor. “The cloud management capability is a big support to our team, allowing them to remotely provision hundreds of devices around the country and isolate and address any issues without having to go into field. If we have to validate and switch a connection from wired to mobile, it’s easily done.”
Doddle’s retail environment has extreme space constraints. It is operating in busy commuter areas, shopping centres, universities, and within other retail stores—often sharing a counter and power and data connectivity. Cradlepoint has provided a solution that works from a single device that is compact and doesn’t require stacking alongside other hardware.
O’Connor stated, “Cradlepoint has really helped us to reduce the amount of space we require for our hardware in new locations. Where previously we needed to accommodate a metre-high cabinet, now we’re able to open new locations with a device the size of a box of chocolates.”
HIGH LEVEL OF SERVICE
There are a host of advantages that sit behind Cradlepoint’s technology. However, the greatest must be the high level of service that the sales and support teams deliver.
“Cradlepoint has differentiated themselves in terms of the level of onboarding support and ongoing customer service it offers. This level of service really does make a difference when implementing large-scale rollouts for relatively small, internal teams like ours,” concluded O’Connor.