Client Success: Affy Tapple
A Chicagoland tradition since 1948, Affy Tapple is the leading regional supplier of caramel apples and specialty confection treats. Affy Tapple produces caramel apples that are sold in grocery stores and at school fundraisers in the Midwest. The company also operates a gourmet brand, Mrs. Prindable’s, that provides products to specialty retailers, gourmet food stores and directly to consumers via television and the Internet. The perishable products from both brands are made to order and ship the same day to ensure the freshness their customers have come to expect.
In 1995, Affy Tapple changed ownership and evolved from a simple operation to a major manufacturing firm. With the addition of Mrs. Prindable’s five years later, Affy Tapple invested in a new manufacturing system to support its rapidly expanding business. While this consolidated many of the accounting and inventory management functions, there remained a number of stand-alone technology solutions that each ran on its own hardware. Affy Tapple soon found itself with an increasingly complex IT infrastructure and a heavy reliance on technology.
Not only do the IT systems need to work, they need to work fast and be dependable — there’s no room for downtime. Affy Tapple’s reputation for quality depends upon the freshness of its products. This means that orders received in the morning are made to order and often ship the same day. As demand grew, it became increasingly important that Affy Tapple’s orders were processed with speed and accuracy. As a result, the company needed its IT systems to be highly reliable and able to manage high spikes in demand. During the height of the busy season, there is no room for business disruption – every second counts and the network must be working 100% of the time.
Affy Tapple came to SWC to help increase the reliability, performance, and manageability of their IT environment. As a first step, SWC conducted a site assessment to better understand Affy Tapple’s current IT situation. After reviewing the server and network environment, SWC recommended upgrades to the server, backup and network to ensure that these systems would appropriately support Affy Tapple’s business needs – today and in the future. After studying the assessment results and knowing SWC’s quality of work and proven track record, Affy Tapple decided to have SWC implement the recommended solutions prior to the start of the busy season.
The timeline was tight and failure was not an option. SWC identified the high-risk items and created an implementation plan that would meet Affy Tapple’s compressed timeline. SWC upgraded the infrastructure, providing dedicated on-site support staff to ensure that the new systems were performing as expected. To provide proactive monitoring and ongoing system support, SWC recommended its Managed Services solution. Managed IT services enables a company to outsource or augment the monitoring and management of their network environment. A “managed environment” is an ideal solution for many growing businesses. SWC’s Managed Services solutions offer a combination of technology, people and process that allows SWC to remotely monitor, quickly identify and proactively repair issues that could challenge network or server performance, avoiding service disruption.
Affy Tapple is passionate about its products. As the creators of “the original gourmet caramel apple,” it’s been Affy Tapple’s commitment to quality and innovation that has turned a sweet Fall treat into a thriving confectionery business. Affy Tapple expects the same passion and commitment from its partners. Consequently, they set the bar high for SWC’s recommendations and results. And SWC delivered on time and with creative solutions that eliminated the possibility of service disruptions and ensured consistent oversight for their systems.
Affy Tapple now has an optimized and streamlined infrastructure with the capacity to easily meet seasonal spikes in demand. They have a Managed Services solution in place to monitor, maintain and secure their systems. However, what is most important to Affy Tapple is that they have gained a reliable IT partner in SWC whom they can trust to help guide the company to make technology decisions that will support the growth of their business.
Since the initial infrastructure project, SWC has worked with Affy Tapple on an ongoing basis. Now with the network running smoothly, Affy Tapple has the time and resources to undertake strategic IT projects that will improve business performance and enable Affy Tapple to provide exceptional service to its growing customer base.