“AGContext enabled us to make transforming change in our business to organise and supply our national customer orders more easily and efficiently.”
Janine Sounness, Commercialisation Manager – PBSeeds, 2017
PBSEEDS - WHERE EVERY SEED COUNTS
PBSeeds are leaders in the production of fine quality seed and grains. Based in Horsham, the prime seed and grain growing region of Western Victoria, Australia.
Their business covers the full vertical integration. This starts with the production of seed and grain which they process and package in-house. They handle marketing in-house and distribute produce domestically and internationally.
PBSeeds’ production processes require excellent efficiency and traceability. This is particularly in reference to HACCP quality assurance accredited by SGS, the world’s leading testing and certification company.
This work described in this case study was undertaken between 2015 to 2017.
PBSeeds were operating their seed focused business in a highly manual way. This meant they ran their nationwide business using a mix of paper documents, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and software platforms.
Changeover in staff and a growing demand for their products caused issues. There was a large degree of manual duplication, rework and inefficiencies in managing customer orders. Employee and manager frustration was high. They couldn’t access timely information about current operations, customer demand and stock status.
The newly available wireless services of the National Broadband Network presented a great opportunity for PBSeeds to streamline their client management and enable remote access to their core business information.
AGContext led PBSeeds through a change-management program of digitising their systems. Customer and order management became integrated for their daily operations.
Practically, this was a six-month digital transformation of PBSeeds’ business processes. Top level operations were migrated onto Microsoft Office 365. Alongside, AGContext developed a custom built, and fit for purpose, Client Management System.
DATA SERVICES DESIGN IN ACTION
We started with an AGContext Digital Opportunity Scan. This is a comprehensive review and assessment of the current information process of the business. The scan involved an initial team workshop and series of individual employee interviews. Also document analysis, system analysis and process mapping. The Scan completes the initial two phases of the Data Services Design framework: Project Vision and Scope; and Discovery.
The Scan is an important step for AGContext to gain an understanding of the business. However, it also uncovered insights for PBSeeds. We both developed a deep understanding of the current state of business process and employee capability. This informed the creation of a list of recommended priorities and immediate opportunities.
The Data Services Design framework phases of Conceptualize and Prototype guided the migration of the business process onto Microsoft Office 365. This including all email and document management. Operational processes were completely redesigned. This was to ensure that PBSeeds gain maximum benefit from the digital technology. AGContext also supported staff to use the new digital environment.
Another Data Services Design project was initiated to developed a fit-for-purpose SharePoint based Client Management System to integrate PBSeeds’ specialist requirements for customer management and product distribution. Guided by Data Service Design an initial version of the new Client Management System was implemented after a iterative development process spanning three months. For the following two years, AGContext has supported PBSeeds to continually review, refine and improve the system to enable their daily operations.
“I enjoyed working with Carl and the project was delivered on time, on budget within scope. He was great at the change management side and resulted in immediate positive system & process change. I picked up the phone to get Carl involved as we needed expertise, it was the best move I made.”
Andrew Brown, Operations Manager – PBSeeds, 2015.
PBSEEDS IS A MORE DATA-DRIVEN ENTERPRISE
Systems that support business development
The digitisation of key processes has allowed PBSeeds to focus on growing sales in new markets. It has halved the personnel required to manage their increased sales volume. This is at three times previous levels. It has also enabled real time response to customer enquiries. Potential issues in the sales process are resolved quickly.
Improved customer service
By digitising what were previously manual processes, the administrative function is more effective. There is an increased capacity for proactive and responsive customer service. This has halved administrative duplication and rework by streamlining data flow.
Reduced errors and induction time of new staff
The number of process-created customer facing errors has been reduced. Additionally, induction of new office staff has reduced from weeks to days.
Access to data from anywhere
Employees can also access company information securely and remotely. This has mitigated many business risks by increasing operational transparency and accountability.