Prime Mover Magazine

Supagas upgrades network with new partner

Fuso-aligned industrial gas supplier, Supagas, has turned to Macquarie to overhaul a complex, multi-provider network.

The Australian LPG services specialist will partner with Macquarie Telecom as hybrid cloud and emerging technologies beckon Supagas, who has grown significantly with several acquisitions and subsequent sales to Japanese company Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation.

With distribution centres, branches and agencies nationwide, Supagas, which operates over 500 trucks and trailers nationally, was left with a complicated and outdated network, comprising pieces of fibre, wireless, nbn and ADSL services. This was hindering its ability to innovate and transition to digital services.

As a leading supplier of LPG, industrial, medical, specialty and helium gas bottles in Australia, the company's modern facilities enable it to provide multiple gas types and products as well as specialised laboratories to mix and test specialty gases.

Working with Macquarie Telecom to overhaul the network and deploy its SD-WAN and SIP services in all 41 sites, Supagas has seen a smooth transition from 20 independent phone systems and five different providers into one company-wide VoIP service.

“Our customers’ ability to contact our branches directly is the most essential part of our business and supply chain, and it was time to transition from traditional voice to a cloud-based VoIP system,” said Peter Sudiro, National IT Manager, Supagas. “We needed solid connectivity and couldn’t rely on our overly-complex network to navigate this transition without disruption to our communications.”

SD-WAN maximises the network speed and reliability at each site and includes a 4G failover to ensure robust communications.

The increased visibility and control has enabled Supagas to prioritise VoIP calls ahead of other services such as email, video conferencing and ERP. A recent survey showed 62 per cent of Australian businesses have deployed or plan to deploy SD-WAN in the next 12 months.

Macquarie is also managing Supagas’ nbn migration, with 90 per cent of sites now on the national network.

The telco has upgraded connections to business-grade fibre in most premises, increasing speed by between fourfold and tenfold while lowering costs for Supagas by 21 per cent.

The gas provider is working with IT partner Aurilo Communications and Macquarie Data Centres’ Intellicentre facilities to host its VoIP system and its FortiGate VPN, which has been essential in helping the business remain fully operational during COVID-19 restrictions.

Staff were able to quickly transition to working from home and communicate with customers without any downtime.

“We’re looking towards more online services leveraging Macquarie’s Cloud Services and Data Centre businesses following the success so far,” added Sudiro. “Ultimately, we’re moving to hybrid cloud with infrastructure hosted where possible and our team managing software in-house, with emerging technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) being part of that.”

Supagas has also transitioned over three quarters of its mobile services from a mixture of tier one providers to Macquarie Telecom. This has given the company better control and visibility over its team’s shared data pool and an easy to use management tool. It has also delivered cost savings of 37 per cent with further savings expected once the remaining legacy requirements expire and Macquarie manages the full service.

“This pandemic has forced businesses across Australia to focus and rely more and more on their telco and cloud services, and many are getting a wake-up call to the inefficiencies that exist,” said Luke Clifton, Group Executive, Macquarie Telecom.

“Supagas realised ahead of this that multiple providers, networks links, and systems became untenable over time. As we continue to rely on these services more post-pandemic, and we enter an uncertain economic climate, it’s important that businesses demand more from their telcos and hold them to account over unnecessary complication and cost.”

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