Sweet Harvest Foods - Managed IT

Company Overview

Sweet Harvest Foods is a worldwide leader in honey procurement and distribution. The company is one of the largest processors of 100% pure, all-natural honey with offices in Minnesota, California and Michigan. They distribute their products—honey, molasses and agave—to food manufacturers, national retail and grocery chains, and food distributors. Sweet Harvest Foods takes pride in ensuring superior honey supply and product quality. Their approach allows for supply chain transparency, traceability and consistent quality of products. From hive to home, Sweet Harvest Foods is your trusted resource for honey.

The Problem

If your company had an overnight merger and suddenly grew twice its size, how would your IT department keep up? Brian Pleschourt, IT Director at Sweet Harvest Foods, had to answer that question. He faced rapid growth when a larger company purchased the organization. “We instantly more than doubled in size, and that added a California location and a Michigan location, combined with our two Minnesota locations,” he explained.

Even before Sweet Harvest Foods’ swift expansion, Pleschourt was the lone IT staff member. “I was the only person, so I was busy. Fortunately, I partnered with Marco six months before the merger. (At that time), I wasn't aware of the merger but was planning for future growth.” With about 30 years of IT experience, Pleschourt originally needed assistance with only some tier-two and tier-three aspects. “I needed support for things…that were outside my knowledge. That’s why I went to a hybrid solution. I liked the flexible support offerings.” Marco assisted him with specific IT issues and provided service for the tougher problems.

Pleschourt worked hands-on with tier-one IT solutions, acting as the Support Desk for Sweet Harvest Foods. After Sweet Harvest Foods transitioned into multi-locations with multiple domains, he needed help implementing best practices. So, Pleschourt added Marco’s Support Desk full time, which now remotely services all four locations across the country. Marco’s expert Support Desk members assist Pleschourt and his coworkers using their various skill sets. “Having you as my IT department with full Support Desk lets me know that if I need a network expert or an Exchange expert, they are available to me.”

A Managed IT Solution

Marco’s Managed IT services assured Pleschourt that Sweet Harvest Foods could adapt to the changes, mitigate risk and standardize systems. Pleschourt said the Consulting Systems Engineer he worked with at Marco was instrumental in the planning and implementation of new hardware, firewalls, switches, servers, etc. Marco also added Backup as a Service (BaaS) and private cloud (IaaS), plus helped find ISPs for reliable Internet. The Marco team installed teleconference rooms in a Minnesota location, as well.

“Right now, all four sites have Cisco Meraki, redundant firewalls, redundant Internet, and redundancy in switches. We implemented each project for the migration and standardization across all platforms,” Pleschourt said. He and Marco wanted to eliminate single point of failure with the back-ups and store data in one secure spot.

"I recommend Marco, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that you have a deep bench of experts. I’m very satisfied. Marco doesn’t present itself like an IT subcontractor. I feel we are true business partners."

Besides Marco’s aid, Pleschourt appreciates the quality of the chosen Cisco products. He said the visibility and remote management of the firewalls, switches and access points have proven to be extremely advantageous.

Although some IT directors or IT staff members may feel threatened by bringing in another company, Pleschourt said he never felt hesitant to partner with Marco. “I think a company still needs an IT leader. Marco is my IT department and business partner. I’ve never felt endangered by the fact that I’ve brought Marco on board. I was drowning in work, too, at that point.”

Although the IT field can be unpredictable, and technology is always changing, Pleschourt said Marco has helped solve problems when his anxiety level rises. He explained that he has been able to reach the right people and escalate requests. “You can’t anticipate everything that is going to happen on a project; Marco excels at being very responsive to change.” He added that the implementation process, from the first contact to planning to installing, went smoothly.

Now, Marco is helping Pleschourt merge their domains into one. He plans to continue working with Marco for further projects and, of course, utilize the Support Desk. Pleschourt even offers input to Marco through our Leadership Council, a group of customers who provide feedback about Marco’s products and services to enhance clients’ experience.

“I recommend Marco, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that you have a deep bench of experts. I’m very satisfied. Marco doesn’t present itself like an IT subcontractor. I feel we are true business partners. We share responsibility,” Pleschourt said.

He brainstorms with Marco team members to discover the most fitting solutions to meet his needs, and that has helped Sweet Harvest Foods succeed.