Kilsaran: building its business with the right partnerships

Founded in Louth more than 50 years ago, Kilsaran is one of the most established home-grown success stories in the Irish building materials industry. A company known not just for its ready-mixed concrete but also for its wide range of paving and other building materials, Kilsaran moved in 2014 to expand its business through acquisition. It also expanded the efficiency of its communications infrastructure through a partnership with AirSpeed Telecom.

As the owner of its own manufacturing and quarry facilities, many of which are located in remote areas of Ireland, Kilsaran has always faced the challenge of working in locations that traditional telecommunications solutions can’t reach. After discovering that AirSpeed had the capability to provide innovative wireless connectivity at one of its sites in Tullamore, Kilsaran ultimately decided to hand its entire data communications contract to AirSpeed, in an agreement that now covers more than two dozen locations and multiple technologies, both wireless and fibre-based.

"We had already seen that AirSpeed could help us with some technical challenges at one of our sites, and we decided to work with them for our entire data infrastructure because they weren't just giving us more bandwidth more cheaply, they were also ready to help us with a major challenge: our acquisition of 10 new locations that we had to get onto our network in just eight weeks' time," recalls Tom McCarthy, Finance Director for Kilsaran

Kilsaran significantly increased its “footprint” in 2014 when it acquired many of the assets of another building materials company, Cemex, expanding the Kilsaran distribution network right across Ireland. On a tight two-month deadline, AirSpeed worked as lead program manager coordinating with Kilsaran's own internal IT team, its external IT supplier, and Kilsaran’s specialist enterprise software vendor to manage the on-time, on budget integration of every one of the 10 new sites to the Kilsaran wide-area network.

Today, Kilsaran reaches more than 25 sites across Ireland, with MPLS Wide Area Network connectivity data at every site and dual redundant fibre and licensed wireless at their headquarters.

The flexible data network designed and managed by AirSpeed is used to support all line of business applications at the company, including a voice over IP service deployed by its own IT team, its document management system and its fleet tracking system for more than 150 Kilsaran vehicles.

Unlike other companies who specialize in a single building material such as concrete – a highly localised business, due to the fact that ready-mixed concrete cannot travel great distances before it hardens – Kilsaran has a widely diversified business extending to blocks, paving products, tarmac and more, some of which is exported to the UK. But one thing all of its business areas have in common is the need for 24x7 uptime of IT systems and the underlying communications network.

"We look for and we receive up to 100% uptime from AirSpeed – and we absolutely need it," said Tom. "Reliability of our IT infrastructure is critical to our internal control process. We are sending out up to 300,000 dockets a year, and underlying it all is the AirSpeed network."

Looking ahead as it considers how to consolidate and continue growing its business, Kilsaran says its relationships with trusted suppliers like AirSpeed are absolutely part of its recipe for success.

"The benefits we realised working with AirSpeed started in the context of the challenges we faced finding high-bandwidth, high-quality connectivity in remote areas, but the benefits haven't stopped there," Tom said. "We told them we were looking for a communications partner when we signed this contract, and that's what they've been for us. When we really needed them to be there in the context of our acquisition, with very quick turnaround times, they sent in their best people and they never let us down.”