The international agribusiness Danish Agro has a vision of being a value-adding total solutions supplier for the agricultural industry. It does this by offering to sell feed, seed, fertilizer, and crop protection products as well as agricultural machinery. As a vendor of, for example, tractors, balers, and other hay-making machinery by the leading brands on the market, Danish Agro supplies solutions that help farmers all around the Baltic Sea develop their operations. Ever since Danish Agro was founded over 100 years ago, it has been owned cooperatively by Danish farmers, and it still is today. With its 9,000 owners and more than 5,000 employees, the company is the leading actor on the market in the Nordic region.
Business Development Makes New Demands on the Business Platform
In 2016, continued expansion meant that the group faced new challenges. In order to develop the Swedish operations, Danish Agro acquired the rights to distribute CLAAS products in Sweden and established a completely new organization with departments in 12 locations all over Sweden, including a large spare parts warehouse.
When the contract was signed in May this year, the goal was to be able to introduce Swedish Agro Machinery as a base for the group’s new business area—machinery—less than six months later.
Bo Rönn is the group CIO for Danish Agro and is responsible for developing, standardizing, and consolidating the IT environment for the whole company, all the way from the infrastructure to business applications:
“With six different business areas and 110 companies in the group, and also an expressed expansion strategy where we will be growing both in existing and new markets, it is important to find synergies between the companies. If we are going to be able to work efficiently, we must make sure that the same processes and the same KPIs are used throughout the whole organization. One important part of this is a competent enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, of course, which will give us the support we need for our business control processes.”
In connection with the launch of the new business area, the hunt began for a new ERP system that could handle the complexity of selling, servicing, and offering spare parts as well as warranty management for the agricultural machinery.
“We are currently expanding our business model in such a way that we will be going from “only” importing and selling agricultural machines to also renting them out. We want to be there all along the way and consider aftermarket services such as service and support an increasingly important part of our offering. Machines are so complex today that we want to be in control of the whole chain in order to ensure the quality of the customer’s delivery,” explains Bo Rönn.
Annata 365–Developed to Manage Capital-Intensive Solutions all the Way
The choice for an ERP system soon landed on Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations with the add-on solution Annata 365, an industry-specific business solution customized to manage vehicles and other capital-intensive equipment such as agricultural machinery, throughout the product’s whole lifecycle. Orango, as the leading supplier of ERP solutions in the industry, was tasked with implementing the solutions.
“I have to admit that the process of choosing an ERP system was somewhat forced due to a tight schedule. The advantage was that we already knew that three other companies from the same industry in Sweden and Europe had all chosen Dynamics 365 with Annata as an add-on and that they were all very happy with it. Thanks to Annata 365 we have an ERP system that is entirely customized to be able to handle our machines and that supports our processes and how we want to work,” explains Rönn.
Automating Simplifies Spare Part Management
Another person who has been actively involved in the implementation of Annata 365 is Martin Gerdtsson, Parts Manager at Swedish Agro Machinery. In his role as Parts Manager, Gerdtsson likes to focus on developing and improving the company’s process for managing spare parts and prices, which is crucial for a company with more than one million articles in its catalog.
“I am passionate about developing new ways to work that make our processes run more smoothly. If I can get 15 people to work in the same way and pull in the same direction, and who are also happy at work, then I feel like I have truly succeeded! With this project we have really been able to benefit from Orango’s great experience, not least when it comes to automatization, to improve the way we work. Thanks to Orango’s knowledge we were able to get a solution that took the automatization much further than I could have imagined. We were able to remove many manual steps throughout the process.”
When a customer contacts Swedish Agro regarding a spare part, the whole process is automated today. When the seller creates an order, a pick list is created at the local warehouse. If the part is not available, a transfer order is sent to the central parts warehouse in Sweden. When needed, an order is automatically placed to have the part sent to the central warehouse from the supplier in Germany, for example. The central warehouse has become highly automated as well, thanks to integrations for automated lifts and other processes which make it possible for workers to report when they have finished tasks such as picking an order or when inbound deliveries have been received with just a few clicks.
A Global Template Creates Synergies
“Many companies get stuck staring themselves blind at the system and what it can do when evaluating a new business solution, but they forget the soft values. Orango’s knowledge about how to handle heavy machinery and spare parts has been invaluable to the process. Orango really understands our operations and has continued to challenge us and make suggestions for even smarter processes and solutions than we could have come up with ourselves. Orango has simply made our world so much better!” explains Gerdtsson.
As Danish Agro continues to grow, both in new markets and by developing its aftermarket offering, the group’s CIO feels safe that the company has a business platform with the capacity to support the expansion.
“We have gotten a good start now thanks to a global template for our business platform, which includes all the features we need both to be able to sell agricultural machinery as well as to manage every part of the aftermarket in a professional and cost efficient manner. In time, all our companies in the machinery division will use Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Annata and we will have taken another step on the path to increased synergies and efficiency throughout the whole group,” concludes Rönn.