Customer Success Story
Delivering exceptional shopper experiences with a flexible multiservice network
The largest rural lifestyle retailer in America, Tractor Supply Company is breaking new ground delivering a consistent customer experience in stores and online.
Stores, 10 distribution centers, and e-commerce operations are supported by multiservice network and high-performance data centers
Stores piloted guest Wi-Fi in in less than two weeks
Network operations and lowered network support costs
Retail operations, payment processing, and IoT devices with a securely segmented network
Tractor Supply strives to deliver a customer-centric experience, whether online, in one of its 20,000-square-foot stores, or over the phone. It does this by offering modern-day amenities such as the ability to buy online and pick up items at the store, with a customer’s full order waiting at the door or tucked into a physical locker. To keep its shelves stocked with the latest products, the company leverages the latest technology from the retail floor to its distribution centers.
But the company’s legacy network was straining under the heavy load of business growth. Tractor Supply set out to refresh its network to meet its goals of opening 100 new stores each year and rapidly growing e-commerce sales.
“You’re probably not going to find many enterprises that start their relationship with a vendor by replacing their core network,” says Raymond Beaudoin, who, as senior network architect at Tractor Supply, has overseen the network for the last six years. “It was a highlight of my career to sit with my C-level executives and explain that I believed Juniper was a benefit to Tractor Supply Company.”
“The Juniper platform is truly a Swiss Army knife,” says Beaudoin. “The MX Series offered us every feature set we were looking for within one box.”
With Juniper Networks MX Series Universal Routing Platforms as the foundation, Tractor Supply built an IP/MPLS carrier-grade, multiservice network to support its retail operations across the U.S. The network delivers the highest levels of performance, availability, and security. It also uses Juniper Networks QFX10008 and QFX5100 switches in its data centers. “We’re a Fortune 400 company, but we run our network like a service provider,” says Beaudoin.
The MX Series routers provide network segmentation at unprecedented scale. Network segmentation enables a single infrastructure to support many different business services—instore operations, payment processing, e-commerce operations, distribution centers, third-party vendors, as well as the company’s own administration. “With Juniper, we offer a service to our internal and our external customer that’s nearly invisible, and that’s been really great,” Beaudoin says.
With Juniper, Tractor Supply connected its stores far faster and at a fraction of the cost than had it stayed with its incumbent network vendor. Beaudoin estimates that building a Juniper network saved more than $2 million in upfront capital costs alone, because of Juniper’s consistent architecture and the need to buy fewer different network products to support its retail operations. “We were able to deploy the Juniper network without making any changes to the stores,” says Beaudoin. “Juniper has given us the agility and scalability that we need.”
Store operations depend on fast, reliable connectivity, and Tractor Supply’s new network is more agile and easier to support. Credit and debit transactions are faster than they’ve ever been—in some cases, 100 time faster. Stores can take advantage of the boom in retail technology innovation. In-store kiosks, self-service package lockers, digital signage, and other IoT devices can perform their functions readily, while IoT traffic stays isolated and secure from payments and other sensitive data.
An agile, multiservice network enabled Tractor Supply to pilot guest Wi-Fi in 100 stores within two weeks. Many people in rural America live beyond the reach of high-speed broadband, but they can come into a Tractor Supply store for complimentary wireless Internet access. “A couple of scripts, and the entire thing was preconfigured and ready to go,” says Beaudoin. “It wouldn’t have been feasible without Juniper.”
Not only is the network far simpler and more flexible, but support costs are lower. “It’s so common in networking that people are stuck in a reactive state,” Beaudoin says. “We felt it, and it was unsustainable. Now with Juniper, we’re proactively ready to serve the business.”
A Juniper infrastructure and network automation is making it easier for Tractor Supply to embrace a multicloud strategy from its retail stores to its data center and cloud providers.
Published March 2019