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Port of Workington

Introduction

The Port of Workington is one of the largest ports in Cumbria handling an estimated 300,000 tonnes of cargo per annum with around 250 cargo vessel movements.  Shipments can include import and exports of dry/liquid bulk, forestry cargo and other general cargo including chemicals and fuels, gypsum, cement, wood logs, aggregates, fertilisers, animal feeds, wood pulp, recyclables, offshore and industrial equipment and container freight.

In 2010/11, we spent six million pounds on transforming the Port of Workington into a major container port and our IT infrastructure was an essential part of that expansion process.

Partnering with the Port

In 2014, after having previous connections with David Allen, Jeremy Lihou and Colin Sharpe from the Port spoke to the team at David Allen IT Solutions, to discuss cloud-based data management options.

It was an enlightening discussion about how the cloud would work to benefit our business goals.  We are very focused on improving every aspect of the way our business works and are constantly looking for methods of increasing productivity while reducing running costs.

While naturally concerned about security and operational downtime, the team explained clearly how cloud services can provide businesses with more diverse opportunities for accessing their data and files.  We wanted to maximise efficiency whilst future-proofing our services including disaster recovery planning and IT security.

As a project plan developed, several areas of the Port’s current IT infrastructure came into focus.  It was clear that there were some areas that we would need to improve before moving to the cloud.  An open and honest discussion began with the team and a strategy started to develop.

For a while we had also wanted to improve our wireless internet access onsite. The IT Solutions team introduced us to a successful and cost-effective wireless system known as the Ubiquiti Unifi system.  They installed several access points around the site and we can now roam freely between site offices and have our laptops and smart technology devices link without the hassle of wireless keys and irregular signal strength.  The team segregated our business critical network away from a ‘visitors network’, this means we have peace of mind that visitors can share our internet connection wirelessly without the worry of data being compromised.

Part of the Port of Workington’s service offer is to hire out our conference room facilities.  Due to the location of the building, a method of networking the conference room was needed.  The team provided a ‘line of sight’ network configuration that would enable the conference room to have further wireless access points installed for delegates wanting to use the conference room facilities.  This work was carried out very professionally to the deadlines and high standards agreed.

The future

Working with David Allen IT Solutions has highlighted an area that other IT service providers have neglected.  They are very focused on providing proactive IT solutions and recognises that clients should not just hear from their IT support partner when a problem occurs, rather there should be an aligned ongoing discussion about the needs of the business.  The team listen and understand how a business works and recognises that each company is unique with its own processes and procedures.

The team have been able to communicate technical content at a level that allows us to make critical IT decisions at the Port while knowing we can pick up the phone and discuss our current and evolving IT needs without incurring unexpected costs.  We have signed up for an annual support contract with David Allen IT Solutions and we look forward to working with the team for many years to come and would highly recommend them to any business.

Port of Workington