Seeding Le Nature’s infrastructure

Scalable infrastructure helps juice company flourish

In 2000, tea, water, and juice maker Le Nature had just a couple users running its DOS-based Real World Software financial, inventory, and sales applications on one server, and e-mail was handled by an outside provider. Because the business plan called for significant growth, IT Director Ron Clark engineered a scalable infrastructure within the company. He started with four servers, one each for e-mail (Microsoft Exchange), files, security (firewall and McAfee anti-virus), and ERP.

For ERP, Clark chose Microsoft’s Navision mid-level suite because of its ease of implementation, which was a key concern for a company that had just one other IT staffer. He’s not sure how far it can scale, but he likes the fact that even though it has its own proprietary database it also supports SQL Server, which would ensure easier scalability and migration later. Clark envisions eventually adopting an SAP or Siebel ERP system if Navision hits a growth ceiling, but he foresees no need at this point to go beyond Exchange.

As the company opens a new distribution center in Phoenix this year, Clark sees Navision and Exchange as fully able to support the new multisite environment. That’s because their Web-services orientation minimizes the need for custom development, he says. After all, he still has a small staff: up from two in 2000 to five today.

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