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Ballance Agri-Nutrients reaps savings

Ballance Agri-Nutrients reaps savings, health and safety benefits with new app

• New Kiwi developed Loader Driver app provides safer, streamlined business processes and cost efficiencies

• Offers full power of SAP S/4 HANA environment from mobile devices in smarter, easier format

• Fills gap in market with no out-of-the-box offerings available

• Developed in Neptune by New Zealand SAP provider Soltius

Auckland, New Zealand – Tuesday 24 April, 2018 - A new locally developed mobile app is helping Ballance Agri-Nutrients provide a safer environment for staff and customers, while removing paper-work, streamlining business processes and providing cost efficiencies for the company and its shareholders alike.

The New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative, which provides fertilisers as part of its business, called on its trusted technology partner, Soltius, to develop the mobile app which plugs into the company’s traditional SAP enterprise software.

The Loader Driver app mobilises the company’s SAP S/4 HANA system, providing ‘a shopping cart in your loader cab’ for the drivers to be able to more easily load spreading trucks picking up fertiliser from Ballance Agri-Nutrients centres around New Zealand.

Ballance had previously used paper based systems when spreaders - drivers employed by farmers to collect and transport tonnes of fertiliser - arrived at the service centres to collect fertiliser. Spreaders were required to pick up paper dockets from the office, before walking up steps to the loader driver to hand over the docket. The completed docket was returned to the office by the loader driver to be entered manually into the SAP system.

Now, data is sent electronically to an iPad in the loader and once the order has been filled, the goods issue is automatically sent back into Ballance’s SAP system, removing all paper and manual handling for the process - along with the need for spreaders to get in and out of their vehicles or climb steps to the loader.

David Scullin, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chief Information Officer, says the new app has significantly streamlined business processes around fertiliser collection while improving health and safety.

“The most overriding benefit is the health and safety factor of eliminating people having to walk across the yard and up to the loader to hand dockets up,” Scullin says.

The new system has proved a winner with Ballance Agri-Nutrients staff and customers. Little training was required, with staff so excited by the app that they installed it themselves and were already using it when trainers turned up.

“iPads in loaders makes things quicker, simpler and safer while using a bit of technology which is fun, and that connects to staff engagement as well,” Greg Delaney, General Manager of Supply Chain for Ballance Agri-Nutrients, says.

Customers, meanwhile, are reaping the benefits of quicker turnarounds and Delaney says the Loader Driver app helps build the growing perception that Ballance is investing in technology to help customers.

Simplifying business processes is one of the key pillars of the company’s digital strategy, along with customer experience and information and knowledge sharing.

“They’re all part of digitising Ballance for competitive advantage. That’s our catch phrase from a digital perspective and all those things align with our overall business strategy,” Delaney says.

“The app leverages the existing SAP platform, rather than creating a new system for Ballance to manage, and provides an intuitive, easy to use mobile SAP experience without the need for middleware,” says Barbara Oldfield, Soltius Delivery Manager. “We haven’t changed the back-end SAP, so the functional business process you’re trying to mobilise is proven and in place. What you’re trying to do is make it smarter and easier.”

The app sits on the Fiori launchpad, the product line of SAP apps that have a device-agnostic user interface, so the users don’t see any difference in look and feel between a Fiori or a Neptune app.

About Soltius

Soltius is trusted by more than 80 organisations across Australasia to provide SAP and AWS solutions, support and consulting and has delivered more SAP ERP projects in New Zealand than anyone else. Soltius was formed in 1996 as a specialist SAP implementation partner. The aim was to build a business known for quality implementation advice and guidance at an affordable price. Since then, Soltius has built the Soltius Support Centre (Asia Pacific’s first SAP Centre of Expertise), was the first to achieve SAP Gold Partner status in NZ and is the only AWS Advanced Tier Partner with both MSP and SAP competencies in Australasia. Soltius has offices in Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, and Wellington in addition to partners selling our products globally.

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