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Software by and for seed companies

Virtual stocks early in the season

Because it is uncertain how many potatoes are stored in the barns at the end of the season, specially adapted software is needed. Eight seed companies decided to work together, and had software developed that meets their demands. The result is called Agrio, and it was developed by Newminds.

Agrio is based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV, for which an add-on was written. The software functions as one for the complete company administration. “As a user, you have only one interface,” says Tonnis Wierenga from Newminds. This software can be applied to the uncertain situation of potatoes and vegetables, according to Wierenga. The software makes an estimate of the harvest, which allows for virtual stocks early in the season. In order to make those estimates, the software uses historic data, sample harvests and box assessments. “It is a flexible system that can be used for all strains. It can work with, for example, both table potatoes and chip potatoes,” says Wierenga.



Estimates
“Uncertain factors always occur, but we try to predict as accurately as possible what yields will be per strain,” Wierenga continues. All the data needed for that is available, but often not digitised. That data has been put in the system for Agrio, allowing for accurate predictions per strain.

For new strains, which have less data available, the data put in by the traders is automatically added to the database. This increases the data-pool, making predictions more accurate. The same is true for data of older strains. Company-specific data is only available to the company using the software. “That data is added to the database per company,” Wierenga assures users.

Much is digitised by the software. Not just harvest estimates can be found in the system, but, for example, customer preferences for packaging can also be put in. “If you put in a customer order in the system, the cultivator will be given an assignment with instructions for sorting and packing. Once the order has been processed, an e-mail is sent that the batch is ready,” Wierenga explains.

Working together
The system runs on Microsoft software. If Microsoft carries out adjustments, or releases a new version, Newminds will add those changes to the software. “Operation of the system is similar to Microsoft Office. We continue to follow Microsoft’s developments, and adjust our software accordingly. This guarantees continuity.”

Eight large seed companies decided to develop the software together, so that it functions on the specific market they are working on. Agroplant, De Nijs Potatoes, Den Hartigh, Q-potato, Royal ZAP, Schaap Holland, Semagri and The Potato Company worked on the development. Additionally, Newminds is in contact with onion and outdoor vegetable companies. Despite the software being developed for the potato and seed trade, it could also be used for onions and outdoor vegetables.

As of this moment, three companies are working with the first version of the software. A Newminds’ team is paying close attention to whether the software meets demands, and interferes if necessary in order to make adjustments. It is expected that Agrio will be marketed from the first quarter of 2017. “The software will be ready in time for the new season,” Wierenga concludes.

For more information:
New Minds
Tonnis Wierenga

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