When it acquired a new packaging plant in the UK, Futamura needed to migrate its core systems away from the infrastructure of the plant’s previous owner. Meridian helped Futamura build a new fully managed, hybrid cloud platform and re-engineer the application—boosting performance, reliability, security, and developer agility.
The launch of the new MES platform went flawlessly, with no impact on business users and no major issues post go-live. The new version of the application runs faster and more reliably than ever before, and Futamura can be confident that all its software is fully patched with the latest security updates.
“Meridian handles all day-to-day infrastructure management and application support, so we can keep our in-house IT team focused on strategic projects,” says Rebecca Farrimond. “And with Meridian’s developers at our disposal, we can adopt a much more agile approach to improving our applications. We already have a list of 150 enhancements we’d like to implement!”
For example, the Meridian team has already deployed a new feature that enables the MES to monitor faults on the production line where the cellulose film tears or breaks. By tracking these incidents more carefully, the company has been able to identify ways to improve the production process and minimise the risk of these faults— which will reduce wastage and save significant costs for the business.
Michelle Marshall concludes: “Our new IT platform gives us control of our own destiny and puts us in a strong position to move the business forwards. We’re excited to build on our partnership with Meridian IT and take the next steps on this journey.”
The major advantage of working with Meridian is that they can cover all the bases from infrastructure and managed cloud services to application development and support.
Commercial & IS Manager
Headquartered in Japan, Futamura is an international leader in the packaging and materials sector. It manufactures cellulose and plastic films, fibrous casings, phenolic sheets, non- woven textiles and activated carbon products for a vast range of use cases across industrial and consumer products.
Keen to expand its operations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, Futamura saw an opportunity to position itself as the world’s leading manufacturer of cellulose film by acquiring two new production sites from Innovia Films—one in the United States, and the other in the United Kingdom.
Following the acquisition, Futamura agreed a deal for Innovia to continue hosting and supporting the UK site’s core manufacturing execution system (MES). This arrangement worked well for the first two years, but as the two companies’ IT strategies began to diverge, Futamura needed to take ownership of its own platform.
Futamura wanted to keep its UK IT team as lean as possible, which meant hiring new developers and infrastructure specialists was not an option. Instead, the company decided to find a partner that could help it build a new IT architecture, modernise and migrate its MES application, and provide ongoing application and infrastructure support.
Futamura selected Meridian as its partner for the MES migration project. As a long-time supplier to Innovia, the Meridian team was already familiar with the company’s IT environment and understood the business situation, which gave Futamura confidence in their ability to design and deliver the right solution.
Rebecca Farrimond, Commercial & IS Manager at Futamura, adds: “The major advantage of working with Meridian is that they can cover all the bases from infrastructure and managed cloud services to application development and support. Meridian is one of the few partners in the UK that are the right size to offer the full range of services we needed, while still providing a personal service with a team that we know and trust.”
Meridian and Futamura worked closely together to design a new hybrid infrastructure, combining IBM Power Systems servers and IBM Storwize V7000 storage running on premises with a remote backup and disaster recovery environment hosted in the Meridian Power Cloud. Meridian runs the entire infrastructure as a fully managed service, with 24/7 remote monitoring to ensure that Futamura’s MES application always remains online.
In addition to migrating the MES to this new platform, Meridian’s software team also provided application modernisation services. The modernisation project involved upgrading the application code from an antiquated version of Java, moving to new versions of IBM WebSphere Application Server and Informix, and building a new interface with Futamura’s SAP ERP system. The development project proved to be more complex and time-consuming than the team expected, but Meridian provided the right resources to get the job done.
Meridian deployed the services of its Project Management Office (PMO). The PMO provided the templated methodology - Transform – to deliver the combined Software Development and Cloud Infrastructure deployment. This kept the integrated project on track and all the stakeholders connected throughout.
Michelle Marshall, Business Analyst at Futamura, comments: “Meridian even brought in one of the original developers of the application to help with the modernisation project. Despite the extra work required, they still delivered within the agreed budget. Knowing that Meridian will go the extra mile to keep their promises is a great sign for the future of the relationship.”