Press Release:

HP ProCurve Networking Key Ingredient in General Mills' IT Recipe

Successful 20-plus year relationship results in company standardizing on HP ProCurve Networking solutions globally
PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 20, 2004

General Mills is standardizing worldwide on the HP ProCurve Switch 5300xl series at its network edge. General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products, chose HP because of its technology, dedication to standards and renowned service, as well as the two companies' long standing IT relationship. The Fortune 500 company is utilizing the HP ProCurve Adaptive EDGE Architecture to cost-effectively move more intelligence and control to the edge of the network.

"We see HP ProCurve Networking as a trusted partner, not just another IT vendor," said MCV Johnson, senior director of Information Systems operations, General Mills. "This valued relationship has lasted more than 20 years and is one of the reasons we decided to standardize our network on the HP ProCurve Switch 5300xl series. Our goal is to keep the network as simple as possible, reducing the number of points for failure and increasing uptime. HP ProCurve makes that possible."

Growth and strategy bring challenges and opportunities

Traditionally, General Mills has followed a conservative approach to technology. "We don't just buy technology for the sake of buying technology. We want to see how it is performing in the market before we implement it. But there have been some technologies that we've put on the fast track," said Johnson.

One such technology was multicasting. General Mills implemented a multicast product to deliver its year-end report and streamlined company internal communications. After that, the company was one of the first to have HP Superdome computers, and then move on to blade servers.

"But the important thing to remember is that it all comes down to, 'How does it help the business?' That is key," said Johnson. "We followed that strategy when we were evaluating standardizing our network as we continued to grow."

General Mills' acquisition of The Pillsbury Company resulted in the need to integrate a large number of networking components. The company recognized that standardizing its network would result in increased ease of maintenance and lower help desk costs. HP ProCurve's affordable port density enabled General Mills to take better advantage of Gigabit to its blade servers and closet farms. General Mills' expansion at its corporate headquarters in Minneapolis in October 2003 is the latest addition to the company's network.

As a major consumer and commercial food supplier, General Mills needed 24 by 7 uptime for plant floors and distribution centers, which required a solid networking infrastructure. "We hardly get any help desk calls about the network because HP ProCurve technology performs so well," Johnson said. "I also don't have to worry about firmware upgrades because they are hassle-free and HP ProCurve offers a lifetime warranty. That comfort level in the quality of the product means a lot to me."

Adaptive EDGE Architecture delivers secure, multi-service network for General Mills

The HP ProCurve Adaptive EDGE Architecture uses intelligent edge devices to efficiently control and manage access, thus enabling advanced applications, including mobility, security and convergence, to function correctly and concurrently without interference. By standardizing with the HP ProCurve Switch 5300xl series, General Mills can effectively respond to immediate issues that could impact business.

"The HP ProCurve Adaptive EDGE Architecture provides General Mills with a solid network infrastructure that offers the intelligence and control at the network's edge that is necessary to support changing requirements and the needs of their growing business. For example, the standardized architecture eases the implementation of future security models with wireless technology," said Darla Sommerville, general manager for the Americas, HP ProCurve Networking Business. "HP will continue to partner with General Mills to enable advanced security, mobility and convergence applications to meet the networking needs of its business."

General Mills is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products, with annual worldwide net sales of $11.5 billion. Its global brand portfolio includes Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Bugles and more. It also has more than 100 U.S. consumer brands, more than 30 of which generate annual retail sales in excess of $100 million. Included in the U.S. portfolio are some of the nation's most popular brands, including Cheerios, Wheaties and other Big G cereal brands; Yoplait and Colombo yogurts, Betty Crocker desserts and dinner mixes; Betty Crocker and Nature Valley snacks; Totino's frozen pizza and snacks and Progresso ready-to-serve soups. General Mills is also a leader in the bakeries and foodservice business as a major supplier of baking and other food products to the foodservice and commercial baking industries.

HP ProCurve wired and wireless products, services and solutions - including Ethernet switches, routing switches and network-management applications - allow customers to build networks based on open standards that meet current and future needs for security, performance and reliability.

More information about HP ProCurve networking solutions and products is available at

About HP

HP (NYSE:HPQ) is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the fiscal year ending on Oct. 31, 2003, HP revenue totaled $73.1 billion. More information about HP is available at

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About HP

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