Case Studies

Case Study: Nilfisk UK

15 March 2011 at 15:42 in Case Studies by Duncan Brown

Nilfisk distribution centre, Penrith

The Nilfisk Group manufacture, sell, and service cleaning equipment, from vacuum cleaners to road sweepers. When it opened its British arm in the 1970s it made sense for its distribution centre to be in Penrith with its historical links to the farming industry. It now employs about thirty people in distribution, sales, manufacturing and administration. The UK office is one of the largest in the group and it would like to grow.

But slow broadband is cramping it. The Penrith office has been marooned because of its feeble connection. “We pay £10,000 a year for our 2Mbps connection,” says Gary Edmonson, Nilfisk’s Finance Director. Even at that price, there is no guarantee of service and speeds are inconsistent. In Nilfisk’s native Denmark, he notes, they pay less than that for a 100Mbps connection linking the two principal offices. Videoconferencing between Europe and the US has become part of the normal run of business for Nilfisk, but there is no hope of joining these virtual meetings from Penrith. “They wouldn’t dare attempt to implement videoconferencing on our network,” says Gary. But if it were possible, he reckons the installation would pay for itself in savings on flights abroad alone.

Next generation IT services like teleconferencing were long considered the luxuries of a high-tech future, but for many international companies this is no longer the case. Next generation services can save them money, and the pace of change is accelerating. While it is only in the last two years that network speeds have started to affect business, Gary estimates that his company has fewer than 12 months to solve its network problems before the Nilfisk business will really start to be left behind other parts of the Nilfisk Group and this will have major implications for the UK business. “We’ve been based in Cumbria for many years, we’re desperate to stay in Cumbria,” says Gary. “The ability to access high speed broadband will be critical to our business going forward”.

Case Study: Travelling2

24 January 2011 at 11:02 in Case Studies by Nick B

Do you have a case study which may be of interest to the Broadband Cumbria community? Send us a message - [email protected].

Travelling2 is a national business based in the small village of Morland in the Eden Valley. It supplies travel clothing and accessories by mail-order, the internet and two shops, and employs 15 local people. The website is an increasingly important part of the business, currently accounting for about 25% of turnover and set to increase. However, the rural location threatens the future of the business.

“We have reasonable download broadband speeds, but poor upload speeds at the moment”, says Travelling2 owner Freddy Markham. “The office download speed is 0.32 Mbps and the upload speed 0.36 Mbps, a long way short of the theoretical speeds of 8Mbps and 6 Mbps respectively.This was tested using We need fast upload speeds to manage our website, upload photos and transfer data. Customers need fast download speeds so that higher resolution photos can be used on our site and the zoom function, which shows close-up detail, can be used without delays. It is also likely in future that we will want to incorporate on our site video footage of products in use, and this will also require fast upload and download speeds. Technically we need SDSL, not ADSL. It’s not available and there is no date when it will be. As broadband gets faster, how long will we have to wait?

In addition, and just as important, there is the separate need for universal mobile phone network coverage. In our village it is very patchy. It is easier to send texts from the Sahara desert than from home. I know, as I’ve done it. With handheld devices being used more and more for hundreds of applications including emails and internet as well as voice messages, we will simply be unable to compete. This is a pressing and urgent issue. There should be universal same-price access to both broadband and mobile network coverage just as there is to the post or telephones or electricity. Providing universal access is a proper use of public funds, and I urge the new Government to deliver it.”