Commercial vehicles & agricultural machinery manufacturer Krone relies on Aagon

Since June 2016, the IT department of the commercial vehicle and agricultural machinery manufacturer Krone has been managing the PCs of the company network with the modular client management solution ACMP, which goes far beyond classic software distribution solutions.

Innovative, competent and focused on the customer - these are the strengths of the Krone Group, which is one of the world's market leaders in the agricultural machinery and commercial vehicle sector. The fact that this philosophy is also lived out internally within the company is proven by the latest IT solution - the introduction of the ACMP suite.

The Krone Group has expanded strongly in recent decades - new locations and thus many new employees have been integrated into the group. For the IT department this means: Continuously purchasing, configuring and maintaining new computers and making the entire infrastructure fit for further growth.

Expressed in numbers, this means: 1,200 computers a few years ago have now become about 2,500 PCs; these are managed and maintained by the 30 employees in the Krone IT team. The computing centres are located at the two main German sites in Spelle (production of agricultural machinery) and Werlte (production of commercial vehicles).

Around 2,500 computers are currently registered in the network - most clients are Windows-based, and so are the servers. In addition there are some Linux computers. 

Depending on the department and the technical requirements, a standard workstation is equipped with a basic set of SAP, Microsoft Office, Java and a variety of other software.

Client management must be scalable

"Until now, client management and software distribution were mostly handled by simple, basic open source solutions," states Lukas Schepers, IT project manager at Krone. But these were not suitable for much more than the roll-out of new computers and the initial installation. They were not designed for growth due to a lack of scalability. For Schepers and his IT administrator colleague Stefan Kötter, this meant manually collecting all client data during ongoing operations: where is which computer, what is it doing, which software versions are installed on it?

With the introduction of the ACMP suite, Krone has said goodbye to this routine. They now have a tool for client management that goes far beyond classic software distribution solutions.

"We had tested a number of market-leading providers. However, the modular software suite ACMP stood out from the competition mainly because of its high flexibility and good manageability," explains Stefan Kötter. "The Aagon team took on board our wishes and suggestions for improvement very quickly and implemented them almost immediately." For example, some of Krone's own programmes required the use of fonts that are not part of the Windows repertoire. Aagon then created a small function in the Client Command that makes it easy to install these without having to use complex scripts.

"In our experience, something like this is rather complicated and time-consuming with larger or international manufacturers. It's different with Aagon; here they act like Krone - always seeking direct dialogue with the customer in order to find a solution. We are very satisfied with the way the Aagon experts respond and the speed with which they implement our wishes."

Initial inventory

After a testing period, the system went into productive use in June 2016. At the start of the project, an initial inventory provided information about all the computers in the company. The Aagon One Scan Client was deployed via Microsoft group policies for this purpose.

The start of the project was well prepared; the basic inventory was in place and the ACMP agent could be distributed. On this basis, containers were set up and the majority of the software used was packaged via client commands. In the course of this, the IT team gradually replaced the previous client management solution.

Automated standard for operating system assembly

Krone has licensed all modules of the ACMP suite - except for Mobile Device Management and the Helpdesk. Work with ACMP Asset Management and Software Detective for license management is also in progress. Krone was already well advanced in packaging and patch management two months after going productive - thanks to good support from the Aagon team. One of the most important functionalities of the ACMP-suite for Krone is OS deployment: "As soon as computers arrive from the supplier, we have to quickly install them, load them with Windows and connect them to the domain", explains Stefan Kötter. "This is no longer done manually, with the new solution we have created a standard by which OS deployment always runs in the same automated way."

From the IT-administrators point of view, the Aagon solution with its package wizard and the simple creation of installation packages via client commands is much easier to handle than the tested, comparable products.

Krone now creates standards for installations using around 60 client commands. "If ten IT colleagues installed software that was a bit more complex, there used to be five different types," Lukas Schepers remembers. The client commands now ensure that all computers are supplied identically with the same software packages. All of them have the same version, which of course simplifies maintenance immensely.

Helpdesk has more time for actual support

The IT department of each company division has a helpdesk, which used to be called upon for client management tasks - i.e. manually installing software, setting up new computers, etc. The helpdesk now has more time for real support. Meanwhile, the colleagues can carry out real support activities, since client management can be handled more quickly thanks to automation.

The initial installation and roll-out of the clients is done by one colleague per location - until now, the entire helpdesk team was very busy here. This saves time for other important projects, such as an upcoming Exchange migration.

One of Stefan Kötter's favourite ACMP functions is the Client Command Console. "It makes it very easy to create a client command," the administrator is pleased to say. His colleague Schepers prefers managed software, through which he can download ready-packaged standard products from Aagon and use them directly: "That takes a lot of work off our shoulders. We don't have to repackage every Java version or create a new client command for it. Aagon makes the new releases available 48 hours after publication. This also allows us to react very quickly to security gaps."

Conclusion

Two months after the introduction, almost 2,000 PCs had been inventoried with the ACMP suite, as the software had not yet been rolled out across all sites. In future, Krone will also be able to provide the external sites with new software packages.

In addition, Krone wants to gradually integrate the foreign branches into the client management system: Exciting future projects that can be easily mastered with the right software.

Briefly noted:

Workplace stations to be connected:
5400

Products used:
ACMP Application Usage Tracking, ACMP Asset Management, ACMP Contacts Adapter, ACMP Container Adapter, ACMP CTI, ACMP Desktop Automation, ACMP Helpdesk, ACMP Inventory, ACMP license Management, ACMP OS Deployment, ACMP Package Cloud, ACMP Retired Clients, ACMP Security Detective

Project start:
2015

About Krone


Krone is one of the world's leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles and agricultural machinery. Under the roof of Bernard Krone Holding SE & Co. KG, Krone Commercial Vehicle SE in Werlte and Krone Agriculture SE with headquarters in Spelle operate under the umbrella of Bernard Krone Holding SE & Co. The company was founded in 1906 in Spelle by Bernhard and Anna Krone as a blacksmith and craft business. Since 2010, it has been managed by Bernard Krone, the fourth generation. More than 4,500 employees generated a revenue of around € 1.6 billion in the 2014/2015 business year.

ACMP sounds exciting to you?
Try it out now for free!

Es scheint, als wären Sie auf nicht auf der gewünschten Sprachversion dieser Website gelandet. Möchten Sie wechseln?

Zur Version