The Schindler Group, founded in 1874, is one of the world’s leading providers of elevators and escalators as well as accompanying services. With its mobility solutions, Schindler transports more than 1 billion people globally every day. The driving force behind this success is the company’s staff numbering 58,000 employees in 100 countries – of whom 4,700 are based in Switzerland. Many of them work in the production facilities at the headquarters in Switzerland. Alongside these two Swiss sites, Schindler also manufactures in Europe at plants in Slovakia and Spain.
As part of a reorganization process, all of Schindler’s European sites were put under one organizational umbrella. Since then, the responsible IT team at the Ebikon site has been striving to standardize solutions and processes at all the sites. New solutions are often first deployed in Ebikon before being implemented at other sites. As a manufacturer of mobility solutions, Schindler uses the latest computer-based production systems in its manufacturing. A diversity of machines mill, cut, bend, punch or glue the thousands of parts needed to make elevators and escalators. The IT specialist Rene Blättler is responsible for general enterprise IT as well as for the specialized IT deployed in production at the headquarters in Ebikon. Describing the starting situation, he says: “Basically, we had two problems: firstly, we had to replace the outdated file transfer protocol (FTP) for compliance reasons and, secondly, we needed a more reliable solution for the process management of the CMD and patch files, which the manufacturing machinery needs for production.” During their search for a remedy, Blättler’s and the IT team’s attention was drawn to Ipswitch. They contacted the authorized Ipswitch partner QBITS in Zurich, which then presented them with a suitable solution for both problems: Ipswitch MOVEit and Ipswitch WS_FTP Server.
A new security policy meant that the insecure FTP protocol at Schindler needed to be replaced urgently with a secure solution. Ipswitch WS_FTP Server uses secure, standardized protocols to provide a simple and secure way of storing data as well as sharing and transmitting data between systems, applications, groups, and individuals. The solution allows files to not only be transferred quickly and easily but absolutely securely too. Furthermore, in conjunction with MOVEit, it enables processes to be automated.
Implementing WS_FTP Server was decided relatively quickly. The more complex challenge was to get a grip on the file transfers for the machines in production. In the past, Schindler used file transfer processes based on scripts in its production. This method, however, often proved highly unreliable and meant that several times a week, in the event of machine failure, the team had to search for the fault manually.
So Schindler needed a reliable and straightforward solution that offered centralized, proactive monitoring, thus increasing operational reliability. QBITS was able to offer a solution from Ipswitch here too: MOVEit Managed File Transfer simplifies managing file transfers and provides full access to files, events, users, policies, and processes. With MOVEit, IT teams can ensure data exchange complies with the applicable data protection policies; they can reduce costs using automation functions and can at the same time help maintain compliance with internal and external service level agreements (SLAs)
Describing the solution, Daniel Hotz, project manager at QBITS, says: “The package comprising WS_FTP Server and MOVEit is ideal for Schindler. It fulfills all the requirements, including those of compliance and the company-wide security policy, and is able to meet future requirements too. Since the consolidation, MOVEit Automation now enables centralized, efficient and proactive monitoring and provides transparency for all the relevant file transfer processes and, furthermore, provides auditable logging.”
Installation and training took place over two days. Three servers were set up from scratch: two for WS_FTP Server to enable file transfer with FTP-S and one for MOVEit Automation for handling file management in production. QBITS trained Rene Blättler’s IT staff on site and together they created the first process automation tasks. The solution has been used in production ever since, all processes have been integrated as far as possible, and the team has thus been able to boost operational reliability considerably. Rene Blättler: “With our old script-based solution, we had an outage three or four times a month, each one having a negative impact on production and requiring a great deal of effort to pinpoint the problem. With MOVEit, the system is stable, and when an issue does crop up, we can locate and remedy the fault immediately thanks to the central monitoring system. Often what happens is that I’ll even spot a fault in the data center a long time before the machine operators in production notice it.” Thanks to an active email notification function, the IT team is also kept informed about disruptions to the production processes even outside working hours.
With Ipswitch MOVEit and Ipswitch WS_FTP, Schindler now has state-of-the-art solutions at its disposal that make file sharing fast, straightforward, and secure in the company’s administration as well as in its production.