See Other Retail Stories

SternPartner GmbH & Co. KG

SternPartner GmbH & Co. KG

Highlights

  • Distributed German dealership and automotive service center group
  • 14 locations supporting major brands including Mercedes Benz
  • Unified wireless, switching, and security provide centralized management

From dealerships to automotive services, SternPartner’s 14 retail stores in Northern Germany see thousands of customers annually and handle more than 70,000 service appointments. SternPartner represents a number of brands, including Mercedes Benz, and strives to provide customers with the highest level of service. Uwe Fabian, IT Director, needed a simple-to-manage and cost-effective network for the distributed locations that could easily support employee access and guest usage. SternPartner chose the Meraki solution, deploying a switch, security appliance, and access points at each location.


Original Networking Challenges

  • Previous solution was powerful, but difficult to install and operate across distributed sites, and also required wireless controllers
  • On-premise solution meant that IT team had little day-to-day visibility and needed to travel to sites in the event of an issue or necessary re-configuration
Cisco Meraki is so easy to handle that you don’t need in-depth technical training. A two hour briefing was enough. Configuring the device is almost as easy as building with Lego bricks.Uwe Fabian, IT Director

Why Cisco Meraki

  • Meraki dashboard provides centralized visibility over distributed locations and insight into network usage, traffic, devices, and applications
  • Unified visibility of switching, security, and wireless all in one web-based dashboard reduces management overhead and eliminates complexity
  • Meraki device “tagging” in dashboard permits certain SSIDs to only be broadcast on certain tagged APs
  • Integration with various sign-on methods, including Facebook and Twilio, allows the team to streamline user experience while simultaneously promoting brand awareness


The Deployment

  • 1 Layer 2 8-port PoE switch, 1 MX60 branch security appliance, and 1-2 APs installed in about 30 minutes at each site
  • Group policies based on device and user type allow the IT team to create customized settings with varied levels of bandwidth access and time-based settings
  • Per-port switch configurations provide energy savings and added security by cutting power to devices during non-operational hours
  • Employees sign on using a pre-shared key, while guest access is configured with a restrictive captive portal and Twilio-based SMS authentication


Results

  • With IT only at one site, the ease of use, administration, and troubleshooting allows the team to be proactive and resolve issues remotely
  • Employees in repair workshops use iPads and iPhones to access the WiFi to check on costs, delivery times for spare parts, and to expedite their projects
  • Guests report a better overall experience and employees are pleased with the ease of access and faster network
  • Increased guest interaction is possible with WiFi with Facebook Login, custom splash pages, CMX location analytics, etc.
  • Looking into Bluetooth and Beacon integration for asset tracking at each location and creating a smoother guest notification process
  • Plans to connect each location via site-to-site VPN to migrate corporate traffic away from expensive MPLS lines with an expected 80% cost savings